Conviction overturned in 1971 rape case; DA to appeal decision

Conviction overturned in 1971 rape case; DA to appeal decision
Source: Raycom Media

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On October 31, Judge Richard Anderson overturned the conviction of Wilbert Jones in a rape case from 1971.

The overturning of the conviction was reportedly based on the withholding of evidence by the prosecution. On Tuesday, November 7, Jones' lawyers filed papers in court asking that bond be set so Jones can be released.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says his office does not agree with conviction being overturned and that he will file an appeal with the Louisiana Supreme Court. He also says he will be challenging the request for bond.

Jones was convicted of the abduction and rape of a Baton Rouge nurse back in 1971. He was found guilty back in October of 1971 for abducting a young nurse from the parking lot of Baton Rouge General Medical Center. Another young woman was reportedly kidnapped from the parking lot of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and raped.

Judge Anderson ruled the state was obligated to give information about the second rape to the trial attorney in Jones' case, but they reportedly failed to do so. Anderson says the similarities in the two cases are many and that the nurse's physical description of the suspected attacker is an almost identical match to Arnold Ray O'Conner, who was convicted of armed robbery in a home invasion and rape case in 1973.

O'Conner's fingerprints were reportedly found on the woman kidnapped from OLOL, but he was never charged in the case.

Jones' attorneys say they can't imagine how the state intends to re-prosecute Jones in this case.

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