SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch View Alerts

Man who spent 17 years in prison for crime his doppelganger committed gets $1.1M

Richard Anthony Jones spent 17 years in prison for a crime he says was committed by his doppelganger. Now, h...

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 6:44 AM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 6:44 AM

Richard Anthony Jones spent 17 years in prison for a crime he says was committed by his doppelganger. Now, he will receive a $1.1 million settlement in a lawsuit that was resolved under a new mistaken-conviction law, Kansas officials announced Tuesday.

"We are committed to faithfully administering the new mistaken-conviction statute the legislature enacted," Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement. "In this case, it was possible on the existing record to resolve all issues quickly, satisfy all of the statute's requirements, and agree to this outcome so Mr. Jones can receive the benefits to which he is entitled by law because he was mistakenly convicted."

Corrections system

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal law

Criminal offenses

Law and legal system

Prisons and jails

Reversed conviction

Robbery

Sentencing

Continents and regions

Kansas

Midwestern United States

North America

The Americas

United States

Jones, who was released from prison last year, filed a petition in August asking the state to pay him $1.1 million and to officially proclaim his innocence.

This is the first lawsuit filed under the mistaken-conviction statute enacted by the legislature earlier this year, according to Schmidt.

Jones was convicted in the 1999 aggravated robbery of a woman in a Walmart parking lot. Jones had a solid alibi: He was at a birthday party where he was seen by several people. But he was blamed for the crime anyway because he looked almost exactly like the man who eventually became the suspect.

What happened

In 1999 a man tried to steal a woman's purse outside a Walmart in Roeland Park, Kansas. The woman fought back and held onto the purse, but the man made off with her cellphone. Because the woman fell and scraped her knees, the phone theft was classified as an aggravated robbery.

Eyewitnesses identified the criminal as a "light-skinned Hispanic or African-American man" named Rick who had "long hair pulled back."

A witness wrote down the license plate number of the car involved in the robbery. Investigators tracked down the driver of the car, who led them to the house where Rick lived.

Then the driver went to the precinct, where he looked through booking photos of people with the name Richard and Rick that matched the description the victim and a security guard had given.

The driver ID'd Jones as Rick. So did the victim, during a preliminary hearing and later at trial. But at the time of the robbery, Jones was at his girlfriend's birthday party, where several guests testified they saw him, and he had spent the next day watching movies with the girlfriend and cleaning up after the party.

His alibi didn't sway the jury, and Jones, who had a criminal record, was convicted on the aggravated robbery charge and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Jones appealed and lost. Then he learned about the Midwest Innocence Project, which partners with the University of Kansas' Project for Innocence.

Finding the doppelganger

The team from the Innocence Project eventually tracked down who they believe is the real "Rick:" He is Ricky Lee Amos, who looks strikingly similar to Jones and who had lived at the address linked to the crime.

This information was presented to the eyewitnesses, who -- when shown the mugshots of the two men -- could no longer definitely say that Jones was the robber. After that a judge tossed out Jones' conviction and freed him from prison on June 8, 2017.

The statute of limitations on the crime has passed, so if there was a case against Amos, he cannot be prosecuted.

Seeking a fresh start

Along with the $1.1 million, the court ordered on Tuesday the following relief for Jones: a certificate of innocence, record of his arrest and conviction to be expunged, the destruction of any biological samples associated with his case, counseling and permission to participate in the state health care benefits program for plan years 2019 and 2020.

Alice Craig, the lead attorney with the Innocence Project who worked to free Jones, said at the time of his release that Jones had no ill will toward Amos.

"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)."

West Lafayette
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 89°
Kokomo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Rensselaer
Overcast
81° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 86°
Fowler
Overcast
81° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 86°
Williamsport
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
Crawfordsville
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 83°
Frankfort
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 83°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 87°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 87°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 89°
Active Weather Pattern for the Work Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events