Unspeakable Times
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An Innocent Man Spent 17 Years Locked Up Only To Find A Doppelgänger With Same Name In The Same Jail

Updated April 4, 2018 116.1k views10 items

Although the criminal justice system attempts to serve justice to deserving lawbreakers, there are a lot of cases that end up wrongfully sentenced and innocent people go to jail. Remember Adnan Syed, the prisoner infamously featured on the NPR podcast Serial? He made waves in 2014 when journalist Sarah Koenig investigated his story and made a controversial case for how he may in fact be innocent. Many similar stories come to mind. 

But an innocent man who went to jail and then met his potentially guilty doppelgänger? That sounds like the plot of a Hollywood thriller. Yet it's the true story of Richard Anthony Jones, a man from Kansas City, Missouri, who was convicted in 1999 of robbing a woman in a Walmart parking lot in Kansas and given a 19 year prison sentence — of which he served 17 of those years. In prison, while maintaining his innocence, he encountered another inmate who looked like him and even had the same first name. Jones's conviction was finally overturned after two years of fighting a legal battle and working with The Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people who have been wrongly convicted. 

Jones's story captured the attention of many, and once he was released he quickly raised a large amount of money through a GoFundMe page. He's happy to be reunited with his family, but the question looms large of whether the justice system is really doing its best to actually promote justice. 

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  • Richard Anthony Jones Finally Had His Conviction Overturned

    On June 8, 2017, Richard Anthony Jones had his conviction overturned after 17 years in prison and two years of aggressively fighting his case with The Innocence Project. He was immediately released from prison and saw his children for the first time in years. A GoFundMe page was set up to help him safely integrate himself back into society. 

  • Ricky Amos Went To Prison For Assault

    Photo: illustir / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    After being in and out of the prison system for most of his life on drug and robbery charges, Ricky Amos was charged in 2003 for sexual battery. He failed to register as a sex offender and is in prison in Kansas. He was not charged with the 1999 robbery, though his location in Kansas at the time of the crime is very revealing. 

  • The Doppelgänger Lived In The House Linked To The Crime

    During the investigation into Ricky Amos, police found that he and his mom had been evicted from their home and temporarily lived in a drug house with his mom in Kansas — that happened to be the same house where two men admitted picking up a man they knew only as "Rick" and driving to Walmart to make some quick cash. Bingo, now there was actual evidence linking someone to the crime scene. 

  • Jones Had No Ties To Kansas, Where The Robbery Took Place

    Richard Anthony Jones was from Kansas City, Missouri, and alleged that he never went to the Kansas side of the city, where the 1999 robbery took place. He also never went by the name "Rick," which was used by the driver of the vehicle involved in the robbery. When he gave an alibi that he was with his family, their testimonies checked out. He still ended up in prison because of the lineup.