DPS releases interrogation video of Les Merritt Jr
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Former I-10 freeway shooting suspect Leslie Merritt Jr., who was once public enemy #1 has maintained his innocence since the night he was arrested. We're now getting a look at his interrogation from last year. The video shows detectives trying to get Merritt to crack and confess to the shootings.
Throughout the entire 90 minute, late night interrogation Merritt kept insisting he didn't do it. Investigators kept pushing, they lied to him about having video evidence of the crimes, and even threatened his girlfriend with domestic terrorism charges.
Detective: "I have video tape from the freeway with your silver car."
Merritt: "You have video tape of me firing my gun?"
Detective: "Absolutely, absolutely."
Merritt: "BS, BS, I have not fired my gun, that's BS."
Leslie Merritt Jr. called the investigators bluff as they pressured him to admit to the freeway shootings. There never was video evidence; ADOT doesn't even record what their cameras capture.
Merritt: "The truth is I have not shot my (expletive) gun in at least two months, and that's the truth."
Detective: "Tell me a good reason why your gun would be ballistically analyzed."
Merritt: "A mixup, I have not shot my gun in two months."
Ignoring his denials investigators pressed Merritt for a confession. Telling him, they have video, scientific proof and even an admission from his own girlfriend.
Detective: "Why would your own wife tell us I think you did it?"
Investigators did interrogate Merritt's girlfriend and threatened her with a possible charge.
Detective: "Domestic terrorism charge, that's what you're looking at. If you have any knowledge."
Merritt's Girlfriend: "I don't know."
Detective: "Because you will be included."
Merritt's Girlfriend: "I don't, I swear to god I don't, I don't know what's going on."
After the interrogation, Merritt was booked into an MCSO jail where he sat for seven months. The judge dismissed his case after an independent forensic expert had said the evidence that tied Merritt to the shootings was inaccurate. DPS still believes Merritt is the freeway shooter, and prosecutors say they plan to re-file charges against Merritt in the future.