Man Spent 17 Years In Jail For A Crime Committed By His Doppelgänger—And Now He's Suing
Richard Jones was at a party with his friends and family on the same night that Ricky Amos, high on crack cocaine, tried to snatch a woman's purse several miles away. The year was 1999, and several witnesses got a pretty good look at Amos, describing him as a "thin, light-skinned black or Hispanic man with dark hair." A year later, Jones was arrested of aggravated robbery and, despite his alibi, sentenced to 19 years of prison on the testimony of several witnesses who were deemed more trustworthy than Jones' family.
Why were the witnesses so insistent Jones had committed the crime? Because he looked exactly like the perpetrator.
While Jones was in prison, another man was arrested and brought in: Amos. Jones began to realize something funny was going on when an inmate said to him:
Hey, you were in the cafeteria and you didn't say hello to me.
"@iamfatdon: Man, Richard Jones, Spends 17 Years In Jail Over Resemblance With Real Criminal In US. @Gidi_Traffic https://t.co/VeMxU1wOC0— GIDITRAFFIC (@GIDITRAFFIC) 1535911059.0
"It was crazy. The same facial structure, hairlines, hair, everything." Richard Jones tells the story of his wrong… https://t.co/tjDNLgAFgn— WBEZ (@WBEZ) 1535993712.0
Alice Craig, Jones's attorney who also works for the Innocence Project, "an organisation dedicated to getting innocence people out of jail," was flabbergasted when she saw a side-by-side photo of the two men:
We were just like, holy c***.
@The_MIP One can see how the jury came to the conclusion it did, despite the alibi witnesses. It’s also hard not t… https://t.co/Qac8CvlWsi— John Druva (@John Druva) 1535646670.0
Jones's case was immediately re-opened. The original witnesses of the crime were shown pictures of the two men and were unable to identify which one had committed the crime. A judge lifted Jones's conviction, freeing him in 2017, 17 years after he was wrongfully arrested.
Craig commented to the Post:
He [Jones] spent a long time in prison being pretty bitter about being convicted of a crime that he didn't commit, and he couldn't figure out why these people picked him out of a lineup.
@nzherald 1.1 seems fairly cheap for 17 yrs??? $64k a year??— cnsmechanic (@cnsmechanic) 1535691147.0
In return for the innumerable life events Jones was deprived of, including the youths of his two children and the births of his grandchildren, he is suing the Kansas City police department for "$65k for every year he was incarcerated wrongfully."
@nzherald And he should get it. Maybe that way we'll make better judicial decisions?— Julian Terris ƸӜƷ ™ 🎼♌🇳🇿☮️❤️ (@Julian Terris ƸӜƷ ™ 🎼♌🇳🇿☮️❤️) 1535694980.0
@NYTNational @nytimes Only $65,000 a year for stealing a man’s life. Should be more plus funds for adult daughters… https://t.co/tT5pyrOkuQ— RachelGoodstein (@RachelGoodstein) 1535700494.0
Though he couldn't be prosecuted anyway due to the statute of limitations, Amos denies any involvement in the crime.
H/T - Indy 100, The Washington Post
Sometimes the most outlandish ideas sound totally plausible.
In this day and age when 'Saturday Night Live' and 'The Onion' sound like credible news sources, anything is possible.
It feels like a lot of humans will believe literally anything.
Redditor Jeffery_DahmerTV wanted to discuss the ideas that sound too crazy that they have to be true, so they asked:
"What is the most believable conspiracy Theory?"
In this day and age of alternative facts, it all seems like lies and truth.
InfectionSick Computer Virus GIF by Achievement HunterGiphy
"That computer viruses are made by antivirus companies to test their antivirus software."
"Parents bought a new computer recently, the McAfee stuff was in there pretty deep to remove. The staff bogged it down, way faster afterward."
"We are being goaded into waging culture wars that don't matter to keep us from waging class wars."
"Is this a conspiracy theory though? It would be if you assume it was engineered from the start, but this would also make it very unbelievable. But that existing conflicts had been fueled and taken advantage of by people in the position to for millennia is well evident I'd say."
"Mattress Firm is a front for laundering money. There is no other reason for there to be so many. No one is ever even in there."
"Double down on this one! I have a Mattress Firm next to my job and I have never seen anyone in there ever. It’s been six years!"
"I’m not convinced of this. Our local Mattress Firm is clearly baking $1k+ into their margins and then aggressively selling credit-based financing. Selling two or three a month probably covers everything."
Weather IssuesClimate Change Earth GIFGiphy
"Those climate protestors that glue themselves to the road are hired by oil giants to make climate activists look stupid."
