Free Robert Haji Jones
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FREE ROBERT HAJI JONES
Help Us Undo a Horrific Injustice
We Need the Support of the Public
Mr. Jones’ hearing to decide whether he will receive a new trial is scheduled to continue on February 4th, 5th & 7th, 2014 at the following time and place:
TIME: 9:30 a.m.
PLACE: Hon. Joseph A. Zayas
Supreme Court, Queens County
Room 325, Park K-11
125-01 Queens Blvd.
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Both trial witnesses to the murder, Joan Purser-Gennace and Mr. Philip Englebert have already testified that they were never able to identify Mr. Jones. See media reports. Both witnesses swear that their identification of Mr. Jones at the trial was the result of police pressure and prosecutorial misconduct. (See Affidavits.)
JOIN US IN A RALLY asking that Mr. Jones be granted a new trial. Please attend and help us to undo the horrific injustice that occurred to Mr. Jones and his family.
JOIN US FOR A RALLY IN FRONT OF THE COURTHOUSE ON
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2014 AT 9:00 A.M.
On May 28, 1996 Mr. Jones was convicted of the shooting murder of Antoine Stone at the intersection of Mott Avenue and Eggert Place in Far Rockaway, Queens. The murder occurred shortly after midnight on September 10, 1994. Mr. Jones was sentenced to life in prison. He is in his 19th year of incarceration at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Walkill, New York. Throughout, Mr. Jones has steadfastly maintained his innocence. (See Mr. Jones’ statement to the Court at his sentencing.) On December 20, 2012, Mr. Jones passed a polygraph. (See Polygraph)
Shortly after Mr. Stone was shot and lay mortally wounded he told the first witness at the scene that “I was preaching to a drug dealer on a bike and he shot me why did he shoot me why?” Since Mr. Jones and Mr. Stone knew each other very well, grew up together and attended school together, it made no sense that Mr. Stone, instead of identifying his friend Robert Jones by name (“Rob”), would describe his friend as the “drug dealer” standing on the corner.
There was no forensic evidence or motive that linked Mr. Jones to the murder of Mr. Stone.
Two fact witnesses connected Mr. Jones to the murder. The first witness, who at the time of the murder, was sitting at her second floor window that overlooked Mott Avenue and Eggert Place. She saw a man with a bike speaking to another man on her side of the street. The man with the bike then walked across the street towards Mr. Stone who was walking down Mott Avenue from Dickens Street towards Eggert Place. The witness then heard two “pows”. In a police interview two days after the murder the witness gave no description of the perpetrator. At the lineup conducted three weeks later, her identification was very equivocal. Even at trial this witness never made a positive identification. After her direct testimony, the trial judge would not allow the prosecutor to refer to Mr. Jones as the man who shot Mr. Stone since he had not been identified as the perpetrator. Finally, on the third redirect this witness pointed out Mr. Jones who was sitting at the defendant’s table.
The second fact witness, shortly after midnight, was returning from work and was walking on Mott Avenue toward his home on Eggert Place. This witness was three blocks away from the scene of the murder when, he testified, he saw a man riding on a bicycle towards him and away from the intersection of the murder. The witness testified that although it was midnight he was able to identify the man’s face and also able to read the name of the bicycle’s manufacturer (“Ross”) that was imprinted on the cross bar. A day after the murder this witness described to the police the person on the bike as “White or Hispanic” at the initial police interview. Mr. Jones as seen from his photo on the home page is a dark complexion, African-American. The bike was described to the police by this witness only as a “mountain bike.”
The Newly Discovered Evidence
Both witnesses have recently provided an affidavit stating that they were never able to identify Mr. Jones as the perpetrator. (See Here) Both say that they were pressured by the police and the prosecutor to make the identification. The second witness now says he never could identify the face of the bicyclist or read the name of the bike’s manufacturer imprinted on the crossbar of the bike. Both witnesses say that they were improperly shown a single photograph of Mr. Jones prior to the lineup identification. (See Here)
Another witness who was the first person to arrive at the scene of the murder heard the shot and immediately looked out the window which overlooked Mott Avenue. This witness has provided an affidavit stating that the perpetrator fled in the opposite direction on Mott Avenue from where the witness who was walking home from work. (See Here) The witness who was looking out her window has also confirmed in her affidavit that the perpetrator fled in the opposite direction from where the witness who was walking home from work.
The conviction was compelled by an inflammatory and prejudicial "blurt out" during the cross examination of the investigating detective. When asked, on cross examination, if fingerprints were taken from the shell that was recovered at the scene of the Stone murder, the detective answered, “No but it was matched to another murder.” The jury was allowed to hear this inflammatory statement which was intended to imply that Mr. Jones had committed another murder
We have now learned that the other murder which the detective was referring to was the homicide of Vincent Rivera. The same weapon was used in the Rivera homicide one week earlier on Beach 56th Street and less than a mile away from where the Stone homicide occurred. This evidence that someone else may have murdered Mr. Stone was withheld from the defense at the time of the 1994 trial.
The trial evidence was very weak. Although District Attorney, Richard A. Brown has received all of the affidavits he has refused to appoint an independent investigator to look at the serious allegations that were made against the trial prosecutor.
The Hon. Joseph Zayas, acting Supreme Court Justice, Queens County has granted a hearing based on this new evidence. (See Here) The date for the hearing has yet to be scheduled. We will post updates on this website.
Mr. Jones is represented by a legal team consisting of:
Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, LLP
200 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10166
Thomas Hoffman, Esq.
Law Offices of Thomas Hoffman, P.C.
250 W. 57 St., Suite 1020
New York, New York 10107
(212) 581 1180