Robert Jones is serving time in prison for the murder of Antoine Stone, a Far Rockaway Beach street preacher who was gunned down over 20 years ago on the streets of Queens, New York. Their story will be profiled on Investigation Discovery Channel’s hit television show Reasonable Doubt. The show goes deep into the hallways of America’s toughest prison systems to analyze the cases of those who claim they were wrongly convicted. Robert Jones says he didn’t kill his former gay lover, Antoine Stone. One of the eyewitnesses in the case has recanted her former statement, which should have helped to exonerate Robert Jones. However, he continues serving 25 years to life in prison.
Reasonable Doubt: Was Robert Jones Wrongfully Convicted?
To former homicide detectives Gerald Weiser and Charles Lehner, they arrested the right man for the murder of Antoine Stone, a 27-year-old preacher who was shot and killed in Far Rockaway Beach, Queens. But according to Robert Jones, he was railroaded into prison by a corrupt justice system that still has failed to make things right.
On tonight’s Reasonable Doubt, attorney Melissa Lewkowicz and detective Chris Anderson will take on the case by reviewing the evidence and testimony of eyewitnesses.
Faulty Eyewitness Testimony?
Police responded to a shots-fired call in September 1994. When they arrived, they found a critically wounded white male with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. The man was still alive and was able to say that he was preaching to a drug dealer on a bike and was shot.
Antoine Stone had definitely seen the man who shot him. However, he didn’t name Robert Jones as his killer. Antoine and Robert had known each other since middle school when they allegedly engaged in a homosexual affair. Stone grew up to be a well-known preacher, and Robert Jones grew up to be a petty criminal and crack head. Over the years, the two still remained close. They were so close that at times, when Robert Jones was desperate for money, Antoine Stone supposedly paid him to perform oral sex on him. An autopsy report also found cannabis in the evangelist’s system, court records detailed.
Robert Jones Is The Prime Suspect
When the devout street preacher was murdered, a tipster directed police to Robert Jones. Investigators knew that they were looking for a man who had a bike. One of the eyewitnesses remembered seeing two men talking. Another claimed that the killer looked up at her.
Robert Jones denied killing his occasional lover, stating that he was with his girlfriend at his Harlem home most of the night. He did leave his home to ride his bike to pick up his paycheck, according to detectives.
Court records sum it up this way.
“Defendant told him that on the night of the murder he had been with his girlfriend, Amira Grant. According to defendant, his girlfriend arrived at his apartment at about 6:30 p.m.; he went by bicycle to City College to pick up his paycheck at approximately 8:00 p.m.; and he picked up food and returned to his apartment between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. According to defendant, he stayed in his apartment with his girlfriend for the rest of the night. Detective Weiser testified that defendant told him that he and his uncle had sexual affairs with Stone but that he was now straight.”
The discrepancy is centered around the eyewitnesses testimony. Some statements have changed over the years. One eyewitness claimed that he saw a white or Hispanic man speeding away on the bike. However, it was documented that he had spotted a black male at the scene. The other eyewitness also later recanted his original statement.
New York City detectives say that eyewitness Joan Perser-Gennace pointed Robert Jones out in a line-up. In 2014, she admitted that she lied after she was coerced by detectives to pin the crime on Jones. By the time Joan Perser-Gennace revealed this information, Robert Jones had been incarcerated in a New York State correctional facility for the past 18 years. She told the New York Post the following:
“One of the gentlemen looked up at me, he had a bike, but I couldn’t recognize him. I told the detectives almost 10 times that I didn’t recognize the guy…they threatened my family, asked for my legal status…I was afraid. “I was reluctant to do the line up…I didn’t identify the guy. They told me to sign the form and we will fill it up later.”
Melissa Lewkowicz and Chris Anderson will reveal if they believe that Robert Jones is guilty on Reasonable Doubt tonight, which airs at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery (ID). Do you believe Robert Jones is guilty?
[Featured Image by Detective Chris Anderson/Facebook/Used with permission]