Innocent man released from prison, battles serious health issues

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The attorney for a man wrongfully convicted and recently released from prison, speaks to ABC7 about the miscarriage of justice and the fact that time is running out to correct it. (KGO-TV)

The attorney for a man wrongfully convicted and recently released from prison, speaks only to ABC7 about the miscarriage of justice and the fact that time is running out to correct it.

There are still a lot of questions about the case of a Lake County man who spent 18 years in state prison for a crime he did not commit. Then, when he was finally released, within 24 hours he was hospitalized. ABC7 News looks into the case of Luther Jones.

The good news for Luther he is awake, not unconscious anymore, and is receiving medical attention in intensive care. And according to state law, Luther will get $140 for every day of those 18 years that he spent wrongfully in prison, but it could take a long time to get the money he deserves. Meantime, his family has dropped everything to take care of him, even though they don't have a lot of money.

The California Department of Corrections is feeling the heat for not taking better care of a very sick, innocent man.

WATCH VIDEO: ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Lake County man reunites with newly exonerated, infirm father

When asked what is wrong with this case, Attorney Angela Carter replied, "Other than a victim lied, an innocent man was in prison for 18 years, released in a state of health without appropriate care, that he only had one night with his family? There is a lot wrong with this picture."

Jones is awake and now in a St. Helena hospital, much to the relief of his family and son, Kofawn Jones.

Kofawn said his father woke up Saturday morning and told his family, "Glad you guys are here. Don't leave me ever again."

Less than one week ago, Luther was just another inmate in the California Department of Corrections, serving 27 years for a child abuse conviction in which he maintained his innocence.

Last week, when the then-10-year-old victim recanted her testimony, Lake County District Attorney Don Anderson fast-tracked the release, calling it the right thing to do.

"Sending a person to prison who doesn't belong, an innocent person, is probably the deputy DA's biggest fear. It is the last thing we ever want to do," Anderson said.

READ MORE:Lake County man free after 18 years in jail for wrongful conviction

But Luther's trouble did not end there. He had been in a state prison hospital when released. The state drove him back to Lake County in an ambulance and dropped him off at his son's house. Before the next morning, Luther had lost consciousness.

"They told me he was sick and the different ailments he has. They didn't tell me the severity of it," Kofawn said.

Carter helped with the release. She told ABC7 News, "There is continuum of care that the prison system is responsible for and Luther was released to the care and custody of his adult son. He had one night with his family, the next day he's unresponsive and taken to the hospital by ambulance. I think that speaks for itself."

Luther was convicted based on the evidence of a 10-year-old girl, who was told to lie by her mother as part of domestic dispute. The girl cannot be prosecuted, but the mother can and may be.

"She has manipulated, not only the system, but she sent somebody to prison for 18 years, who did not belong," Anderson said.

"I shouldn't have to go out and seek help. I shouldn't have to seek out the state. I shouldn't have to seek out apologies. I shouldn't have to seek out my father's money. That should have been there for him when he got out," Kofawn said.

When asked what did he get, Kofawn said, "I got a box and a sick father. A box of medicine and a sick father."

Related Topics:
wrongful convictionprisoncrimemolestationcustodycourt casehealth careNapaCalifornia
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