A man named Richard Anthony Jones from Kansas

A man named Richard Anthony Jones from Kansas City in
Missouri who spent nearly 17 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit has
been released from prison after the local authorities discovered his lookalike.
Jones was convicted of armed robbery earlier in 1999 that was largely based on
eyewitness testimonies.

Throughout his
sentence, Jones maintained his stand of not committing the said crime and
contacted a couple of organizations that advocated for wrongly-convicted
inmates. During these years, he was told of the existence of another person who
was not only his doppelganger but they also happened to share the exact first
name.

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“We were
floored by how much they looked alike,” Jones’ attorney Alice Craig said in an
interview. Lawyers from the Midwest Innocence Project and Paul E. Wilson
Defender Project who took up Jones’s cause also uncovered the fact
that the other person lived near the area where the alleged robbery took place.

A new hearing to the case was recently called in Johnson County District Court where Jones’s
attorney showed pictures of the two men to the witnesses of the incident, the
robbery victim and the prosecutor. Witnesses testified that they could no
longer tell the two men apart and couldn’t say with any affirmation whether
Jones was the perpetrator.

While not asserting that the other man committed the crime, Johnson County District Judge Kevin
Moriarty said “a jury would not be able to reach a determination
that this defendant was guilty” and dismissed the case. Jones’s
immediate release was ordered because there was no DNA, fingerprint or physical
evidence that coupled him with the incident.

“When I saw
that picture, it made sense to me,” said Jones in an interview to a local news
agency after being discharged. ‘I don’t believe in luck, I believe I was blessed.’
Jones is overwhelmed to reunite with his family and aims to work for innocence
projects and become a voice for others who are unfairly sentenced. He wouldn’t
be receiving any compensated services as per the laws of the state of Kansas,
therefore a fundraising page has been commenced to assist Jones readjust to
life after prison.

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