A 74-year-old woman who served 32 years behind bars for a murder committed by her abusive boyfriend will be released from prison.
Known as “Mother Mary,” Mary Virginia Jones was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder, kidnapping and robbery in 1981.
Her abuser, Mose Willis, kidnapped two men and ordered Jones at gunpoint to drive a car to a back alley in Los Angeles, where Willis shot the men. Jones ran and was arrested a few days later.
Recently, law students at the University of Southern California’s Post-Conviction Justice Project challenged her case, claiming she would not have been convicted if the jury had heard expert testimony about the impact of intimate partner battering, formerly referred to as battered women’s syndrome.
A week before the crime, Willis shot at Jones’ daughter and threatened to kill them if they went to the police, according to officials with the USC project.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office reviewed Jones’ case, agreeing to set aside her convictions if she pled no contest to voluntary manslaughter.
Jones told the judge that she “did not willingly participate” in the crime, but believed “entering a no contest plea is in my best interest.” She is expected to be released on Tuesday.
Best of luck to Ms. Jones as she embraces a new chapter of life.
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