07 August 2018 :
U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess has vacated the murder conviction of Barry Jones, 59, White. According to Judge Burgess, if Jones had been competently represented at trial, “there is a reasonable probability that his jury would not have convicted him of any of the crimes with which he was charged and previously convicted.” On July 6, 1995, Jones was sentenced to death in Pima County in the May 1, 1994 death of 4-year-old Rachel Gray. His conviction was based largely on questionable eyewitness testimony from two 8-year-olds, combined with unreliable forensic testimony. A medical examiner who testified against Jones later gave contradictory testimony about the timing of the victim’s fatal injury that would have ruled out Jones as a suspect. Police failed to investigate evidence pointing to other suspects, and Jones’s defense team failed to examine alternative theories of the crime. Jones was also convicted of raping Gray, despite the lack of any evidence that the alleged rape occurred at the time she sustained her fatal abdominal injury. Judge Burgess found that both Jones’s trial lawyer and the lawyer Arizona appointed to represent him in his state post-conviction proceedings were ineffective, and that both failed to conduct professionally appropriate investigations into the case.