Man Who Spent 17 Years In Prison Is Freed After His Doppelgänger Is Found
Everybody is happy to find their doppelgänger, but nobody was more eager and ecstatic to find their doppelgänger than Richard Anthony Jones. He spent 17 years in prison for crimes that may have been committed by his doppelgänger.
Back in May of 1999, there was a robbery in Roeland Park, Kansas. Two men picked up a man named “Rick” at a house and drove to a Walmart to get money for drugs. Once they were at the Walmart parking lot, “Rick” jumped out of the car, wrestled a woman to the ground, stole her purse and cell phone, then got back in the vehicle.
All of the witnesses described “Rick” as a Hispanic or light-skinned African American. The driver of the vehicle was questioned by law enforcement and asked to identify “Rick” from over 200 mugshots. The driver, who was admittedly on drugs during his only encounter with “Rick,” picked out Richard Anthony Jones from the numerous photos that were taken from the police department’s database. Police created this photo lineup to show the other witnesses and they all fingered Jones as the robber.
Jones’ lawyers argued that the lineup of mugshots was “highly suggestive,” since Jones was the only one of the six photographs in the lineup that resembled the description of the robbery suspect.
Richard lived in Kansas City, Missouri and rarely ventured over to the Kansas side and had no ties to the Kansas City, Kansas location where the robbery took place. Jones had alibi witnesses who testified that he was with them in Kansas City on the day of the crime. Richard never went by the name “Rick” and didn’t know any of the people who were in the vehicle when the crime was committed. There was no DNA, fingerprints or any physical evidence that linked Jones to the crime.
Despite the questionable amount of actual evidence that Richard committed the robbery, the jury found Jones guilty of aggravated robbery based on the testimony of eyewitnesses. He was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison. Jones unsuccessfully appealed the conviction and sentence.
Lawyers for Jones discovered there was a man in prison who looked exactly like Richard Anthony Jones and his name was “Ricky.” “We were floored by how much they looked alike,” said attorney Alice Craig. The other man lived near the area of where the crime happened, while Jones lived across the state line.
There was a new hearing based on this revelation that there was a man who looked exactly like Richard Anthony Jones. After seeing photos of this new suspect, eyewitnesses were no longer confident that Jones committed the robbery. Two long and agonizing years after presenting the new evidence of the dead ringer look-alike, Jones was finally released from prison when his conviction was overturned on Thursday.
“Everybody has a doppelganger,” Craig said. “Luckily we found his.”
A GoFundMe has been created for Jones to “ease the injustice that took place” and “help him assimilate back into society.”