Judge allows release of Arizona freeway shooting suspect

Judge allows release of Arizona freeway shooting suspect

PHOENIX (AP) – A judge has allowed a man charged in freeway shootings that rattled Phoenix last year to be released from jail.

The judge overseeing the case against Leslie Merritt Jr. reduced his bond to zero on Tuesday and allowed him to return to his home with electronic monitoring.

It was a major victory for defense lawyers for Merritt as they insist ballistic tests cast doubt on the claim by authorities that he was behind four of the freeway shootings.

Merritt lifted up his shackled arms in celebration upon hearing the news. After the hearing, family members hugged and shook the hands of defense lawyers.

The next court hearing is May 18.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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