Plymouth: Jury Reaches Not Guilty Verdict in Murder Re-Trial

After a couple hours of deliberation, a jury returned a not guilty verdict in the re-trial for Darrell Jones

Jones was 19 when he was convicted in the murder of Guillermo Rodriguez in 1986.

Jones had served 32 years in prison but continued to maintain his innocence. He was released in 2017 after a Superior Court judge ruled that the first trial was unfair.

After the not guilty verdict, Jones said he’s hoping to help other people who have been wrongly convicted.

“I’m not really celebrating the fact that they set me free, because I was supposed to be free anyway. I never should have been there. I’m not celebrating that,” said Jones. “What I’m celebrating is the opportunity to be able to speak out and help some other people. Be able to get the word out and make some changes.”

The re-trial started last week at Plymouth Superior Court, and closing arguments took place Tuesday.

“Somebody else is in prison right now that was trying to get help, doing everything that I was doing. Nobody was out here saying what happened to them,” said Jones. “Honestly, when I was hearing the verdict my mind was going ‘okay, now I have to double my efforts to get out what’s been happening to other people.’”

Defense attorney Paul Rudof said in closing witness testimony in the case was unreliable, and that a biased investigation led to Jones being accused of the crime. From differences in height to credibility, it painted a false picture.

“The reason why there are so many reasons to doubt the truth of these charges, ladies and gentlemen, is because Darrell Jones did not shoot Guillermo Rodriguez,” said Rudof. 

When the jury was not present, Rudolf filed two motions Tuesday requesting a finding of not guilty, saying the evidence could not convince a jury of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Both were denied by Judge C.J. Moriarty.

Assistant District Attorney Jessica Kenny refuted that in closing, saying that the evidence shows witnesses were trying to distance themselves Jones, backing off from previous testimony because they knew him. 

“They witnessed the entire altercation and they made the identification,” said Kenny. “Find the defendant guilty.”

Friends of Jones were relieved to hear of the not guilty verdict. 

“We’re really ecstatic, it’s long overdue,” said Donna Harrison. “We knew he didn’t do it all along.” 

Jones says he appreciates the support.

“It’s a beautiful thing. I have it from every group, groups that don’t deal together. The Jesuit community, with the Nation of Islam, with the Protestant community. I have them all, and I have them all together,” said Jones. “That unity feels great to know have authentic people that believe in you and you believe in them.”

About Lenny Rowe

Lenny Rowe is one of the newest additions to the WATD News team. Lenny has won two Edward R. Murrow awards for breaking news coverage, and a Mass. Broadcasters Award in the sports feature category. He grew up in Pembroke and was an intern at WATD in 2012. A 2016 graduate from Suffolk University, Lenny now lives in Rockland. Outside of WATD, Lenny covers high school sports for The Boston Globe. Lenny can be reached at Lenny.Rowe30@Gmail.com.