Finding your doppelganger is usually a pretty surreal experience. Walking past them in a moment of madness and then suddenly realising that there’s ANOTHER person who’s been blessed with the same good genes as you is pretty damn cool.
However, I’m sure you’d be a lot less glad to see them if they were the reason you just spent over a decade and a half in the clanker for a crime you didn’t even commit. In 1999, Richard Jones was arrested in relation to a robbery, and last week he walked free after serving 17 years in prison.
Richard was originally arrested on robbery charges after police suspected he was the man who had attempted to steal a woman’s purse and phone in a Walmart car park. Apart from being described as ‘light-skinned’ no one really got a good look at the assailant’s face and after looking at the rest of the line-up, it’s not surprising that Richard was plucked out.
It was clear to everyone that Richard was innocent. He had no ties to Kansas city (where the crime took place), he had alibi witnesses who testified that he was there with them on the day of the crime, he didn’t know anyone in the vehicle and had also never gone by the name ‘Rick’.
His case was on the verge of being closed when the local University’s student-run law firm Project for Innocence decided to step in and help in 2015. Seeing as Richard had exhausted all of his appeals and there was no forensic or physical evidence to test, old-mate put in a last ditch effort to prove his innocence.
Richard told the Project for Innocence interns at the time about a bloke called Ricky. Richard had received numerous comments from other inmates about how he looked identical to Ricky. The project interns looked at it and found that Ricky and Richard were dead set doppelgangers.
Side-by-side photos were presented to the victim and three other witnesses, who all agreed that that they would not have been able to tell the difference between Ricky (Left) and Richard (Right) at the time of the robbery. The fella who prosecuted Richard back in the 90’s even wrote an affidavit stating that the new information showed that Ricky must be the suspect, not Richard.
After a bit of a legal process to get him out of prison, Richard was finally released from custody on the 8th of June after 17 long, long years. There’s even a GoFundMe that’s been set up to help Richard get back on his feet and assimilate back into society.
Hopefully that eases the pain of not being able to crack open a cold one with the boys for over 17 years.
Source: Kansas City Star