A Massachusetts judge has scheduled a hearing for convicted murderer Darrell Jones to review his request for documents and trial evidence being sought in a motion to reopen his case.

Jones, convicted of killing alleged Cuban drug dealer Guillermo Rodriguez in a 1985 Brockton, Massachusetts, shooting, is set to attend the March 22 status hearing. He said this is the first time since his 1986 conviction that he’s been allowed to attend a hearing on efforts to clear his name.

He previously failed in an immediate appeal of his conviction, and in two later motions aimed at a retrial. Jones is being held at the maximum-security Souza Baranowski Correctional Center, in Shirley.

Jones was the subject of a January story by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and WBUR public radio, which raised questions about whether he received a fair trial. None of the eyewitnesses at the trial said they were sure he was the shooter, and there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.

Brockton Superior Court Judge Thomas F. McGuire Jr. has given the county district attorney until March 25 to respond to Jones’ motion for a new trial. The district attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the granting of a status hearing.

Jones’ attorney, Lisa Kavanaugh, said the judge’s decision to hold a hearing and bring her client to court was “encouraging” because such requests are often denied without any official airing.

Jones has alleged that police tampered with a videotape of a key witness played in his trial. He has asked the state to produce the original VHS copy of that tape, an unredacted copy of the prosecutorial file, and other documents.

NECIR staff writer Jenifer McKim can be reached at jmckim@bu.edu. WBUR reporter Bruce Gellerman contributed to this report. To read the Darrell Jones investigation, click here.