Richard Jones had a party with family and friends at his home in Kansas City, Mo., on May 31, 1999. It was Memorial Day and his girlfriend’s birthday.
A few miles across the border, in Kansas City, Kan., three people had been driving around and smoking crack cocaine all day. They eventually ran out of drugs, so they drove to a neighborhood where they knew people sold crack. The three pulled up outside a duplex where a man they knew as Rick joined them.
Rick sat in the front seat and told them to go to a nearby Walmart. He got out of the car and tried to snatch a woman’s purse in the parking lot. She fought, and Rick ended up taking her phone instead. The woman didn’t get a good look at her attacker before he and the others drove away. Neither did the store security guard. All they knew, according to court records, was that he was a thin, light-skinned black or Hispanic man with dark hair.
Police and eye witnesses eventually believed that man was Richard Jones, and that he likely went by the nickname Rick. He was arrested months later and convicted of aggravated robbery the following year, despite his alibi that he never left his house that Memorial Day. One of the witnesses said the robber had a tattoo on his left arm; Jones didn’t have one at that time.
He was sentenced to 19 years of prison.
Jones sat behind bars, bitter and confused about why he was there, his attorney said. Finally, several years later, things began to make sense.
Investigators discovered that the crime Jones was convicted of was very likely committed by another man — his doppelganger with a somewhat-similar first name.
Ricky Amos had been in and out of prison since the 1990s, and at some point throughout the time that Jones was behind bars, the two men ended up in the same Kansas Department of Corrections facility. Inmates told Jones that a man who looks just like him was also a prisoner there. “Hey, you were in the cafeteria and you didn’t say hello to me,” others said, according to his attorney.
See more- Source: Washington Post