Transcript for Man freed after 17 years in prison when doppelganger found
We are back with a case of mistaken identity that forced a man to spend 17 years behind bars serving time for an armed robbery he says he did not commit. He is free now after discovering another prisoner who looked exactly like him. ABC's Adrienne Bankert is here with the story. Good morning, Adrienne. Reporter: Good morning to you all. Good morning, George. Yes, they say everybody has a twin, right? To see these two men it's like looking in a mirror except they never met though they were both housed in the same prison. After years of pleading his innocence this father meeting his grandchildren for the first time on the other side of freedom finally having picture perfect proof. This morning, a man who says he was wrongfully convicted imprisoned for 17 years now free after tracking down his own doppelganger. I hoped and prayed every day for this day to come and, you know, and when it finally got here it was overwhelming feeling. Reporter: Richard Jones charged with aggravated robbery in Kansas City, Kansas, nearly 0 years ago accused of trying to steal a purse in a parking lot. Jones had an alibi. And no physical evidence, DNA or fingerprints ever linked him to the crime. Witnesses telling police the suspect was a light skinned hispanic or African-American man. Picking his photo out of this lineup of six mug shots. That eyewitness testimony landed him behind bars. Eyewitness identification is fickle. It's famously unreliable and errors are frighteningly too common. Reporter: Jones who has adamantly maintained his innocence tried unsuccessfully to appeal his conviction for 15 years. Until he teamed up with the university of Kansas law project for innocence and the midwest innocence project telling attorneys he heard there was another man in incarceration who looked just like him. Interns for the project digging deep finding these photos of another inmate at the same prison, Ricky Amos. Look at them side by side. Both men with almost identical skin tone, facial hair and cornrows. Once I seen his picture beside mine and I seen the resemblance that me and him had, I just knew, you know, that it was understandable why, you know, other people said the same thing. Reporter: On Wednesday a judge ordered him released after witnesses including the robbery victim admitted they couldn't tell the two apart. Jones seeing his look-alike who also denied any involvement in the crime for the first time at the hearing that would exonerate him. It was hard. I won't say it was easy because it wasn't but I made it through it. Reporter: Lawyers with the innocence project are not only amazed at their resemblance but have the same legal name. It's important to note the other man Ricky Amos was not found guilty and was not incarcerated at the time of the hearing. Jones is enjoying family, keeping his faith in god and wants to work with the innocence project to give freedom to others. Any chance he can be retried for in. There is a possibility but it's very, very slim. The judge in this case was impressed with the new evidence and the fact that any reasonable juror would not have chosen him in a lineup so, again, very unlikely. Adrienne, thanks very much.
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