Judge rules DPS can keep former Phoenix freeway shooting suspect's gun as evidence

It's been several months since the man accused of being the Phoenix freeway shooter was released from jail, but on Thursday, lawyers for Leslie Merritt Jr. were back in court, asking for his gun back.

Charges against Merritt were dropped in April, but belongings, including his gun and car, are still being held by the Arizona Department of Public Safety as evidence in the case.

DPS and prosecutors say they're holding onto his belongings because investigators are still looking for more evidence, which could lead to charges being re-filed against Merritt.

Merritt was accused of the valley shootings that took place along Interstate 10 between August 29 and September 10 last year. No one was killed in the shootings and Merritt was arrested in mid-September.

Merritt immediately maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to charges. DPS said he was forensically linked to four of the shootings, but that evidence came into question and a judge reduced Merritt's bond from $1 million to zero, which allowed him to go free.

Soon after, the charges were dismissed.

DPS says when they determined there is no case, Merritt's belongings will be returned.

On Thursday afternoon, Judge Granville ruled that DPS can keep Merritt's gun as evidence.