This Innocent Dad Spent 17-Years In Prison. His Crime? He Looked Like The Real Suspect

This Innocent Dad Spent 17-Years In Prison. His Crime? He Looked Like The Real Suspect
Kansas City Star

Going to prison for 17 years for a robbery sucks, especially when your conviction was a case of mistaken identity. A Kansas City man named Richard Jones was recently freed after nearly two decades of proclaiming his innocence. According to the Kansas City Star, Jones and his lawyers found another man named "Ricky" who lived in the vicinity of the Walmart where the robbery happened back in 1999. Not only did they have the same name, but they looked a lot alike.

There was no physical evidence linking Jones to the aggravated robbery, only eyewitness testimony. Because the other Ricky's photo was not included in the original lineup, the dots were easier to connect for the victim and witnesses.

When the new evidence was presented to a judge, he concluded that had the photo been shown in court 17 years ago, Jones would not have gone to prison. When old photos of both men were shown to the same witnesses, they said they would have probably picked the other Ricky. What's crazy is that Jones didn't exactly match the description of the suspect, but next to the other faces in the photo lineup, he was the only possible choice. "This has been one of the most bizarre scenarios that I’ve seen in my 27 years of prosecuting cases," said the DA, who dismissed all charges.

Richard Jones and Ricky, circa 1999 (screenshot) / The Kansas City Star
lineup shown to witnesses (screenshot) / The Kansas City Star

"If I was outside of this picture, I would have saw the same thing," Jones said in an interview (below) of his resemblance to the doppelganger. "There's not too many people that you could present those pictures to and they not say 'Hold up.' Either you're going to think they're the same person, or you're going to think these guys look so much alike." 

Jones is back home now. A GoFundMe campaign was set up by The Project for Innocence and Post Conviction Remedies at the University of Kansas School of Law to help him and his family. The other Ricky appeared at Jones' hearing but has not been charged. According to ABC News, the possibility of a retrial are slim but not completely off the table.

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