A California woman sentenced to life without parole for killings committed by her boyfriend has been freed after 32 years behind bars.
Mary Virginia Jones, 74, was greeted by friends and relatives, including the son who was barred from visiting her because of his own felony record, when she emerged from the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynnwood late Monday. A judge had ordered her release earlier in the day after she pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter.
The Los Angeles district attorney's office agreed to support her release with no probation if she pleaded to involuntary manslaughter. She said during a court appearance Monday that she was not a willing participant in the killing but believed entering the plea was in her best interest.
Jones was hailed as a woman who used her time in prison to become a leader and guide for others. Patricia Elder, who spent more than a decade behind bars before being released in 2001, was waiting for her.
"She showed us how to walk the walk with God and be faithful," Elder said. "She had a light that just shined."