PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Defense attorneys claim new evidence emerging in the "Freeway Shooter" case clears the main suspect in the case.
Leslie Merritt was arrested over a year ago, but after spending seven months in jail, prosecutors dropped the charges. The new evidence came to light in a court filing from Merritt's attorney. Prosecutors reportedly asked for a second, independent ballistics test that came back inconclusive.
In other words, an expert was not able to definitely link Merritt's gun to the shootings.
In question are bullet fragments found at the first four freeway shootings. DPS' crime lab tied the fragments to Merritt's gun, which led to Merritt's arrest in September 2015.
In April, a judge dismissed the charges against Merritt.
"The test-fired bullets were matched to bullet fragments from four cases, four casings over the last weekend in August," said DPS spokesperson Bart Graves.
Prosecutors then asked a second expert, Lucian Haag, to take a look. Haag's conclusion is that the markings on the bullets were inclusive. In addition, Haag reportedly requested his mentor to review the evidence. His conclusion reportedly confirmed the markings were inconclusive, but also questioned whether or not all four bullets were fired from the same gun.
During his bi-weekly news conference, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery downplayed the findings and confirmed Merritt is still the main suspect, saying the tests dud not rule out the possibility that the bullets were fired from Merritt's gun.
"That doesn't mean that the bullets are not associated with the weapon in question," said Montgomery. "And that's where the investigation stands at this point."
Merritt is reportedly still waiting for DPS to give his gun back to him. Meanwhile, he was arrested earlier in November, for allegedly violating an order of protection.