For over 40 years Tyrone Jones has been in prison, convicted of setting a murder he did not commit. While Mr. Jones has yet to be exonerated of the crime, he was granted parole by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in the first group of inmates serving life without parole sentences for crimes committed when they were juveniles. Mr. Jones’ sentence was reduced from life without parole to 35 years to life by agreement with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Due to his exemplary record inside prison and the unwavering support of his family, the Parole Board agreed to allow Mr. Jones to go directly home rather than be processed through a halfway house.
When he entered prison, Mr. Jones was 18 years old. On his release, he will be one month shy of his 60th birthday.
“While we remain committed to proving Ty’s innocence, we are thrilled to welcome him home,” says Mr. Jones’ attorney, Cozen O’Connor partner Hayes Hunt who has represented Mr. Jones through the Cozen O’Connor pro bono program along with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. “Ty has been a pillar of strength throughout his ordeal,” Hunt continued.
When he was 16, Tyrone was interrogated by Philadelphia Homicide Detectives without his parent present, or any adult interested in Ty’s well-being. The “confession” attributed to Ty detectives got that night was the only evidence used to convict him at trial. None of the dozens of eyewitnesses to the murder ever identified Ty as having been involved; none testified at his trial. To read more about the case against Ty and the investigation by the Pennsylvania Innocence Project that proves–beyond any shadow of doubt–his innocence, you can review the PCRA Petition here (exhibits can be found here and here) filed in state court.
“We are grateful for the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Chesley Lightsey who advocated for Ty’s release to the Parole Board,” said Pennsylvania Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Nilam Sanghvi. “Her cooperation was no doubt critical to Ty’s success with the Board.”
Ty will be reunited with the family that has supported him through nearly four decades in prison and plans to live in North Carolina.
Please join us in welcoming Ty home!!