Evidence unsealed in freeway shooter case
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Documentation from the freeway shooting case has been unsealed. Leslie Merritt Jr. was arrested and accused of the shootings, but the charges were eventually dismissed.
Defense attorney's released two motions that were previously sealed, they detail the opinions from a ballistics and tire expert, and reveal photos of the evidence in the case.
The bullets recovered from the victims' vehicles were at the center of the case against Merritt. They are damaged and deformed because of the impacts. Investigators also seized Merritt's C9 Hi-Point Pistol. This is what the ballistic experts had to work with. A DPS forensics analyst conducted tests on the evidence and concluded that the bullets were fired from Merritt's gun. A second analyst Lucien Haag conducted another round of tests with the same evidence.
Analysts examined the striations or markings on the test-fired bullets. They compared them to the striations on the evidence bullets.
Haag concluded that the four bullets could neither be excluded or identified as having been fired from Merritt's gun and went on to say the DPS analyst's reports were insufficient to constitute an identification.
The newly unsealed evidence also includes a report from a tire expert, who examined the tire of a BMW, who had been shot. The driver reported the shooting happened on August 30; that's when he said his tire pressure warning light came on.
Merritt's gun was in the pawn shop on August 30. Investigators concluded that the shooting happened at an earlier date, and the tire pressure system light came on days later because it was a run flat tire. The expert concluded the car's warning light would have come on within one second of the bullet hitting the tire.
Defense attorneys are expected to release more previously sealed evidence in the next two weeks.