Man freed after 17 years in prison after lookalike found
Richard Anthony Jones was sentenced to 19 years for a 1999 aggravated robbery he has always maintained he didn’t commit.
Jones was found guilty of the robbery in a Walmart based on eyewitness evidence. There was no physical or DNA evidence linking him to the crime.
Jones tried to have his conviction appealed but each effort was denied.
Other inmates told him about a prisoner named Ricky who they said looked exactly like him and in 2015, Jones told the Midwest Innocence Project about his doppelganger, Ricky.
The group discovered Ricky lived near the scene of the crime, in Kansas City, Kansas, while Jones lived in Kansas City, Missouri. Jones’ lawyers also argued that Jones had said he was with his girlfriend and her family at the time of the crime.
“When I saw the picture of my double it all made sense to me,” Jones said.
On Wednesday, witnesses, including the victim of the robbery, testified in Johnson County District Court that, after looking at photographs of both men, they could no longer say Jones was the man who committed the crime.
Judge Kevin Moriarty ordered Jones’ release, saying no juror would have convicted Jones based on the new evidence.
As for Ricky, he also testified and denied committing the crime.
Jones was tied to the crime when his photograph was picked out of a police database three months after the robbery. His lawyers described the lineup as “highly suggestive,” as Jones was the only person in the lineup resembling the description of the suspect.
“None of the other photos matched the description provided by the witnesses,” Alice Craig, Jones’ attorney and professor at the Project for Innocence said.