Richard Anthony Jones of Kansas City, Kansas, was set free and given $1.1 million in compensation after a judge said his conviction was completely mistaken.
Jones was put in jail in 1999 for a robbery with a gun that happened in a Walmart the previous year. An eyewitness said that Jones was the robber.
But in 2017, when his case was revisited, the same witness couldn’t tell the difference between Jones and a man named Ricky Amos, who looks just like Jones.
Jones also lived on the other side of Kansas, while his lookalike lived where the robbery took place.
Also, there wasn’t any physical, DNA, or fingerprint evidence to tie the cr*ime to Jones.
Jones had tried to get his case changed more than once, but it never worked.
But in 2015, he heard that a man in jail looked just like him and even had a first name that sounded similar.
Amos and Jones are about the same age and have the same skin tone, facial hair, and braids. Amos says he had nothing to do with the cri*me, and he won’t be charged because the time limit for the cr*ime has passed.
Jones called the Midwest Innocent Project, a non-profit group that helps people who have been wrongfully convicted get legal assistance. He thought this man might be the one who committed the cri*me.
“We were shocked by how much they looked alike,” said an attorney who was working on Jones’ case.
“Everyone has a doppelganger, and we were lucky to find his.”
At a hearing in June 2017, the other man was brought up by his lawyers from the Midwest Innocence Project and the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project at the University of Kansas.
After the victim and witnesses said that Jones wasn’t the person who did it, Johnson County District Judge Kevin Moriarty released Jones. Even though Moriarty didn’t say that the other man committed the cri*me, he found that based on the new evidence, no reasonable juror would have found Jones guilty. At the hearing, the other man, who was known as “Ricky,” said that he did not commit the cri*me.
“We are very happy with the outcome,” said Tricia Bushnell, the head of the Midwest Innocence Project, which helped Jones’s case. “This is why we all worked so hard in Kansas to get compensation.” This means a lot because it means Richard can start to rebuild his life after the years he lost.
Investigators focused on Jones because his picture was picked out of a police database three months after the cri*me by the witnesses. Jones’ lawyers said that the lineup of photos shown to the robbery victim and other witnesses was “highly suggestive” and that Jones’ picture was the only one of six photos that fit the description of the robbery suspect.
Jones was given a certificate of innocence and will get counseling and health care from the state for two years as part of the settlement.
Jones was then let go and was able to see his kids again.
He said, “It’s been a rough ride for my kids, but they’re now old enough to understand.”
In 2018, the state of Kansas gave him a settlement of $1.1 million.
Life After Prison
On February 25, 2019, Kansas City police officers were called to a fight between Jones and a family member. The U.S. Attorney’s office says that when he ran away from the police, they saw a gun in his waistband.
Officers saw Jones getting into a car a week later, and they tried to stop him. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Jones drove away from police “in a dangerous way and at high speeds” before he lost control of the car and crashed.
He then got out of the car and ran away. After a short chase, he was caught.
Before his robbery conviction was overturned, Jones was found guilty of breaking into a car, robbing someone, and selling a prohibited substance.