Darrell Jones is a free man.
The 52-year-old man walked out of Plymouth County Superior Court on Tuesday after being found not guilty in his second trial for the 1985 murder of Guillermo Rodriquez in a Brockton parking lot.
A jury acquitted Jones after deliberating for about two hours at the end of a three-day trial, more than 30 years after he was first convicted of first degree murder.
Jones has always maintained that he was innocent of the crime, for which he served 32 years in state prison. In 2017, a judge vacated his 1986 murder conviction, finding that the trial had been marred by a racist jury and police misconduct.
The retrial was remarkable for its lack of live witnesses. Prior testimony of six witnesses were read to the court because the people had either died or refused to testify.
After Jones was acquitted, he walked outside to celebrate with his supporters. He said he’s not going to be quiet now the trial is over; he plans to focus on addressing flaws in the criminal justice system.
“I’m celebrating the fact that I am free,’’ he said, but not celebrating the state for freeing him. “You wouldn’t be celebrating a burglar bringing back your stuff.”
Among those rejoicing the decision was his attorney Lisa Kavanaugh, from the states public defender’s Innocence Program, who has been working to prove Jones’ innocence for some seven years.
“You have been exonerated. You are innocent and the world can now see it,’’ she said to him. “No one can ever take that away from you.”
The New England Center for Investigative Reporting started covering Jones’ case in 2015, and helped uncover some of the flaws in his original conviction.