Judge dismisses murder charges against two men after new evidence emerges in 1997 case

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A judge vacated previous trial convictions of two men previously convicted of a 1997 murder after new evidence was presented in court.

Carl Dukes, now 39, and Lavelle Jones, 38, were convicted in the 1997 murder of Erik Mitchell after separate jury trials.

In 1999, the men were each sentenced to life in state prison.  Dukes and Jones have been serving the sentence since that time.

In 2014, the DA’s office says Jeffrey Conrad, now 53, formerly of Albany, was arrested for an unrelated murder in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. During the investigation, Conrad is accused of making statements, implicating himself as the shooter in the 1997 murder of Mitchell.

“As soon as the newly discovered evidence was brought to our attention we sought to ensure that the Constitutional rights of Mr. Dukes and Mr. Jones were protected, and it was at our insistence that they were appointed new defense counsel to be adequately represented in the matter,” DA David Soares said.

Dukes and Jones pleaded guilty to a single count of 1st degree robbery for their roles in an October 1996 forcible robbery in a residence on Clinton Avenue in the City of Albany. The DA says they were immediately sentenced to a maximum of 14 years, which has already been served in State Prison.

Both were remanded to the custody of the Department of Corrections and will be scheduled for release.

The DA says Conrad was found guilty in Ohio for the murder of his former girlfriend and faces other crimes in Ohio for unrelated crimes.

At this time, the DA says Conrad has not been charged with any crimes, including the murder of Mitchell.

The case has been reopened and the investigation into the murder is ongoing.

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