GOOD

After 17 Years In Prison, An Inmate Was Freed When Authorities Found His Criminal Look-Alike

A bizarre set of circumstances led to an investigation by activists

Richard Jones, after spending 17 years wrongly incarcerated, is finally a free man after a tragic case of mistaken identity cost him everything. Two years ago, Jones, who professed his innocence even after receiving mandatory-minimum sentencing, found hope for his case after he heard from other inmates that he had a “twin” in Lansing Correctional Facility.

Jones was convicted of aggravated robbery after a purse-snatching incident by a trio of men at a Kansas Walmart left a woman with minor injuries when her cell phone was snatched. The accused maintained that he was home with his family at the time of the incident, but witness accounts identified him as a participant, leading to a conviction in the wake of numerous appeals.


When Jones learned of his unrelated look-alike, he desperately reached out to both the Midwest Innocence Project and the Project for Innocence at the University of Kansas. The groups were able to follow up on the lead, eventually identifying the look-alike as Rick Amos. Authorities believe that both the remarkably similar appearances and the similar names, Rick and Richard, led to the grave confusion.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Speaking to the Kansas City Star (via NBC News), Jones conveyed his struggle and his relief, saying, "When I saw that picture, it just made sense to me. They say you can’t see the picture clearly if you [are] in it, but if I was outside this picture, I would have seen the same thing."

Upon his release, Jones was reunited with his daughters, one of whom was an infant at the time of Jones arrest 19 years ago.

Midwest Innocence Project

As of now, the look-alike, Rick Amos, is currently incarcerated for other crimes and has not been charged with his participation in the robbery or assault. However, his resume is one of a career criminal, having been a charged and convicted of robbery, sexual assault, and possession of controlled substances. Jones had a criminal record at the time of his arrest, after charges relating to stolen steroids in 1994.

Jones feels vindicated, but also understands the confusion. "When I saw that picture, it just made sense to me. They say you can’t see the picture clearly if you [are] in it, but if I was outside this picture I would have seen the same thing,” he said.

Articles

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via ICE / Flickr

The Connors family, two coupes from the United Kingdom, one with a three-month old baby and the other with twin two-year-olds, were on vacation in Canada when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) turned their holiday into a 12-plus day-long nightmare.

On October 3, the family was driving near the U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia when an animal veered into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour.

The family accidentally crossed into the United States where they were detained by ICE officials in what would become "the scariest experience of our lives," according to a complaint filed with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

Keep Reading Show less
Travel