It’s a situation that none of us hope to ever be in – being accused of a crime that we didn’t do.
But this happened to one man in Missouri, who was jailed for 18 years for a robbery that he didn’t commit.
Richard Anthony Jones was convicted for the crime in 1999. He was picked out of a police lineup by witnesses, of which he was the only man to fit the description of a light-skinned male.
It was only when Richard was in prison that he learned of a man, also incarcerated, who looked “just like him.” He began to wonder whether it was this unknown doppelganger who had committed the crime, and that was why he had been convicted in his place.
As Richard began to learn more about the man, he learned that coincidentally, he even went by a similar name, Ricky.
Looking at a picture of the two men side-by-side, it’s easy to see how they could be mistaken as the same person.
Only one man is Richard Jones and the other is Ricky Amos…the man who actually committed the crime.
Richard had been convicted of trying to steal a purse in the parking lot of a Walmart in Roeland Park, Kansas.
Despite there being no DNA, fingerprints or physical evidence, and the fact that Richard had an alibi, he was still found guilty of the offense.
Luckily, Richard had the right people on his side to fight his case. The Midwest Innocence Project and the University of Kansas School of Law became involved, and eventually helped to prompt Richard’s release.
MIP, in partnership with University of Kansas School of Law, is excited to announce that Richard Jones was exonerated…
This came after a number of witnesses, including the victim of the robbery, couldn’t tell Richard apart from Ricky, his doppelganger.
Both Richard and Ricky are similar in age and skin tone, and even have the same cornrows and facial hair.
Ricky claimed to have had no involvement in the crime, and because the statute of limitations for the incident has expired, he won’t be convicted.
After 18 years in prison, Richard is now making up for lost time with his family. Speaking to ABC News on his release, he said:
“I hoped and prayed every day for this day to come, and when it finally got here it was an overwhelming feeling.”
In 2018, Richard was awarded a $1.1 million settlement by the State of Kansas. Richard was also granted a certificate of innocence, given access to counseling, and any records and samples related to his conviction were destroyed.
But in a plot twist in 2019, Richard himself – and not Ricky, who was locked up at the time – pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm.
This has led many people to question whether Richard is really as innocent as he was made out to be by his defense.
It turns out that Richard has previous convictions of burglary and robbery aside from the robbery he was falsely convicted of. This means that he’s not legally allowed to possess ammunition or firearms.
Even worse, it turned out that the gun found in Richard’s possession, which was discovered abandoned after Richard ran from the police, had been stolen in a burglary of a commercial firearms dealer, according to his prosecutors.
There’s definitely more to this story than it seems on the surface! You can watch the video documenting his 2016 release below.
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