Kansas City Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 17 Years Released After Police Find Doppelgänger

These men aren't related but have been tied to the same crime for 17 years.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth
Photo: via KSHB

A Kansas judge recently freed a man who was imprisoned for the last 17 years. The reason he knew he was finally proven innocent? The discovery of his alleged criminal doppelgänger.

Richard Jones of Kansas City, MO was serving his 17th year of a prison sentence after he was blamed for a Walmart robbery in Roeland Park, KS in 1999. After he heard about a man who looked ‘identical’ to him, his doppelgänger was then tracked down when prosecutors were able to prove a giant mistake had been made.

Kansas City Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 17 Years Released After Police Find Doppelgänger

“It’s unbelievable, I ain’t seen myself being here,” Jones told KSHB as he walked out of prison last week, hugging family, friends, even strangers, who all helped prove his innocence. “It’s been 17 years. Something I ain’t do, but I’m thankful. I’m blessed.”

The judge said his conviction was based on just one eyewitness, which shouldn’t have been used as reliable evidence. However, what really sealed the deal for Jones’ release came from his lawyers with the Midwest Innocence Project.

The attorneys showed these mugshots to the judge: One is Jones. The other man, who is nearly identical in looks, is a man who goes by “Ricky,” a man they believe is the criminal responsible for the 1999 robbery.

richard jones mugshot, wrong mug_1496962554371_60885852_ver1.0_640_480

On the left is a mugshot of a man who goes by “Ricky.” On the right is Richard Jones. Jones’ lawyers with the Midwest Innocence Project showed these mug shots to the judge claiming the other similar looking man should be charged with the crime. Photo: KSHB

KSHB

“I think the judge recognized that an injustice had been done. Everyone did. The victim did, the original prosecutor did and came to testify that Richard Jones didn’t commit this crime,” said Tricia Bushnell, director of the Midwest Innocence Project.

Here’s another profile view showing how eerily similar the two men look.

Photo: GoFundMe

Photo: GoFundMe

On top of this uncanny and incredibly unfortunate resemblance, Jones’ lawyers also pointed out that police performed an injustice when they showed an eyewitness this lineup below. As you can see, Jones’ picture is much brighter than the other suspects. The defense claimed that police never looked at another suspect.

Photo GoFundMe

Photo GoFundMe

So we have two men, one named Richard, and another named Ricky. One lives on the Missouri side of Kansas City, the other lives on the Kansas side of Kansas City. And they both look identical. I would say you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning twice than being in the middle of this wrongful conviction.

Jones told KSHB that, “You never think it could happen to you until it really happens and you waking up in a prison cell every day for a crime you didn’t commit, it’s unbelievable,” Jones said. “This is my granddaughter. This is my first time even holding her. And seeing her in person.”

On top of all of this ridiculousness, it is believed that it is now proven that “Ricky,” has been tied to the home the real criminal was seen picked up from before the robbery 17 years ago. Un-real.

GoFundMe Page has been set up for Jones to help with his re-acclimation into society. More than $11,000 has already been raised to support the wrongfully convicted man.

The proceeds of this GoFundMe will go directly to Richard Jones. Richard can never get those 17 years with his children (and now grandchildren) back, but every donation can help ease the injustice that took place. This money will help him assimilate back into society and allow him to spend time reconnecting with his family and friends after 17 long years. If anyone deserves a little bit of help from the community to get back on his feet, it’s Richard Jones.

Jones also has a 20-year-old daughter who was a toddler when he went to prison. She said she’s ready to make new memories with her dad.

Photo: GoFundMe

Photo: GoFundMe

Local prosecutors have not said whether they plan to charge the other suspect in the crime.

This needs to be turned into a doc now: 10 Life-Changing Documentaries Currently On Netflix


Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports and a contributor for Mandatory. He is also a reporter for KSHB 41 Action News in Kansas City.