Luke Mitchell's mum Corrine Mitchell

Murder in a Small Town: When is Luke Mitchell due for release? What has Jodi Jones’ family said?

Luke has served 17 years of a minimum 20 year sentence

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Murder in a Small Town retells the horrifying murder of Jodi Jones for which her then-boyfriend is currently in jail – but when will Luke Mitchell be released?

The Channel 5 documentary questions whether Luke is really innocent, but what have Jodi’s family said about him?

Here’s everything you need to know about episode two of the two-part doc.

Jodi Jones was brutally attacked and murdered at the age of just 14 (Credit: Channel 5)
Jodi Jones was brutally attacked and murdered at the age of just 14 (Credit: Channel 5)

Read more: What happened to Jodi Jones? Murder in a Small Town on Channel 5 explores horrific murder

Luke Mitchell’s trial by media?

Luke’s trial began in a blaze of publicity in November 2004 – 18 months after the murder of Jodi Jones.

The crime, and subsequent trial, was on the front of every newspaper in Scotland.

The newspapers featured Luke on their front pages on a daily basis pre-trial and during the trial.

Headlines screamed “satanist” and “wicked”, and reported he was obsessed with the occult and Marilyn Manson music.

Writers named him despite being a minor – which would obviously influence the minds of the jury.

Luke’s mum Corrine says: “Why did everyone think Luke did it? Because the police told the press, and the press told the public.”

Luke Mitchell’s trial

With no weapon, no forensic evidence and no confession, the prosecution’s case was entirely circumstantial.

Despite Jodi fighting for her life on June 30 2003, Luke had no blood on him.

The three planks of the case were that 1) he found the body 2) an eyewitness placed him near the body and 3) his alibi was not accepted.

His alibi was that he was cooking dinner with his mother and his brother.

However, the prosecution claimed the family was lying and said Corrine had burnt evidence – but all charges of perverting the course of justice were dropped.

Meanwhile, the “prosecution’s star witness” Andrina Bryson was UNABLE to identify Luke in the courtroom.

Eventually, a majority verdict found Luke guilty of Jodi’s murder and sentenced him to a minimum of 20 years.

It took them less that 24 hours.

Luke did not testify at his trial, which was the longest and most expensive of a single accused in Scottish legal history.

Did Luke Mitchell kill Jodi Jones?
He was found guilty of killing Jodi Jones, but when will Luke Mitchell be released? (Credit: Channel 5)

Read more: Is Luke Mitchell innocent and is the real killer of Jodi Jones dead?

When will Luke Mitchell be released?

Luke is currently in Shotts prison, nearing the end of his minimum 20-year sentence.

He was sentenced in 2005, and has already spent the last 17 years in prison.

Luke is nearly 32 years of age, and has tried and failed a number of times to overturn his conviction.

Murder in a Small Town explains that Luke refuses to say he is guilty for something he claims he didn’t do.

This means his chances of parole are greatly reduced.

Luke’s mum Corrine is fighting for an acquittal.

Luke says: “I will not admit to something I have not done – even if it means I would be released.

“I will maintain my innocence, even if it means staying in jail for the rest of my life.”

When will Luke Mitchell be released? The earliest would be in 2025.

The fight to clear Luke’s name continues.

When will Luke Mitchell be released? What has Jodi Jones’ family said?

At the time, Jodi’s mum Judith said that justice has been served.

They do not take part in the C5 series Murder in a Small Town.

Liam Kerr, justice spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, has been critical of the documentary.

He told the Daily Record: “This individual was convicted of one of the most horrific criminal acts, and several appeals on his behalf have been rejected.

“Clearly this documentary will only cause more distress to a family who’ve already suffered so much.

“The makers should be thinking twice about giving a platform to such a dangerous and twisted individual.”

Murder in a Small Town investigates Luke Mitchell's imprisonment
Murder in a Small Town investigates Luke Mitchell’s imprisonment (Credit: Channel 5)

Other persons of interest: the moped boys

On the night of Jodi Jones’ murder, two mopeds were seen at 5pm close to the scene.

The ‘moped boys’ came forward five days later – they were Jodi’s second cousin John Ferris and Gordon Dickie.

They were called as witnesses during the trial and asked why they were in the woods near the scene of the crime.

They said they couldn’t remember, and denied killing Jodi.

However, John was known to have cut all his hair off just the day after Jodi’s murder in a possible attempt to alter his appearance.

Other persons of interest: Stephen Kelly

Police removed more than one hundred pieces of evidence from the scene, including clothing, blood, saliva and semen – none linked to Luke.

There was male DNA at the scene and on the body, but it wasn’t Luke’s.

Police found DNA on Jodi’s T’shirt from Stephen Kelly  – Jodi’s sister’s boyfriend.

This implicated Stephen more than Luke – so why didn’t they arrest him?

The explanation given in court was that Jodi had borrowed her sister’s T’shirt that night.

Another male profile was found from a second male in a used condom close to Jodi’s body.

The semen in the condom was said to be fresh, but the DNA match was not found for another three years.

His DNA was put through the police database in relation to another incident.

The person cannot be named, although the private investigators featured on Murder in a Small Town believe he is the most likely killer.

Luke Mitchell appeared in the press on a daily basis after Jodi's murder (Credit: Channel 5)
Luke Mitchell was demonised in the press on a daily basis after Jodi’s murder (Credit: Channel 5)

Was Mark Kane the killer of Jodi Jones?

Investigators John Sallens and Michael Neil found another person of interest to the crime who “turned up with scratches on his face” the day after the murder.

Mark Kane was an alleged drug user studying at Newbattle Abbey College in Dalkeith, who was “untraceable” during the murder hunt.

He bares a striking resemblance to Luke, and lived very close to the murder site.

He’s described as “a very, very disturbed boy who carried a knife” and was on methadone at the time, as well as cannabis and lager.

Mark says he obtained the scratches by “falling in a bush”.

Mark died last year.

Luke Mitchell polygraph

Corrine Mitchell was asked during a polygraph test if she had faked her son’s alibi or burnt his bloodied clothing.

She passed it without any hesitation.

Luke also took the lie detector test from inside prison.

He passed.

However, lie detector tests are not currently admissible in UK courts.

They do not ensure 100 per cent accuracy.

Murder in a Small Town concludes on Thursday February 25 2021 at 9pm on Channel 5.

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