PHOENIX (KSAZ) - All charges have been dismissed against the man accused of committing several shootings along valley freeways last year.
Judge Warren Granville has issued the following ruling in State v Leslie Merritt Jr - IT IS ORDERED dismissing this case w/out prejudice.— MC Superior Court (@courtpio) April 25, 2016
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if the Defense is seeking a dismissal of this action with prejudice, it shall file a written motion. (more)— MC Superior Court (@courtpio) April 25, 2016
(Cont.) If such a motion is filed, this Court will afford the State an opportunity to respond and then set further hearings as warranted.— MC Superior Court (@courtpio) April 25, 2016
Before the state's official ruling was announced, Leslie Merritt Jr.'s attorney announced via his Twitter account that all charges were formally dismissed.
Leslie Merrit Jr. was arrested in September of 2015 by DPS troopers who say he had committed four of 11 shootings. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey tweeted "We got him!" minutes after being released.
BREAKING: We got him! DPS SWAT team is in custody of the individual suspected of I-10 shootings. Apprehended moments ago.— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) September 19, 2015
The Governor's office issued a statement Friday saying "The issue is working through the criminal justice system, where it remains under investigation by state and county authorities."
Merritt who was 21 at the time of his arrest denied he was responsible saying "I'm the wrong guy."
Leslie Merritt Sr., the father of the suspect, said that the family feels vindicated.
"The fact that they are dismissing with or without prejudice means they cannot make their case, and it's a bad thing," said Attorney Joel Robbins.
Robbins is not involved in the case, but says the filing means prosecutors do not have the evidence to back the charges, but it does mean they could re-file the charges with new evidence.
At the time of his initial appearance a judge set his bond at $1 million, in November that number dropped to $150,000.
Merritt's attorneys argued that ballistic evidence showed no match to the shootings and this past week a judge set his bond to $0 and Merritt walked out of a Maricopa County jail.
On April 22nd, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office filed a motion to dismiss charges against Merritt without prejudice. This means that the Maricopa County attorney could bring the case up again in the future.
Merritt has already filed a $10 million notice of claim against the state and prosecutors for false imprisonment.
"I can't tell you what his chances are, it's difficult to sue a prosecutor, but whatever his chances were, they are better today," said Robbins.