Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

David Allen Jones

Other California Cases with False Confessions
On March 4, 2004, David Allen Jones was released from prison after DNA testing proved that he did not commit the three murders for which he was convicted. The DNA profile obtained from the evidence in Jones’s case matched that of a serial murderer already in prison for attacking women in the Los Angeles area.

In 1992, four homicides were committed near the 97th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, California. All four victims were believed to be prostitutes.

On September 13, 1993, the body of Crystal Cain was found near the school. She had been strangled.

On September 30, a school custodian discovered the partially clad body of Tammie Christmas near the school. She had been strangled.

On November 16, the body of 32-year-old Debra Williams was found at the bottom of a stairwell that led to a boiler room at the school. She had been strangled as well.

On December 16, 1992, a motel employee found the body of 42-year-old Mary Edwards in a carport near the school. This 42-year-old victim had also been strangled.

There were no eyewitnesses to the murders. In late December 1992, 32-year-old David Allen Jones was arrested for a sexual assault. A team of detectives interviewed him about the string of serial murders of prostitutes. The detectives took Jones to each of the four crimes scenes. Jones eventually confessed to all four murders. Jones had an IQ of 62, classifying him as intellectually disabled.

In April 1995, Jones went to trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court. His confessions were presented to the jury.

A lab technician lcompared hairs found in the mouth of Christmas, and hairs found on Williams and her clothing, but according to records, none of the hair belonged to Jones.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) had the rape kits from all four murder victims subjected to serological testing. All four kits contained biological material from a person with type A blood. Jones was blood type O.

Although this discrepancy was presented to the jury, on April 14, 1995, the jury convicted Jones of the rape and murder of Edwards. The jury convicted Jones of manslaughter in the deaths of Christmas and Williams. He was acquitted of the murder of Cain because she had been beaten to death—the others had been strangled. Jones was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison.

In 2002, the Post Conviction Assistance Center (PCAC) was appointed to represent Jones as he pursued DNA testing under the state’s newly-enacted DNA testing statute. Unfortunately, two of the four rape kits collected had been destroyed. PCAC continued to investigate the case in order to demonstrate that killings in the area continued after Jones was arrested. PCAC contended that killings both before and after Jones’s arrest were committed by a signature serial killer with type A blood.

During the course of this investigation, PCAC learned that the LAPD’s newly formed Cold Case Unit was pursuing a serial killer who killed women in the same area from 1990 to 2000. The LAPD had already obtained DNA hits on some of those other murders and had, through the state’s DNA database, identified the actual killer as Chester D. Turner. Turner was already in custody on a rape charge.

DNA testing was conducted on the two remaining rape kits in Jones’s case, that of Williams and Edwards. Testing excluded Jones and established that the DNA profile found belonged to Turner. Although the rape kits from the other two cases had been destroyed, the signature nature of the homicides and other evidence strongly suggested these victims were killed by the same man and not by David Allen Jones. On March 4, 2004, Jones ‘s convictions were vacated, the charges were dismissed, and he was released from prison.

Jones later filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angles and settled for $720,000. He also filed for state compensation and received $74,600.

Ultimately, Turner was charged with 15 murders. He was convicted of 14 of them and was sentenced to death. In 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsome imposed a moratorium on executions. Turner remained on the Death Row with more than 700 condemned prisoners.

– Maurice Possley

Report an error or add more information about this case.

Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 2/18/2024
County:Los Angeles
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Manslaughter, Rape
Reported Crime Date:1992
Sentence:36 to Life
Age at the date of reported crime:32
Contributing Factors:False Confession
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes