Innocent man freed after doppelganger found

Richard Jones, right, with his inmate doppelganger, left.
Richard Jones, right, with his inmate doppelganger, left. Photo credit: Kansas Department of Corrections

A man jailed 17 years for a crime he didn't commit has been freed after authorities realised he had a criminal doppelganger.

Not only did Richard Anthony Jones share his face and hairstyle with the lookalike, they also had the same first name, the Kansas City Star reported.

Mr Jones was jailed in 1999 for aggravated robbery. Mr Jones' fingerprints and DNA were not found at the scene of the crime, but his face was picked out of a police database by a witness.

While in prison, Mr Jones was repeatedly told by other inmates he looked just like another inmate. After years of insisting he was innocent, his case reached the Midwest Innocence Project.

They found not only did he look remarkably like the other prisoner, his doppelganger had been living not far from where the robbery took place.

Witnesses to the crime, including the victim, were shown photographs of the two men and all said they could not be sure which of them did it.

"Everybody has a doppelganger," Mr Jones' attorney Alice Craig said.

"Luckily we found his."

Two inmates - one innocent
Richard Jones, right, with the other inmate, left. Photo credit: Kansas Department of Corrections

The judge didn't say Mr Jones' doppelganger definitely did the robbery, but there was now enough doubt that no jury would have convicted Mr Jones.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help Mr Jones get back on his feet as a free man.

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