"I feel this way about a lot of 'extremist' groups on both sides, that there are plants from the other side doing really stupid stuff just to discredit the idea."
The climate is changing. We have to come together. How is that a conspiracy?
That's AllMeryl Streep Pursed Lips GIF by 20th Century Fox Home EntertainmentGiphy
"That the fashion industry purposefully doesn’t put pockets in women’s clothing so they have to carry purses."
Financial Clean Up
"That the only reason that the US government doesn’t do anything with student debt loans is because then people would stop signing up for the army."
"That and healthcare.
"When you join up you get healthcare fully covered for you and your family, and you can get a full college education.
If the government started providing either of those for civilians, no one would need to join the military anymore."
"I think so too. I know and agree with what that dude was saying but when I see or hear people use 'Army' as a way to generalize the military, it usually means that what they said is something they’re just repeating what they heard."
"There's definitely more to JFK's assassination than the Warren commission made it out to be. Whether or not LHO was the sole killer, I find it fishy that the CIA was so desperate to hide information from the public."
"There is a very well-done documentary that concludes it was an accidental discharge from a Secret Service agent in one of the cars ahead of him."
"CIA probably considered the assassination a declaration of war against Russia. They’re probably covering up that they were about to start WW3 over it."
"The Great cheese conspiracy. Each year the US government buys more and more milk to make more and more cheese. The US government is sitting on something like 2 billion pounds of cheese. Just to artificially inflate milk prices."
"Not even a conspiracy, just an example of the government controlling the economy in favor of dairy farmers."
"I watched a documentary about this. It's actually true."
They're Listeninggovernment agent GIF by South Park Giphy
"That the CIA posts questions like this on Reddit to measure their past and current work, brainstorm for future projects."
"I have a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories. I believe the governments and 'leaders' of the world are actually rather incompetent, so much so, that they require the illusion of them being an ominous all-powerful all-seeing entity in order to remain in power."
"And to accomplish this they allow conspiracy theories like the Illuminati and etc to spread around to add a bit of urban myth to how 'powerful' they are."
"It's probably all a bunch of garbage Europe can barely communicate within itself you expect there to be some secret global order??? Oh, stop it haha."
Sifting through what could and could not be true, could take forever.
Life is full of mystery.
When we were in our early twenties, most of us felt like we were officially adults, untouchable, and essentially unstoppable.
But looking back, most of us made some pretty cringy decisions when we were that age.
Redditor ALLEYWAYwithanS asked:
"What's the dumbest thing you've done in your twenties?"
"Decided against contributing to my company's matching 401k. It cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars."
"This can't be stressed enough. If your company is matching 401k contributions, the single best thing you can do is contribute up to their match. That is an instant 100% return on your investment."
"Social Security benefits will not be enough for you to retire comfortably, and when you're over 50 it gets real tough to find work that pays more than minimum wage. Make saving a priority now. The sooner the better, because it is a cruel world for unprepared retirees."
"Everyone wants to hear about dumb stuff like driving eight hours to get with someone you liked only for it to end up being a booty call."
"However, I personally think it was my general lack of effort to build any good habits like exercise. Your body likes routines, and my routine of gaming for 15 hours a day was not one I should have cultivated."
"This is such an important one! I'm 25 and have wasted the last eight years of my life being a typical Asian young adult, focusing solely on education and career instead of doing more to take care of my fitness and mental well-being."
"My culture brainwashed me into thinking of it as a good thing to sit at my desk and study for six hours straight instead of building a good habit of eating a balanced meal and exercising every day. I'm paying for that mistake now."
"Not looking after my teeth."
"Second best time is now! Start taking care of them and get into the dentist, a dental school even for free cleaning and check-ups."
"I'm still playing catchup. I let my teeth go in college and didn't get them looked at until after I finished AIT in 2020. I had them in a good spot for a while, deployment in 2022 f**ked them up again though. It's so godd**n hard to fix your teeth once they're on the downward slide."
"I have weak teeth, too. That's not a reason to give up, it's just a reason to absolutely lock down your routine. You'll save yourself a lot of time, money, and pain!"
"Here's what I do:"
"I only eat two times per day (intermittent fasting is not for everyone but it's great for limiting acid exposure on your teeth). And don't drink anything sugary. If you have to, do it while you're eating and not between meals."
"Swish with water and/or mouthwash immediately after meals/drinks."
"Wait 30 minutes before brushing. Your enamel is softest directly after eating so brushing too soon can be harmful."
"Get really good toothpaste with fluoride or hydroxyapatite for remineralization. Your dentist can give you a prescription high-fluoride toothpaste."
