Why does DPS still have Merritt's gun, car?

Posted at 9:54 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 01:18:49-04

The man once accused in last year's Valley freeway shootings is asking the court for his gun back.

Attorneys for Leslie Merritt Jr. filed paperwork in court arguing that investigators have no valid need for the gun nor Merritt's car. Both were seized as evidence months ago. Merritt's attorneys say the prosecution is playing "hide the ball" with the defendant's own ball.

The Maricopa County Attorney dropped all charges against Merritt in April after ballistic reports failed to positively match his gun to evidence from the crimes. Prosecutors could file charges again if they develop additional evidence.

Prosecutors say Merritt's car could still be needed for reconstructions of the shootings, and the gun may be needed for further comparison or  testing. The defense team says the state had since last September to do testing and analysis.

RELATED: 30 questions: Have we seen new freeway shootings in Phoenix since Leslie Merritt Jr. was in jail?

Prosecutors based part of their argument to retain evidence on a legal precedent set in the case of Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Defense lawyers took issue with the legal reference to a domestic terrorist.