A US man who spent 17 years locked up for a crime he did not commit has been released from prison after researchers tracked down his lookalike.
The Evening Standard reports that Richard Anthony Jones was sentenced for a robbery in 1999 in Roeland Park, Kansas despite there being no DNA evidence or fingerprints linking him to the crime scene.
At trial, he said he was with his girlfriend and other family members in Kansas City on the day of the robbery but he was convicted after eyewitnesses claimed he was the culprit.
He was sentenced to 19 years in prison and unsuccessfully appealed his case several times.
In 2015, he told researchers from the Midwest Innocence Project – a group that helps wrong convicted prisoners – that fellow inmates had told him he looked identical to a man called Ricky, who also lived in Kansas.
The group tracked him down and discovered that he lived within 10 miles of the crime scene.
Mr Jones’s lawyers later showed eyewitnesses and the prosecutor in the original case photographs of the two men but no-one could tell them apart.
A judge ordered that Mr Jones be released and he walked free last Thursday telling the Kansas City Star: “I don’t believe in luck, I believe I was blessed.”
He said he is now getting used to life outside of prison and said he is happy to be back with his children.
A criminal case has not been brought against his double who has denied committing the crime.
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