Richard Jones Exonerated!

In Partnership with KU School of Law

On Thursday, June 8, 2017, Richard Jones walked out of prison a free man after spending 17 years incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. Convicted of aggravated robbery, Richard was sentenced to 19 years for aggravated assault as a result of eyewitness misidentification. Richard’s conviction was based solely on eyewitness testimony.

After losing his appeals while still in prison, Richard learned about the work of the Midwest Innocence Project, which partners with the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence at the University of Kansas School of Law. Upon investigation, attorneys learned that other inmates had told Richard he looked like a man named Ricky living in Kansas City. That man, Ricky Amos, not only matched the description witnesses gave; in 1999, he lived at the address a getaway driver had identified as the place he picked the original perpetrator up.

1999 mugshots of Ricky Amos (left) and Richard Jones (right)

While many media outlets have used current mugshots of the two men to show them as doppelgängers, they had more distinct looks at the time of the crime. When presented with mugshots from the time of the crime, the original trial witnesses all testified that Amos more closely matched the perpetrator.

Convictions like Richard’s are not uncommon. Over 70% of the DNA exonerations involved eyewitness misidentifications. One hundred percent of all Missouri DNA exonerations involved convictions secured by eyewitness testimony. Of the individuals currently waiting for MIP to investigate their case, 77% involve eyewitness identifications.

Your support provides the resources needed to investigate these cases and bring the wrongfully convicted home. With your support, you give hope to individuals like Richard that the truth will come to light.

Richard said he is eager to rejoin family and start his life anew. “When I got locked up, my kids were kids and now they’re grown,” he said. “That gives you an idea of what type of time people are doing and the type of time a person can do for a crime they didn’t commit.”

Help others like Richard rejoin their families. Make your tax deductible donation today.