"Do your brushing routine in this order: floss, then mouthwash, then brush. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and don't scrub too hard. Don't rinse after brushing so the fluoride can stay on your teeth and do its work."
"Get a tongue scraper and do that once in a while too."
"If you're away from home (work, friend's house, driving, etc) and don't have a toothbrush, xylitol gum is great for a quick cleaning and breath freshening. Xylitol helps kill plaque-causing bacteria because they think it's sugar."
"Might seem like a lot but it's worth it! My mouth always feels clean and I get compliments from hygienists."
"I worked way too hard and burnt out. Sacrificed family time. Sacrificed health. Need to pace yourself at the age of 20-30."
"This is me right now. 29 and totally burned out. I refused to pace myself even with my chronic illness, I refused to address my traumas because 'I am a functional member of society so why would I seek a therapist,' and I refused to say no to things because I was afraid people would dislike me."
"Last year, I slowly started collapsing under all that. Things I repressed wouldn't stay repressed and because of nightmares, I had constant panic attacks when I got home from work and eventually bordered on agoraphobia where I would try and flee the grocery store because 'everyone can see you are feeling unwell and is judging you' and started making excuses to work from home because the office would overwhelm me."
"I really wish I started addressing stuff sooner. I tire so easily now and am constantly anxious about not being productive enough now that I'm at home. Which is super counterproductive when your body is saying, 'Yo, slow down. Please go find a nice hobby and relax.'"
"Begged to be loved."
"I’m still in my early twenties and I feel like this is what I’ve been doing. The worst part is that other people are good at detecting desperation so they move away from you, which just hurts more."
"I moved in with a girlfriend before finding out more about her preferences. We had been dating for a year but I didn’t realize how much of a problem she had sharing until we lived together."
"We lived together for five years and never shared a bedroom, had everything split down the middle, including the pantry and fridge. Even when it came to spices, she insisted on me getting my own. She hated it when I would be in the same room as her unless it was on 'her terms.'"
"Whenever I asked to make our relationship more of a shared experience, I was gaslit into believing I was wrong for not allowing boundaries. She moved out a month ago, and I couldn’t believe how quickly my mental health improved simply by not having that toxic influence around anymore."
"Fell into a debilitating drug addiction. I have 26 months sober on the fifth!"
"I took a $12k loan to buy a motorcycle. I didn’t want to pay for comprehensive insurance, and the bike got stolen four months later."
Mental Health Assistance
"Not getting help for my depression sooner. Spent the entire first half of my 20s in the darkest place I can imagine, and all I needed to feel better was some meds once a day."
"I got into a half-hearted relationship and wasted three years of my life."
Receiving an Education
"Not studying properly."
"At the time, studying for two to seven years seemed like a lifetime, but now at 30, I wish I had done it. Don't have the money or flexibility to do it now."
"I drank my way through my entire 20s. After 25, it wasn't really fun anymore, but that didn't stop me. I drank for another five years."
"My 20s are a total blur splattered with some fun times here and there. But mostly it was just me running away from things with alcohol."
"Almost 17 years later and not one drop. My 30s and 40s are exceptionally better."
"I crashed a golf cart at 29. I was so f**ked up with road rash, both ankles were rolled and f**ked up, and one Achilles was messed up pretty bad."
"It took two years for one ankle to feel normal again. I still have a bunch of scarring. I have never f**ked myself up so badly before. The road rash and treating it all over my body was one of the most painful things I’ve ever dealt with."
"I am so careful in those things now and honestly just everything in general. I'm lucky I didn’t hit my head."
"I went to Italy and forgot to eat pizza."
"I still can't believe that happened. I had pasta there, gelato, took some amazing photos, explored a lot, and when I came back, I was like, I missed something?"
"Then I was like, 'F**K! I forgot to eat pizza, IN ITALY!' LOL (laughing out loud)."
An Unexpected Life
"I remember when I was that age and desperately wanting the kind of job you work for the same place your whole life. Instead, I was in a dead-end job, working the third shift, going to school, and worrying constantly about what I was going to do with my life. I was lost and without any real direction."
"20-some years later, I still don’t have many traditional accomplishments. I’m a stay-at-home dad, and I was diagnosed with Crohn's at 21/22, so that ended school."
"All the things I thought I’d need to get through life, I don’t have."
"What I DO have is a wide array of experiences. I’ve worked in retail for decades, childcare/teaching/mentoring/etc., had kids for almost as long, worked on a shrimp boat, and tree farms, I’ve seen and been around every state except for Alaska."
" I know a ton of people and I’m generally on good terms with them, I’m healthy enough to exercise every day, I have a loving family, and all our basic needs are met. I’m still directionless but I’m no longer lost."
