A Kansas City man was released after serving 17 years in jail for a robbery he didn’t commit when a man, who looked so much like him they could be twins, was finally discovered and brought to the court’s attention.
Richard Anthony Jones was convicted of a Roeland Park robbery committed in 1999, but since the first day he was arrested, Jones claimed he was innocent of the crime. While serving time in prison, he began hearing from other prisoners that he bore a striking resemblance to another known criminal.
After years of pleading his case, Jones, who was convicted solely on eyewitness testimony, finally received help from the Innocence Project who believed him enough to begin looking into the claim of a doppelganger who may have been the real culprit, the Kansas City Star reported.
Jones’s lawyers investigated the prisoner’s story and believed they found the man everyone said looked so much like their client that they could pass as the same person.
“We were floored by how much they looked alike,” said Jones’s attorney Alice Craig of seeing the other man who some believe committed the crime instead of Jones.
The legal team then contacted the victim from the robbery to look at photos of the two men side-by-side. Photos of the two men show each with braided hair and a pencil-thin goatee. The two look so similar that they could easily be mistaken as two photos of the same man.
The victim agreed that she could not tell the two men apart and could now not be sure of her 17-year-old testimony.
Jones was arrested in 1999 after the victim picked him out of a police photo database. But Jones’s lawyers maintain that the police acted in a “highly suggestive” manner because Jones was the only suspect in the photo group shown to the victim who looked anything like the description the victim gave.
Ultimately, Johnson County District Judge Kevin Moriarty ordered Jones’s release based on the new evidence.
Further investigation revealed that the other man, known as “Ricky,” also lived very near the victim in 1999.
The now released man was said to be angry for years about his incarceration, but when he looked at the photo of his doppelganger, even he had to admit that it was an easy mistake to make.
Jones told the media he was happy to be with his children at long last.
“When it comes to my kids, it’s been a rough ride, but they are now at an age where they can understand,” he said.
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