This inmate has a doppelganger... and he's set free!
Statistically, it's highly likely we all have at least one person somewhere in the world who looks so like us they could be our twin. But what if this "twin" has the same name as you, and is wanted by the law for a crime you end up doing time for? Sounds like a Hollywood movie, right? For one Kansas City man, that's exactly what happened.
The story starts in Kansas City in 1999. A group of friends were partying and wanted to buy drugs. They picked up a man called Rick who said he could help them get what they were looking for, but he would need to get cash first.
They were stopped in the parking of lot of a supermarket when Rick suddenly got out of the car and tried to steal a woman's purse. He was unsuccessful but did manage to grab the phone, knocking the woman down and injuring her in the process. Rick got back into the car and fled, but several witnesses took the license plate and called the police.
When the police found the owners of the car, they told the truth: they had met a man named Rick who was the one who had assaulted the woman. The cops searched for people named Richard or Rick in their database and the occupants of the car identified one of the men who showed up in their results.
The name of this man was Richard Anthony Jones. He perfectly matched the description of the assailant the witnesses had given: a Hispanic or African-American man with fair skin and braided hair. All the witnesses confirmed that it was him, although his supporters later criticized the police line-up as highly suggestive, because he was the only one in it who resembled the witnesses' description.
Richard denied being the culprit. He said that he was with his girlfriend and her family at the time of the robbery. There was no DNA or fingerprint evidence that would have confirmed his involvement. But all the witnesses agreed that it was him, and because he had prior convictions, he was sentenced to 19 years in jail for aggravated robbery.
All the time he was in prison, Richard maintained his innocence. But years later, he heard rumors of a man who looked a lot like him and, through an eerie coincidence, was also named Richard. On top of that, he also lived in the Kansas area where the robbery had occurred. Richard decided to seek help from an organization that helps convicts and managed to find the man he had been told about...
...and the resemblance was astonishing!
Richard's double, who was known as "Ricky," has never admitted to the crime, and the statute of limitations on the offense has expired, so even if there was a case to be made against him, it's now too late to prosecute. He was recently released from jail and has previous convictions for offenses including robbery, drug possession and aggravated sexual battery.
But at a new court hearing for Richard, the judge reversed the decision of the original jury trial after Richard's legal team presented statements from witnesses saying that, having seen pictures of both men, they could no longer be sure which of them had committed the crime. Richard was released after spending 17 years in prison.
Now grateful to be free after this bizarre story, Richard wants to be with his family to make up for lost time and has created a GoFundMe page to help get his life back on track. "I do not believe in luck, I believe I was blessed," he said.
Looking at pictures of them side by side and seeing the resemblance both men share, it's impossible to say whether the culprit was Richard, Ricky or perhaps someone else entirely. What is certain is that having a "twin" who looked so similar changed Richard's life forever. Watch out for your doppelganger, you never know what they might be up to!