IP New Orleans Client Wilbert Jones Freed

IP New Orleans Client Wilbert Jones Freed

Innocence Project New Orleans

Wilbert Jones walked through the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison gate around noon Wednesday and into the arms of his brother, sister-in-law and niece — free for the first time in almost 46 years after his 1974 rape conviction was overturned.

“I just want to be free,” the 64-year-old said, with a smile on his face and family embracing him. “I thank God for my family, I thank God for my legal team and I thank God for God.”

His brother Plem Jones gave him a long hug, later wiping tears from his eyes.

“I never gave up on him, I knew that he didn’t do it,” Plem Jones said Wednesday. “It was nothing but a matter of time, I knew he was going to be free one day.”

In the almost 46 years his brother was incarcerated, Plem Jones said he can remember missing only two opportunities to visit him. Jones traveled from his Baton Rouge home two weekends a month to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, and additionally on a month’s rare fifth weekend, to talk, to cry with his brother, he said. In his earlier years, he brought his daughter with him, and more recently, he brought his grandchildren. Read more.