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DeShawn Jones

Other Colorado Exonerations
On October 3, 2007, a woman identified in court records as W.S. reported that at about 6 p.m., she was attacked and sexually assaulted in Triangle Park in Denver, Colorado.

W.S. said a woman punched her in the head and they both fell to the ground in a struggle. A man then jumped in and restrained her, pulled down her pants, and raped her. A second man then came over and forced her to engage in oral sex.

The woman said a friend drove her to Denver Medical Health Center where a rape kit was obtained and police were called.

On April 29, 2010, 26-year-old DeShawn Jones was arrested after his DNA in the FBI DNA database was matched to the DNA identified on the vaginal swab in the rape kit.

Jones was charges with two counts of sexual assault and one count of robbery. Jones told his privately retained lawyer, Christopher Grubbs, that he and his uncle had consensual sex with W.S. in return for providing her with drugs. Although W.S. was incarcerated at the time, Grubbs did not attempt to interview her or hire a private investigator because Jones did not pay him enough money to do so.

On June 2, 2011, Jones, who was facing a possible maximum sentence of 16 years to life in prison if he was convicted at trial, agreed to plead guilty to a class four felony charge of sexual assault in return for a sentence of probation for 10 years to life. He was designated a sexually violent predator for life—essentially ending any possibility of having a relationship with his nine children.

On October 6, 2011, Jones reported for his first meeting at a sex offender treatment program. When he refused to admit that he had committed the crime, the program rejected him and his probation officer had him arrested. On October 12, 2011, a petition was filed to revoke his probation.

Ultimately, his probation was revoked and Jones was sentenced to six years to life in prison.

In January 2012, Jones filed a petition to vacate his conviction. In 2013, his appointed attorney, Eric Klein, working with a private investigator, interviewed W.S. about the incident.

In the interview, W.S. admitted that she had fabricated the assaults. She said on the evening of October 3, 2007, she had consumed alcohol, got drunk, and went to Triangle Park seeking drugs. After obtaining and smoking crack cocaine, she got into a fight with another woman.

After the fight, all of her possessions were gone, including her purse and money. W.S. said she then saw Jones and his uncle. During a discussion about where she could find more drugs, she agreed to have sex with Jones in exchange for drugs. They went to a nearby apartment where she had sex with Jones, who then gave her some crack cocaine.

W.S. said she had sex with others after that. In a sworn deposition, Jones’s uncle said that W.S. performed oral sex on him. W.S. said she fabricated the false rape charges because that night she missed curfew at the shelter where she was staying and didn't want to be kicked out.

In September 2014, Klein filed a supplemental petition for a new trial that detailed W.S.’s recantation. The petition also said that Jones’s initial attorney, Grubbs, had advised Jones to plead guilty so that after he was released, he could earn money to pay Grubbs, who would then fight to vacate the guilty plea.

The Denver County District Attorney’s Office commenced a reinvestigation of the case, and on August 21, 2015, agreed that Jones’s conviction should be vacated. Jones was released from prison on August 24, 2015. The prosecution filed a motion to dismiss the charge, which was granted on September 9, 2015.

Jones later filed a petition seeking compensation from the state of Colorado. Denver County District Judge Brian R. Whitney denied the petition.

The judge ruled, “In order to be eligible for compensation, the Act requires that Petitioner show not only that he is actually innocent of the crime at issue, but also that he did not solicit, conspire, act as a complicitor or accessory, or attempt to commit the crime at issue, or any crime factually related to the crime at issue.”

The judge concluded that trading drugs for sex was a crime that was “factually related” to the original—though false—allegations by W.S., and therefore, Jones was not entitled to compensation.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 4/17/2019
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2007
Sentence:6 to Life
Age at the date of reported crime:26
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No