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Man Spends 17 Years in Prison for a Crime Committed by His Doppelganger

And the men share the same first name!

By True Crime WriterPublished about a month ago Updated 26 days ago 3 min read
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The photographs above depict two distinct individuals who bear a striking resemblance to each other in skin tone, facial features, hairstyle, and physical appearance. They also share the same first name. The man on the left, Richard "Ricky" Amos, is responsible for a crime for which the man on the right, Richard Jones, served a 17-year prison sentence.

'Ricky Did It'

In 1999, a man robbed a pregnant woman at gunpoint at a Wal-Mart in Roeland Park, KS. The individual took the woman's purse and cell phone. The woman resisted her attacker, leading him to snatch her purse. She fell to her knees.

Witnesses described the suspect as a "light-skinned Hispanic or African American man named Rick." One witness recorded the man's vehicle license plate number.

Police tracked down the vehicle owner. He told them a man named Ricky had his car.

Police identified Richard Jones as their suspect after viewing CCTV footage from the Wal-Mart store several times. Additionally, the victim identified Jones as her attacker after viewing a photo lineup. Police took Jones into custody on felony aggravated assault charges.

Jones Vehemently Denies Hurting Anyone, Sent to Prison

Jones proclaimed his innocence, telling police he was hundreds of miles away at a relative’s home celebrating his niece’s birthday. Several family members corroborated his story. Police officers didn't care; they had their man.

There was no physical evidence, fingerprints, or DNA linking Jones to the robbery, yet a jury convicted him of the robbery and sentenced him to serve 19 years in prison.

As Jones acclimated to prison life, other inmates spoke to him as if they knew one another on the streets. They asked Richard if he remembered events that never occurred in his life. He had never met any of the inmates.

Another Man Named Richard

Weeks passed. Then, months and years. Richard's friend told him about another inmate who looked a lot like him. This intrigued Richard. His name was Ricky (Richard) Amos.

Police spoke to Amos, who denied any involvement with the crime.

Seventeen years passed when the Midwest Innocence Project took Jones' case. Content written by Criminal Matters. The organization revealed many flaws in the case and in Richard’s conviction and knew they had a good chance of getting him out of prison.

Ricky had a lengthy criminal history and lived in a drug house near the Walmart at the time of the crime.

The organization spoke to the victim and two witnesses of the crime. They showed them mugshot photos of Jones and Amos side-by-side. Neither person could identify which of the two Richard's was the attacker.

Conviction Tossed, Jones Released From Prison

Jones requested a new trial. On June 8, 2017, a judge tossed the conviction, and Jones was released from prison after losing 17 years of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Jones said through his attorney that he had no ill will toward Amos or the state, and actually understands the confusion.

He said,

“When I saw that picture, it just made sense to me,” Jones said. “They say you can’t see the picture clearly if you [are] in it, but if I was outside this picture I would have seen the same thing.”

Million-Dollar Lawsuit

R Jones

Jones filed a lawsuit against the state. He won a $1.1 million settlement.

In addition to compensation, Jones was granted a certificate of innocence, counseling, permission to participate in the state health care benefits program for plan years 2019 and 2020, and records of his arrest and conviction were ordered expunged, and any biological samples associated with his mistaken conviction destroyed.

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About the Creator

True Crime Writer

The best of the worst true crime, history, strange and Unusual stories. Graphic material. Intended for a mature audience ONLY.

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