Witness in freeway shooting case backs away from alibi claim

- Attorneys for the suspected freeway shooter want the case to go back to the grand jury, alleging the Department of Public Safety hid evidence from grand jurors the first time and lied to a witness so she would change her story.

The freeway shooting spree began in late August 2015 and went into September. Most of the attacks took place along a stretch of Interstate 10 between 32nd Street and 83rd Avenue.

Arrested and charged with the first four shootings was Leslie Merritt, Jr.  Authorities linked him to the shooting by matching bullets from a gun he allegedly sold to a local pawn shop.

On December 7th, attorneys for Merritt filed a motion to get the case sent back to the grand jury.  They claim the Phoenix area was in such a state of panic over the shootings that police had to make an arrest.  And to make that arrest stick, they claim DPS officers verbally sold prosecutors that the case was solid -- never mentioning evidence that might clear Merritt, including cell phone video evidence showing Merritt was miles awy from the shooting scenes.

What's more is that the motion alleges DPS detectives lied to Merritt's girlfriend.  Court records show she provided Merritt with an alibi, but after investigators told her they had video of Merritt at the scene of one of the shootings, she changed her story.

Merritt's attorneys point out there is no such video.  Freeway cameras are not recorded.

They also allege Merritt's girlfriend was threatened with a domestic terrorism charge if she didn't change her story.

Neither side will talk on camera because of a Superior Court gag order, but in Monday's filing, attorneys for Merritt claim after the arrest, pressure to make the charges stick grew exponentially, especially after Governor Doug Ducey tweeted, "We got him!"


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