Grandma Convicted of Murder To Be Released After 32 Years Behind Bars

Irene Moore (NBCLA) | March 24, 2014

She spent nearly half her life in prison for a crime she didn’t commit.

Now, at 74 years old, Mary Virginia Jones was ordered to be released from prison Monday after serving 32 years for a murder committed by her then-boyfriend.

Jones, also known as “Mother Mary,” appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court and asked a judge to exchange her first-degree murder conviction without possibility of parole for a no contest plea to voluntary manslaughter with a time-served sentence.

Students from the USC Post-Conviction Justice Project challenged Jones’ 1982 conviction, claiming she would not have been convicted if the jury was allowed to hear expert testimony on the effects of “intimate partner battering.”

According to a statement released by USC Gould School of Law, Jones was in an abusive relationship in 1981 with her then-boyfriend, Mose Willis.

“Mr. Willis forced Jones at gunpoint to participate in the robbery and kidnapping–she ran down the alley fully expecting him to shoot and ki*l her, too,” Heidi Rummel, co-director of USC’s Post-Conviction Justice Project, said in a statement.

Willis had Jones drive a car carrying two kidnapped drug dealers to a back alley in Los Angeles. He then shot at both men as Jones ran away.

Jones ran from the alley to a friend’s house, where she hid for several days before police arrested her, according to the statement.

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