A man who spent 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit has been released after police found his lookalike(left).
Richard Anthony Jones(right) from Kansas City, Kansas, was set free on Thursday because a judge declared there was no longer sufficient evidence to convict him.
Jones had been jailed for armed robbery in 1999 based on an eyewitness account.
During a new hearing into his case, witnesses who testified against him said they couldn’t tell Jones from ‘Ricky’, whose resemblance to the freed man is uncanny and who eerily shares his first name.
The judge ordered Jones’s release because there was no physical, DNA or fingerprint evidence that tied him to the crime. What’s more, Jones lived on the other side of Kansas while his lookalike lived in the same area the incident occurred.
‘I don’t believe in luck, I believe I was blessed,’ Jones told the Kansas City Star.
Jones appealed his case several times to no avail while he served his 19-year jail sentence. Two years ago however, he heard about a man in prison who looked just like him and even shared his first name.
Realizing that this could be the key to his exoneration, he contacted the Midwest Innocent Project – a non-profit organization that provides legal services to the wrongly-convicted – to help argue his case.
‘We were floored by how much they looked alike,’ said an attorney working on Jones’ case.
During the new trial, Jones reiterated his alibi that he was with his girlfriend and her family at the time the victim reported she was robbed in a park.
His lookalike ‘Ricky’ also took the stand and denied committing the crime.
Having seen the doppelgängers next to one another, the robbery victims confirmed to the judge they were no longer sure who committed the crime.
Jones’s lawyers also argued that the lineup of men the police had put forward to the victims 17 years ago was ‘highly suggestive’ because he was the only who resembled the criminal they described.
Jones is now assimilating to life after jail and says he’s happy to be back with his children.