"Anyone else out there feeing like I did, just do the best you can with what you’ve got. Never stop trying to be better, and if you need to, just point in a direction and go that way."
"If you need a degree but you don’t know what you want, just pick something you think you’ll like. Some jobs that need a college degree mean they need someone with a Bachelor's degree."
When we think of mistakes made in our twenties, we might think of dating mishaps and drinking or partying too much.
But the reality is that the mistakes made in our twenties are far more serious, like creating routines that help us take care of ourselves or completing tasks that will help us reach our dreams.
Fortunately, we're young in our twenties, and we have a lot of time to come back from those mistakes.
It's also never too late to commit to doing better right now.
Time and time again, people spreading lies about others for no reason has demonstrated the lack of humanity in our gossip-obsessed society.
People have nothing better to do other than to bring down others out of spite.
What's even more disappointing is that some of us have at one point played a part in perpetuating these rumors without even knowing it.
And other times, we are the subject of a rumor, and that's never fun.
Curious to hear examples of the situation, Redditor PieNo17 asked:
"What’s the worst rumor you ever heard about yourself?"
Kids can be so cruel.
Introduction To Antisemitism
"I was bullied in elementary school for being Jewish. I very much am not Jewish. Apparently there was a rumor going around school that I was a 'Jew boy.' I was utterly confused and didn’t understand why being Jewish would even be something to be bullied about."
"Ah, I used to get bullied for being Asian....I am not Asian. Turns out it was a rumor started by a kid who was actually half Asian. I think he just didn't want to be the only Asian kid at school."
Seeking Pleasure At The Buffet
"When I was in sixth grade our whole grade (~100) was on a field trip out of town. We stopped at an Old Country Buffet to eat. I had to poop while we were there, and another kid in my grade was peeking through the stall at me while I was on the toilet. He then yelled that I was pleasuring myself in the stall. This turned into everyone talking about it outside of the bathroom, and now I was the kid who m*sturbated in an Old Country Buffet."
"When I was a kid, I was in the (for lack of a better term) special ed program at school due to a muscular condition that affected my fine motor skills, which meant I got bullied mercilessly. Determined to change my rep, I worked ridiculously hard to improve my skills so I no longer needed that program in middle school. Somehow, a rumor got started that I'd been kicked out of that program because I'd tried to kill the teacher, and that became the rumor that defined me until the day I graduated high school."
These Redditors' friends thought they'd seen a ghost.
"I had a car wreck on a country road. Black Cow and calf in the road, and I hit both of them. My mother called into school the next day but pretty much just told them I was in a wreck and nothing else. Word got around that I was dead in a car wreck."
"Showed up at school 2 days later because car wrecks hurt and a couple of buddies actually cried when I showed up saying they thought I was dead."
"Once, at work, we came across the obituary of a former coworker. Due to the long hours we were working on this project none of us managed to go to the wake or funeral, but we sent flowers. Months later the dude turned up on another job site, very much alive. Apparently this dude that died was totally unrelated, had the same name and was also an industrial painter… we sent flowers, that must have been confusing for his family."
"Similar story happened to me. Had severe covid at the very beginning of the pandemic. Was out of work for 6 months. Someone with my exact name and in the same town passed away my coworkers thought it was me. Some people didn't even know i was alive until I was back to work for three months"
The Friendship Test
"That I had died. I woke up one morning to find about 50 messages on my phone and dozens of missed calls (my phone was on silent). It was my ex girlfriend of all people who I spoke with first as she was freaking out because (as it turns out) someone with my name had died. It got lost in translation and next thing you know a lot of my out of state friends thought it was me. It was nice to know they cared so much."
Rumors about crushes, love and relationships seem to be a commonality.
"My friend introduced me to a girl at his high school and we were into each other. She was having some friends over for a sleepover and took the opportunity to invite me over, cuddle and make out while everyone else was asleep. The next morning we groggily hung out for a bit and made plans to hang out again soon. I’ll never forget how she hugged me and kissed me before I left. I ran into our mutual friend while walking home and I told him where I’d been. I didn’t know that he had a crush on her and he was pissed. By the time I got home, she had blocked and deleted me. I found out later from another friend that our mutual 'friend' had told her that I had an STD and only wanted to use her for sex."
"Hey, this same thing happened to me! I moved around a lot as a kid and ended up in the same place for 7th to 12th grade. The first few people I met were some kids in the neighborhood, 1 girl and 1 guy. They weren't mutual friends, but I became good friends with both of them and ended up introducing them to each other. The girl and I would stay up late texting on old flip phones and sneak out with each other over the summer. Then, almost out of nowhere, she just stopped talking to me. Turns out the guy developed a crushed and spent literal weeks trying to convince her that all I wanted was sex. Luckily, I was able to find out and defend myself, but unluckily, I found out later that he did that with many, many people. He probably ended up ruining at least 30 friendships with people throughout my time in high school."
