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

Glenn E. Rice, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- 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, Kan., Walmart in 1999. He was sentenced to 19 years in a state 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 9 mm semi-automatic firearm in his possession. He also had a Smith and Wesson 9 mm 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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