Man who spent 17 years in prison due to astonishing 'doppelganger case' is suing for $1.1m

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Saturday 01 September 2018 14:45
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(Richard A. Jones, left. Ricky Amos, right. Credit: Kansas Department of Corrections)

A man who spent 17 years in prison for a crime committed by a man who looks just like him is suing the police department for $1.1m.

In 1999, Richard Jones had been at a party with friends and family at his home in Kansas city. A few miles from there, another man called Ricky Amos met with three people who had been riding around in a car smoking crack cocaine. They were looking to score some more drugs.

It was at this point, Amos got out of the car and tried to take a woman's purse. He failed, but ended up taking her phone instead.

What followed was a whirlwind of accounts from both the victim and witnesses who identified the man to be Jones. They hadn't gotten a long look, but their description of him was - according to the Washington Post - 'he was a thin, light-skinned black or Hispanic man with dark hair' - was enough to point the finger at Jones.

Richard Jones was convicted of aggravated robbery the following year and sentenced to 19 years of prison, despite an alibi that said he hadn't left his house on Memorial Day.

No DNA evidence was recovered at the scene, and his conviction was based solely on witnesses.

He was released in 2017, two years shy of his sentence, because he discovered something astonishing: Ricky Amos could have been his twin. The pair shared the same braided hairstyle, the same eyes and nose and complexion.

Jones' Lansing prison inmates made him aware that he had a Doppelganger. He was told he looked just like Ricky, and one inmate even said to him:

Hey, you were in the cafeteria and you didn't say hello to me.

When he told his attorney, Alice Craig from the Innocence Project (an organisation dedicated to getting innocence people out of jail) she was shocked:

We were just like, holy c***.

The case was reopened, and when the witnesses were shown the two photos of the men side-by-side, they could not pick him again, and the judge lifted the conviction.

Jones was in prison for 17 years, missing his two children growing up and the birth of his grand kids. No amount of money could ever return his time. Still, compensation is the place to start, and he's seeking about $65k for every year he was incarcerated wrongfully.

Craig told the Post:

He [Jones] spent a long time in prison being pretty bitter about being convicted of a crime that he didn't commit, and he couldn't figure out why these people picked him out of a lineup.

Amos denies the crime, though he can't be convicted for it anyway, due to the statue of limitations.

H/T Washington Post

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