Richard Anthony Jones spent 17 in prison in Kansas for a robbery he swore he didn't commit. So when fellow prisoners told Jones that there was another prisoner who looked exactly like him (and also shared the same first name), he passed the information on to his lawyers, the Kansas City Star reports.
About two years prior to his release, Jones had contacted the Midwest Innocence Project and the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project at the University of Kansas. That's when attorney Alice Craig got involved. After a bit of digging, his lawyers found his doppelganger, according to the Kansas City Star. On top of the fact that the man looked almost identical to Jones, his lawyers found out that the other guy lived near the area of the crime.
Jones' attorney, Alice Craig, told the Star, “We were floored by how much they looked alike."
At a hearing in Johnson County District Court on Wednesday, the victim, two witnesses, and the prosecutor in Jones' case all testified that, after seeing the pictures of the two men together, they couldn't say with any confidence that it was Jones who committed the robbery. Based on the new findings, Judge Kevin Moriarty ordered that Jones be released.
Craig explained to the Star that while Jones was angry about being in prison for a crime he didn't commit (which is, you know, pretty understandable), when he saw the picture of the other man, he realized just how easy it was for the witnesses to to have confused the two men.
Craig told the Star, “Everybody has a doppelganger. Luckily we found his.” But Jones isn't chalking it up to luck—in a video interview, he told the paper, "I don't believe in luck, I believe I was blessed."
A GoFundMe has been set up for Jones, in an effort to raise money to help him while he gets back on his feet.