Jesus Meraz released after 10 years in jail
Jan 12, 2016 12:33 AM EST
Monday, January 4, 2016, Jesus Meraz was released from Clark County after spending 10 years in jail for a crime that he didn't commit. Meraz, 38, was first locked up on murder charges in October 2005.
It was 10 years ago when people from a convenience store in North Las Vegas heard gun fires, leaving a 19-year-old victim dead, this was according to the prosecution's star witness Karla Barboza and another teen who was shot in the leg. Both were deported back to Mexico after the first trial and is impossible to track down up to this moment.
Karla Barboza testified that Meraz fired four shots shortly after midnight on Oct. 8, 2005, killing Jonathan Moza-Daza and injuring his 15-year-old girlfriend. She noted Meraz's distinct appearance at the time: a shaved head with a long, double ponytail that twisted together at the middle of his back.
The whole time Meraz was in jail, he consistently denied the charges against him and even took down every deal offered to him even though this might cause him being behind bars for the rest of his life. Though he admitted that he was on the same place where the crime happened, he clearly stated that he was on the opposite side were the killer was. Ozzie Fumo, Meraz legal council said that his client maintained his innocence since prosecution until this very day.
According to prosecutors, jurors had voted 11 to 1 in favor of a murder conviction. This happened back in 2006 at Meraz's first ever trial.
In 2008, during the second trial, Meraz was convicted of second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 20 years to life in jail. But during the course of this hearings, the lower court allowed the sworn statements to be read at the trial without solid records that the prosecutors gave enough effort to find the witness. This eventually opted the state high court to overturn the decision stating that apart from the surviving witness testimony, though it may be sufficient to support his conviction, it was not overwhelming.