Accused I-10 shooter 'elated' to be released

Posted at 10:06 AM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 09:28:59-04

He was called a domestic terrorist for allegedly shooting at drivers along the freeway, but now the suspected freeway shooter is out of jail.

An emergency hearing was held Tuesday morning for the accused shooter, Leslie Merritt Jr.

Merritt released from jail

DPS said ballistic evidence linked Merritt to four of the eleven freeway shootings during the summer of 2015.

Recently, the County Attorney’s Office called in secondary ballistics professionals to confirm whether Merritt's gun was in fact connected to the shootings, like DPS said in September 2015

Those additional ballistics tests revealed the original bullet fragments could not be confirmed to be from Merritt's gun.

FULL COVERAGE: Phoenix freeway shootings

The judge ruled that Merritt's bond would be reduced to $0 and he would therefore be released from jail.

According to Merritt's attorney, Merritt is "elated" to be going free.

ABC15 reached out to DPS for comment on the hearing and got a response from spokesperson Bart Graves reading: "As you know there is a court order barring us from commenting on this case until it has been adjudicated which applies to the Director as well."

Merritt is "elated" to be going free

Earlier this month, Merritt's fiancee, Dina Sauceda, was visited by Department of Public Safety investigators who wanted her to answer more questions, according to defense claims.

Additionally, a judge denied a motion wanted by Merritt’s defense attorneys to question DPS Director Frank Milstead.

Since Merritt's arrest, the Department of Public Safety has not asked for the public's help in solving the crimes, even though the other seven are unsolved.

Gov. Doug Ducey's office released the following statement about Merritt's case:

"Our concern has and always will be public safety. The community was in a constant state of fear over the I-10 shootings for three weeks, including warning signs on the freeway. The governor is glad we have now gone seven months without shootings, and he will continue to put public safety first. With respect to the ongoing case before the court - it is in the hands of the judicial branch, where it will continue to play out, and we are confident the process will be fair."