OLATHE, Kan. (AP)– A Missouri man who spent nearly 17 years in jail for a 1999 burglary was released after supporters discovered another male who looked enough like him that the victim and other witnesses said they could not make certain who committed the criminal activity.
Richard Anthony Jones, of Kansas City, Missouri, always maintained he didn’t dedicate the robbery and 2 years ago asked two companies that promote for inmates for help proving his innocence.
Legal representatives for the Midwest Innocence Task and the Paul E. Wilson Protector Job at the University of Kansas used up his cause. At a hearing Wednesday in Johnson County District Court, they provided the other guy and argued for Jones’ liberty. After the victim and witnesses withdrew their recognition of Jones, Johnson County District Judge Kevin Moriarty ordered Jones’ release, The Kansas City Star reported. Jones was launched Thursday.
“We were floored by what does it cost? they looked alike,” stated Jones’ lawyer, Alice Craig.
While not saying the other man dedicated the criminal activity, Moriarty found that based on the new evidence, no affordable juror would have convicted Jones.
The other man, known as “Ricky,” testified at the hearing that he did not commit the robbery.
During their investigation, Jones’ supporters found proof that the other guy resided in Kansas City, Kansas, near where the break-in occurred at a Walmart in Roeland Park. No DNA, finger print or other physical proof linked Jones to the criminal activity but he was convicted of worsened break-in based on eyewitness testament.
Private investigators concentrated on Jones after his picture was chosen of a cops database 3 months after the crime by a man who confessed he was on drugs throughout his only encounter with Jones, according to court files filed by the defense.
Jones’ legal representatives argued the lineup of photos shown to the victim and other witnesses was “extremely suggestive,” with Jones’ photo the only one of six photos that looked like the description of the burglary suspect.
After the innocence project lawyers showed the photos of the two guys to the victim, two witnesses and the prosecutor in Jones’ case, all four said they could not tell the two males apart.
At trial, Jones testified that he was with his girlfriend and other family members in Kansas City on the day of the robbery. He was sentenced to more than 19 years in jail and unsuccessfully appealed the conviction and sentence.
Craig said Jones was bitter and angry throughout his incarceration but when he saw the picture of the other male, he comprehended how quickly the witnesses could have been misinterpreted.
“Everybody has a doppelganger,” Craig said. “Fortunately we found his.”
Details from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com