Valley freeway shootings suspect pleads not guilty
Posted: Oct 01 2015 04:55AM MST
Updated: Oct 01 2015 05:21PM MST
PHOENIX (KSAZ) -
He is accused of terrorizing drivers in the valley; now he pleaded not guilty in court.
21-year-old Leslie Allen Merritt Junior is facing 15 felony counts including aggravated assault and carrying out a drive-by shooting.
And now his attorneys claim they know of someone else, who has admitted to the freeway shootings.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety says they have forensic evidence that links Leslie Merritt Jr. to 4 of the 11 freeway shootings, but Merritt's attorneys say he didn't do it. He also said that they're investigating another potential suspect.
"We will waive readings and enter a not guilty plea on all counts," said the attorney for Merritt Junior.
Within the last week, two private attorneys have taken on the case to defend Merritt. Unlike the first time Merritt was in court he barely said anything, instead his attorneys did the talking for him.
Jason Lamm said Merritt is not only innocent, but his investigators have gotten several leads that point to another person as the freeway shooter.
"One of those leads includes info about someone else who has claimed responsibility for at least some of the activity with which our client has charged, this is a product of our own independent investigation, it's a lead we're going to run down just like law enforcement would," said Jason Lamm.
Lamm would not give any details on who this other suspect may be. Meanwhile, the Maricopa County Attorney believes Merritt is "most responsible" for the shootings. DPS says forensic tests link the bullets found in the victim vehicles to Merritt's gun.
"Merely because a gun was involved doesn't tell you who was holding the gun, or doing the shooting," said Lamm.
He also went on to criticize Governor Ducey's "We Got Him" tweet, sent out the night Merritt was arrested.
"His tweet points out people are very quick to rush to judgement, and what we want to see that this case is tried on facts, and evidence. Not on fear, or emotion, or paranoia," said Lamm.
DPS says they are not commenting at this time, in response to claims of a possible new shooting suspect. Merritt remains in jail on a 1 million dollar bond. If convicted he could face up to 100 years in prison.