Lake County man wrongly imprisoned for 20 years dies at 71

Luther Jones was released from prison and awarded nearly $1 million after his accuser recanted her testimony about alleged molestation.|

A Lake County man released from prison in February and awarded nearly $1 million after spending 20 years behind bars for a crime for which he has since been exonerated has died.

Luther Jones, 71, died Dec. 6, according to his attorney, Angela Carter. At the time, Jones, who suffered from several serious ailments, had been living in the Bay Area, spending time between hospitals and a daughter’s house, Carter said.

A funeral service has been scheduled for Saturday at Jones & Lewis Funeral home in Lower Lake.

Jones’ story since his release had been one of joy and sadness.

“Luther’s family got to know him better only to lose him a short time later,” Carter said.

Jones had spent two years in jail awaiting trial and 18 years in prison after being sentenced to 27 years. He was released after the woman who accused him of molesting her when she was 10 years old recanted her statement. The woman told authorities her mother told her to lie about Jones, who had been locked in a custody battle at the time over the alleged victim’s little sister.

In July, Luther was awarded $936,880 for wrongful conviction. The Northern California Innocence Project and Carter had helped Jones petition for speedy compensation because they were afraid he would die before the payment was received.

Jones was suffering from kidney and liver failure, diabetes and hepatitis C when he was released from prison. He was hospitalized multiple times in the following months.

His son, Ko’Fawn Jones, became his father’s primary caretaker in the first several months following his release. He said at the time of the award his father would be moved out of Lake County when the money arrived because he required medical care not readily available in the rural county. He planned to hire a full-time nurse to care for his father.

Ko’Fawn Jones said Thursday the family would have no comment.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 707-462-6473 or On Twitter @MendoReporter.

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