- Richard Anthony Jones is receiving a $US1.1 million settlement over a wrongful conviction in which he spent 17 years in jail.
- Jones was convicted of a 1999 robbery, despite there being no physical evidence that put him at the scene and him having a solid alibi.
- Jones was released last year with the help from the Project for Innocence at the University of Kansas, who found his doppelgänger, Ricky Amos.
- A judge ordered Jones be released after witnesses of the robbery could not tell Amos and Jones apart in their booking photos.
A Kansas man is receiving a $US1.1 million settlement from the state after spending 17 years in prison for a robbery he says was committed by someone who looks just like him.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said on Tuesday that a settlement had been made with Richard Anthony Jones, who was imprisoned in 2000 for an aggravated robbery, according to ABC News.
He was convicted of robbing a woman in a Walmart parking lot in 1999 despite having a solid alibi and there being no physical evidence linking him to the scene.
Jones was released from prison last year after a team from the Project for Innocence at the University of Kansas found his doppelgänger, Ricky Amos, who they suspected of committing the crime, though a statute of limitations bars him from being prosecuted.
Amos has denied any involvement in the robbery and was recently released from prison for other crimes.
In the initial court case, witness testimony placed Jones at the scene of the Walmart parking lot robbery in Roeland Park, Kansas.
During the robbery, a man attempted to steal a woman’s purse, but the woman fought back and the man only made off with her mobile phone. The woman fell and scraped her knees in the ordeal, which turned the phone theft into an aggravated robbery.
Jones always maintained his innocence and said at the time of the robbery he was at a birthday party where he was seen by several people.
Eyewitnesses in the parking lot identified the robber as a “light-skinned Hispanic or African-American man” named Rick who had “long hair pulled back,” according to CNN.
Amos and Jones are close in age, have similar skin tones, facial hair, and cornrows.
A judge ordered Jones be released after witnesses of the robbery, including the victim, could not tell Amos and Jones apart in their booking photos.
Earlier this year, Jones filed a petition asking the state to pay him $US1.1 million and proclaim his innocence.
Jones’ lawsuit is the first under a new state law in Kansas that provides compensation to people who have been wrongly imprisoned.
Schmidt released a statement saying his office is “faithfully administering the new mistaken-conviction statute the legislature enacted.”
“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,” he said.
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