June 8th would be a day to remember for one Richard Anthony Jones a Kansas City Convict who was declared innocent and released after serving 17 years in prison for a crime he allegedly didn’t commit.
Jones was finally released after a two-year appeal. He was released after he presented an argument that his arrest was a case of mistaken identity after he met an inmate that had a splitting resemblance to him.
Jones was arrested as a suspect in a Roeland Park robbery that took place in 1999. Although he denied involvement and maintained he was innocent, and he even went ahead to explain on the subject date he was with the company of family his plea fell on deaf ears.
Reports indicate that there was no physical DNA or fingerprint evidence but he was tied to the scene after being identified from a line-up by eyewitnesses. Jones alerted his lawyer years later that he had met an inmate with a striking resemblance to him and coincidentally had the same names as his; the lawyer saw the possibility of Jones fighting his conviction.
The hearings began in 2015 with his attorney calling the victim and witnesses back on the stand to testify on whether they were absolutely sure it was Jones and couldn’t have been his look alike. It was evident that luck had finally smiled on Jones as the witnesses failed to make a distinction beyond a reasonable doubt. The lawyers argued that the line up in the original trial placed Jones among suspects whose appearances were way off the mark of the description of the culprit, leaving him as the only probable selection for the witnesses to point out.
Had the trial not worked in his favor Jones would have had two more years left on his sentence. His family has resorted to help him get back on his feet by creating a GoFundMe page as he warms up to a life as a free man.