Missouri man Richard Anthony Jones was arrested for an armed robbery in 1999 — a crime he said he had nothing to do with.
According to ABC, the robbery occurred in a Walmart parking lot when a thief attempted to run off with a woman’s bag, and Jones matched the description of the suspect almost exactly.
Jones was put in a lineup of possible suspects and was quickly picked out by the robbery victim and other witnesses, reported The Kansas City Star.Image Credit: Screenshot/GMA
Although he had a solid alibi and there was no DNA or physical evidence to link him to the crime, Jones was put behind bars. Attorneys for Jones said:
“Mr. Jones was convicted solely on eyewitness testimony that has been proven to be inherently flawed and unreliable.”
For more than 15 years, Jones pleaded his innocence to no avail — until last year.
Jones began to hear whispers that there was another prisoner who looked just like him and even had the same name, Ricky.
He passed the information on to his lawyers with the Midwest Innocence Project and the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project, and soon enough, they found a match.
Ricky Amos, a man who lived near the crime scene in 1999, bore such a striking resemblance to Jones that it stunned his lawyers. Alice Craig told The Kansas City Star:
Amos (left) and Jones (right) – Image Credit: Kansas City Police Department
“We were floored by how much they looked alike.”
Jones had previously attempted to appeal his case several times, but the lookalike prisoner gave him more leverage than ever before — so his lawyers geared up for one more shot. Craig said:
“Everybody has a doppelgänger, luckily we found his.”
On Wednesday, the robbery victim and other witnesses were shown a side-by-side photo of Jones and Amos. Unsurprisingly, they were unable to tell them apart, according to The Kansas City Star.Image Credit: Kansas City Police Department
Because they could no longer confirm he was the perpetrator, Jones was freed on Thursday after nearly 17 years behind bars.
Now a grandfather, Jones said he couldn’t be happier to be free. He told “Good Morning America”:
“I hoped and prayed every day for this day to come, and when it finally got here it was an overwhelming feeling.”
Amos, the man’s lookalike, testified at the Wednesday hearing that he did not commit the 1999 robbery.