Man who spent 17 years in prison for a crime committed by his doppelgänger will get $1.1m
In 1999, Richard Anthony Jones was convicted for the aggravated robbery of a woman in a Walmart parking lot. He served 17 years for the crime, all the while maintaining that he had nothing to do with it. In fact, he even had a solid alibi for the time of the incident - but nobody believed him on account of how perfectly he fit the witness' description of the perpetrator.
Jones' case caught the attention of The Innocence Project, who believed his story and figured that he must have had a lookalike out there somewhere. And, sure enough, after a bit of searching, they found him. His name was Ricky Amos, and he looked almost indistinguishable from Jones at the time of the robbery.
Here are their mugshots:
On the left is Jones, and on the right is Amos. It's easy to see how the two could be confused, and a just a quick glance could convince someone that they were twins.
Once this was discovered, the case was reopened, Jones was re-trialed, and was found to have been telling the truth all along. He was innocent.
Unfortunately, the almost two decades behind bars had taken its toll on the man - now a 42-year-old grandfather - and he has since spoken about how hard it's been to adjust.
"It took a big chunk of my life that I can never get back," said Jones in an interview. "It was a hard pill to swallow ... At that time I was pretty much trying to be responsible as a father. I was not perfect, but I was a big part of their lives, and when I got incarcerated it was hard for me because I was used to being around for my kids ... I am just trying to get stable in my everyday life. I am still transitioning."
Now, he's been awarded compensation for his suffering.
Earlier this year, Jones filed a petition with the 10th Judicial District Court of Kansas, seeking about $65,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment, as well the cost of attorney's fees and costs. The total of all this came to $1.1 million - a sum that the wrongfully-convicted man has now received.
On top of this, the court ordered that Jones would also receive a certificate of innocence, that his arrest record and conviction would be expunged, that any biological samples of his would be destroyed, and that he would receive counseling and state healthcare benefits for the next two years.
"We are committed to faithfully administering the new mistaken-conviction statute the legislature enacted," Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement. "In this case, it was possible on the existing record to resolve all issues quickly, satisfy all of the statute's requirements, and agree to this outcome so Mr. Jones can receive the benefits to which he is entitled by law because he was mistakenly convicted."
Jones apparently bears no ill will towards Amos, but is disappointed that his doppelganger has never owned up to the crime.