This story boggles my mind and also scares me quite a bit when I think about our justice system. Imagine, minding your own business, relaxing with your family and friends. Then suddenly, one day, you get arrested for a crime you know nothing about. Well…that’s what happened to Richard Jones of Kansas City, Missouri. Jones was released from prison last Thursday, June 8th for “looking like” someone else. I’m not joking! He spent 17 years in prison and was just granted his freedom after a doppelganger arrest.
Looks Can Be Deceiving – Especially if You’re Stoned
Throughout his 17 year ordeal, Richard Jones maintained his innocence and insisted he didn’t commit the crime. Jones had been charged with aggravated robbery in 1999, for attempt purse-snatching in a Walmart parking lot. A woman’s cell phone had been stolen and Jones was identified as the culprit. However, and this is the part that disturbs me about the conviction, there were a few eyewitnesses (I use that term loosely) that “believed” Jones was the guy they saw. One was a Walmart security guard who did not see the crime, but chased the getaway car in order to identify its license number. The two other men admitted they weren’t sure because…are you ready for this…they were “high” at the time. THAT is unbelievable to me! Jones was arrested and somehow convicted on a guess by of some guys that were stoned.
Regardless of the the fact that the crime took place across the state line in Kansas City, Kansas. Regardless that Jones was at home with family the day the crime occurred, he was still put in prison for something he ultimately didn’t do. Now think about that for a moment. That’s 17 years that this poor man will never get back. To make matters worse and even more heart wrenching for me, Jones had two young daughters at the time of his sentencing. One was just a baby when they put him away.
Free At Last
So you’re probably wondering, how did they finally get to the bottom of this? That too will blow your mind…
Back in 2015, other inmates in the correctional facility where Jones was held, started telling him about another inmate who looked like he could be his twin.
From there, Jones decided to try and contact the Midwest Innocence Project, which is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the investigation, litigation, and exoneration of wrongfully convicted men. Attorneys with the organization were able to track down a gentleman by the name of Ricky Amos, who just so happened to look very much like our innocent Mr. Jones. Oh and guess what…Amos also happened to live on the Kansas side of town and had been linked to the address near the Walmart the crime took place.
Now in booking photos, the two men look almost identical and, understandably caused confusion. Take a look for yourself. The resemblance is definitely there. Now…smoke a joint and see if you can tell the difference. Clearly two guys couldn’t and it ended up putting Jones away for 17 years. Ugh!
Jones’ attorney was able to convince a judge to grant his freedom. She was able to prove that the entire case rested solely on eyewitness testimony. That along with the fact that there was no real evidence linking Jones to the crime. So based on the review of his case, Judge Kevin Moriarty said, “No reasonable juror would have convicted in the light of the new evidence.”
After his release, Jones youngest daughter, who was just a baby when he was sentenced, was able to see and properly meet her father for the first time. Needless to say the 17-year-old girl had tears in her eyes and rightfully so. In addition, Jones got to meet his young granddaughter.
I can only imagine the joy he must have felt, but I also wonder the about sadness he must feel deep down inside as well. All those years lost because of piss poor detective work, and probably some racial profiling as well.
Although I’m truly happy for him, I can’t help but wonder too…how many more Richard Jones type cases are still out there?