BUFFALO, N.Y. — Charles Jones has been locked up since 2019. The same year he was charged with the deaths of his girlfriend Jacquetta Lee, 25, and his mother Alethia Atwood Williams, 52.
Jones pleaded guilty to the crimes, but for the last year and a half, he has been asking to have his plea withdrawn.
The request was granted by Erie County Court Judge Sheila A. DiTullio.
Attorneys who represented Jones in the past argued that due to the pandemic, they could not have confidential communication with their clients. As a result, they said they were not effective.
The judge stated in the decision that Jones was not afforded "meaningful representation."
"In reaching this decision, this court is not making a general pronouncement that all guilty pleas entered during the pandemic were somehow compromised; they were not," she wrote.
Lee was found dead inside her Main Street apartment on July 18, 2019, by family members.
The following month, Jones' mother was found in a closet inside her apartment on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo. He was 24 years old at the time of his arrest. It came after a standoff with Buffalo Police outside his mother's apartment building.
Jones will go on trial for two counts of murder on April 24.
Besides the death of his girlfriend and mother, his infant daughter Royalty also died. Police say that the investigation remains open. The baby suffered major head trauma according to family members after spending time in the care of her father in 2018.
After he was indicted, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said if Jones is convicted or takes a plea, "I am asking for life in jail, there's no doubt about that."