CNN reports that a man who served time for a crime he didn’t commit is seeking $1.1 million in damages. Richard Anthony Jones was released from Kansas prison last year after serving 17 years and is asking the state to proclaim his innocence and pay him restitution.
Jones was wrongfully convicted of a 1999 aggravated robbery of a woman in a Walmart parking lot, even though he had an irrefutable alibi. He was at a birthday party where several people saw him at the time of the crime. However, he looked very much like the actual perpetrator who later became the suspect.
During the robbery, the victim tried to fight back and hold her purse, but the robber took her phone. The crime was classified as aggravated robbery because the victim fell and scraped her knees.
Eyewitnesses to the crime identified the suspect as a light-skinned Hispanic or African-American man with long hair that was pulled back. The license number of the vehicle used by the suspect was also written down by witnesses. Officers followed the number to an address where Rick Amos, the real suspect, lived. However, the witnesses and victim ID’d Jones as the suspect.
Jones had a prior record and was convicted and sentenced to 19 years in prison. He also lost his first appeal before contacting the Midwest Innocence Project for help. When those lawyers tracked down Ricky Lee Amos and showed his photo to the same witnesses, they could not discern whether Jones or Amos was the suspect. Jones’ conviction was eventually overturned on June 8, 2017.
Since the statue of limitations has passed, Amos cannot be prosecuted for the original crime.
*Photo credit Kansas Department of Corrections