Dewey Jones, the Akron OH man who was exonerated of murder and kidnapping charges after serving 19 years in prison for the death of Neal Rankin, has filed a lawsuit against the city of Akron and at least 9 Akron City police officers. In January 2014, Mr. Jones was exonerated after DNA testing conducted by DNA Diagnostics Center helped the OH Innocence Project and Mr. Jones’ lawyers prove to the court that he was innocent of all charges.
Seeking unspecified damages, Jones lawsuit claims Akron Police Dept. investigators of misconduct, including manipulating witnesses and forcing them to identify Jones in photo lineups more than a year after the murder. The lawsuit also claims Akron police detectives used a jailhouse informant who provided false testimony in exchange for protection in that inmate’s criminal cases. Other claims of misconduct include Akron police failing to disclose witnesses identifying other suspects and failing to perform forensic analysis on a bloody handprint found on the victim’s door.
Jones maintained his innocence throughout the case and his 19 years in prison. Even though his trial attorneys argued that there was no physical evidence linking Jones to the murder, the jury sentenced him to life in prison. Ultimately, the efforts of the OH Innocence Project and DNA testing provided by the Forensics team at DNA Diagnostics Center were critical in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office request to vacate Dewey Jones’ conviction.