A Bad Romance
"i think the only rumor that i ever really heard back in highschool was that i communed with satan. and when a few people asked, i just went with it. i was just like ya, satan and i talked last night, hes doing well. we have dinner plans for the weekend. just stupid stuff like that."
We never know how the rumor mill picks some of these out and seemingly distributes them to everyone in our community, no matter how big or small or far away. But we're glad these Redditors were willing to share!
It's a teacher's job to leave a lasting impression and set a good example for their students.
With this in mind, particularly in this age of viral videos and social media, teachers have to be very careful of what they say during class hours.
Even so, there are very few teachers who haven't said something they've regretted when teaching a class.
Sometimes to control unruly students, other times when they've simply had enough.
Then too, sometimes teachers leave their students baffled and perplexed by what they say in their classroom, well aware of what they were saying.
Always making for a memorable story.
"What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever heard teacher say in class?"
And Anyone With Such Closed Minded Views Shouldn't Be Teaching...
"Had the Head of the Department in college claim in class that anyone who actually needs accommodations for mental health issues should not be in college to begin with."
"This was while we were discussing 'Death of a Salesman' and the discussion had veered over to unhealthy pressure and social standards for success."- RavensQueen502
"My very well-respected Biology teacher in college spent almost an entire lecture telling us that Jamie Lee Curtis was a hermaphrodite."
"It seemed oddly personal to him."- Urbane_Cowboy
Sad On So Many Levels
"Not heard but my freshmen year high school teacher once pulled a bottle of Jack out of his desk and took a shot during class."
"He was dying so towards the end I think he just stopped caring."- Mangothefello
Can't Take The Heat, Then Stay Out Of The Classroom...
"High school science teacher told my class that a kilometre was longer than a mile."
"Refused to budge when refuted and kicked out several students for doing so."- SupersonicDebris13
"5th grade teacher: 'Mount Whitney in California is the tallest mountain in the world'."
"5th grade me blurts out: 'No it isn't, Mount Everest is."
"Whitney is not even the tallest mountain in the USA, which is Mount McKinley in Alaska'."
"I got in trouble for 'contradicting the teacher'."- gtmattzget out GIFGiphy
It's Not Just Students Who Are Bullies...
"I had a teacher ridicule a fat kid about his lunch choices in front of the whole class."
"He ran out crying as she was making fat guy blimp gestures and telling him he was going to be huge as an adult."- SnooOwls5859
Some Dramatic License It Seems...
"I had a literature teacher who told the class that he didn't believe in dinosaurs, because the universe is only a couple thousand years old."
"The bones were put there by Satan."
"Thank f*ck he wasn't a science or history teacher."- AllBadAnswersof montreal dancing GIF by Polyvinyl RecordsGiphy
Everyone Deserves Nice Acomodations...
"My English teacher told us that he genuinely believes that the Rothchilds own a hotel for aliens in the Bermuda triangle."- TroyLear77
"We had this kid in our 6th-grade class."
"Very dark skinned kid from Africa."
"His name was Tajak."
"Every now and then when we'd line up to go to another class or lunch and the lights would go out some of his friends would go 'where Tajak at?'"
"Anyway one day we had a sub and we we're lining up for lunch, the lights went out and there went the 'where Tajak at?' and the SUBSTITUTE TEACHER who was also black went 'Boy you darker than night'."
"6th grade was f*cking wild."- 11221mikew
"Psych teacher in high school told us that 1 in 10 of the people were friends with in high school would be dead within 5 years of graduating."
"At the time I thought it was hyperbole, but it turns out he was being conservative."
"3 of the people in my high school friend group were dead by the time I was 22."- Reddit
Do They Really Need A Reason?
"'Now girls, don't you let them boys touch your breasts'."
"'It'll give you cancer'."- jondru
Maybe Should Have Checked With The Geography Teacher?
"A teacher in Elementary school claimed during history class that the Colosseum was in Greece, as an Italian kid I was very confused, this was in Mexico."- Spascucci
So Much For Instilling Hope...
"Didn't hear this personally, but read in a book about a guy who recalled his teacher skipping chapters in a textbook and saying 'You will not need to know this when you are down in the mines'."- futanari_kaisa
The mark of a good teacher is that students will take everything they hear from them with them for the rest of their lives.
Though, the less-than-wonderful teachers may also say things their students will never forget.