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17 years in jail for a crime he did not commit after researchers tracked down his lookalike


An inmate at a Kansas prison has been released after 17 years in jail for a crime he did not commit after researchers tracked down his lookalike.
Richard Anthony Jones was sent to prison for a robbery in 1999 in Roeland Park, Kansas.

There was no DNA evidence or fingerprints linking him to the crime. But he was convicted on eyewitness accounts and sentenced to 19 years.

Jones said he began to despair of ever being released from prison.

"All my appeals had been denied. It has been a rough ride," he said.

In 2015 he told researchers from the Midwest Innocence Project - a group that helps prisoners whom it believes are wrongly convicted - about a man called Ricky he had heard about who looked identical to him. Researchers tracked Ricky down and discovered that he lived within 16km of the crime scene.

"When I saw his picture it all made sense to me," Jones said.

His lawyers showed the two men's photographs to the victim, two eyewitnesses and the prosecutor in the original case. None could tell them apart.

A judge ordered that Jones be released and he walked free last week.

"Everybody has a doppelgänger," said Alice Craig, Jones' lawyer. "Luckily we found his."

Khabza Mkhize

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