Prosecutors from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office say they will retry Dewey Amos Jones III for the 1993 slaying of a Goodyear retiree, despite a Summit County judge’s ruling that new DNA evidence seriously undermines the state’s case.
“It is the state’s position that the charges retain merit,” prosecutors said in their court filing.
The brief notice of intent to retry Jones was filed Thursday afternoon on the docket of Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands — the same judge who granted Jones a new trial in July 2012.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Adam Van Ho has filed a motion asking Rowlands for a recognizance bond to free Jones from prison while he awaits retrial.
“He has now spent 19 years incarcerated for a crime that DNA evidence now indicates that he did not commit,” Van Ho wrote.
A ruling on the motion for bond is pending.
Jones, now 51, was convicted in a 1995 jury trial for the murder, kidnapping and robbery of Neal J. Rankin at his Independence Avenue home in the Chapel Hill area of Akron.
Rankin, 71, was bound with rope and shot to death on Valentine’s Day.
After the Ohio Innocence Project took up Jones’ case on the grounds of actual innocence, new DNA tests of crime-scene evidence found unknown samples of male blood on a piece of nylon rope used to tie Rankin’s wrists, a knife used to cut the rope and a section of fabric from the victim’s shirt sleeves.
Rowlands concluded in her new-trial order that the latest tests failed to identify Jones or another police suspect, Gary Rusu, “as having been present in the house.”
Last month, Akron’s 9th District Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed Rowlands’ decision.
William Caton, an Akron police informant and the state’s only witness to directly link Jones to the murder, is deceased.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.