Crime

Man freed in ‘doppelganger’ innocence case is now indicted on drug and gun charges

Richard Jones free after 17 years in prison

Richard Jones speaks on his experience after being exonerated on aggravated robbery charges nearly 17 years after being arrested.
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Richard Jones speaks on his experience after being exonerated on aggravated robbery charges nearly 17 years after being arrested.

A Kansas City man released from prison in a matter of mistaken identity that became known as the “doppelganger case” has been indicted by a federal grand jury on illegal weapons and drug charges, according to prosecutors.

Richard Anthony Jones, 43, is charged in a five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury Wednesday. Jones is accused of being in possession of cocaine and methamphetamine along with firearms he legally could not have, according to the federal indictment.

The new charges threaten to convert the innocent man, awarded $1 million for his wrongful conviction, back into a convict.

Jones’ story became famous in 2017 when he was released from prison after serving 17 years for a crime he did not commit.

Jones was convicted of snatching a woman’s purse during an attack in the parking lot of a Roeland Park Walmart in 1999. He was sentenced to 19 years in a Kansas prison. His conviction was overturned when another man, who looked very much like him, was identified as the actual robber.

Jones received compensation under a new Kansas law enacted in 2018 that paid people who are wrongly imprisoned.

Now, according to the federal indictment, Jones is charged with three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of possessing a controlled substance.

Prosecutors allege Jones was found on June 14 with a Spikes Tactical 5.56 semi-automatic rifle and methamphetamine. On Feb. 25, Jones allegedly had a Glock 9mm semi-automatic firearm in his possession. He also had a Smith and Wesson 9mm semi-automatic handgun on March 5, prosecutors said.

Jones was allegedly caught with cocaine on March 5, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors said Jones had prior felony convictions for burglary of a motor vehicle, selling a controlled substance, and robbery. Those were separate from the overturned robbery conviction, and would preclude him from legally possessing firearms.

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Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.

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