In 1999, a woman was robbed outside of a Walmart in Roeland Park, Kansas. The thief attempted to steal her purse but she refused to let go and fell to her knees. He escaped the scene with her cell phone. The victim later identified her alleged attacker as Richard Anthony Jones, who matched the description that a secondary witness had given. Jones had an alibi, having been seen by numerous other people at a friend’s house at the time of the robbery. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough to sway the jury. Because the victim was injured during the struggle, he was charged with aggravated assault and sentenced to 19 years in prison, according to CNN.
Jones appealed his charges but lost and spent 17 years in prison. Luckily, the Midwest Innocence Project caught wind of his case. This organization works to exonerate individuals who were wrongfully committed. They believed Jones’ innocence and set out to find the real culprit. It wasn’t long until they tracked down Ricky Lee Amos. Not only was Amos look startlingly similar to Jones but he lived at the address linked to the crime. The witnesses from the 1999 crime were shown pictures of two men and could no longer say for certain that Jones was the person they remembered. Without significant evidence, a Kansas judge threw out the entire case and released Jones from jail in June of 2017.
All stemming from an aggravated assault charge in 1999, the story got more confusing from there. Thanks to the Innocence Project, the doppelganger who did not commit the crime will receive a settlement and other resources. https://t.co/EIe5rWhcof
— KXLY 4 News (@kxly4news) December 20, 2018
Jones was grateful to finally be free and to have his name cleared. However, 17 years of his life had been wasted and retribution was in order. He was given $1.1 million in settlement money and will receive health care benefits from the government. His arrest record was expunged and he will have the opportunity to receive counseling.
Even after all he has been through in spite of his innocence, Jones reportedly has no anger left. According to Alice Craig of the Innocence Project, he does not even hold resentment against Amos. When asked if her client harbored any ill will towards Amos she replied that he doesn’t.
“I don’t think so, because it’s not Ricky’s fault that this happened, but ultimately he was the one we believe who was responsible for the crime,” Craig said. “Ricky has never admitted to the crime and I think [Jones]… was somewhat disappointed that he didn’t admit to [it].”
Amos will never pay for the crime he committed due to the statute of limitations. The time period in which he could have been charged for the robbery has passed, meaning he will never face charges.