The attorneys for the suspect in the Phoenix freeway shootings want Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. to be released without posting bail.
According to court documents obtained by ABC15, a motion has been filed to release Merritt in light of the material changes in circumstances.
In the motion, Merritt’s attorney, Jason Lamm states the Department of Public Safety has “no evidence to suggest any involvement on the part of the Defendant.”
The documents go on to state that since Merritt’s arrest there have been numerous additional freeway shootings “that have conveniently been dismissed by law enforcement as ‘unrelated’ to the crimes which the Defendant is charged.”
Lamm stated in court documents that law enforcement has failed to establish the Defendant’s whereabouts at the time of the shootings for which the State claims he is responsible.
Merritt is currently being held for his suspected involvement in four freeway incidents. Three of the shootings the suspect is in custody for happened on August 29 on Interstate 10 between 43rd Avenue and 16th Street.
The fourth shooting location is still not known. On August 30, the owner of a BMW returned from a business trip when he noticed his left front tire was low.
According to court documents, the driver took his car to a local dealership. A service technician found a bullet and a jacket inside the tire.
The motion states law enforcement has changed its theory in this shooting several times. “Notwithstanding the laws of physics and a trigonometric wonder, law enforcement believes that someone shot at the BMW from its rear causing the bullet to skip on the roadway and thereafter strike the left front inner sidewall.”
Lamm said the defense has interviewed several witnesses which establish that Merritt was not in the area of where the shooting occurred.
Phone records submitted by the defense shows Merritt called his grandmother from a Glendale address on August 29 at 10:51 a.m. That is twelve minutes before the reported shooting on Interstate 10 at 19th Avenue. The defense motion claims Merritt was at his Glendale home when those calls were made.
Texts and phone calls were also made from an address in Glendale at 11:00 a.m. and 11:02 a.m.
At 11:04 a.m., the Defendant called his grandfather and left him a happy birthday voicemail.
The motion asks for Merritt to be released because of the lack of evidence. He also “lacks a criminal history, has stable ties to the community, has a lengthy employment history, and in no way, shape, or form presents a flight risk.”
“The wrong guy should not remain behind bars for crimes he did not commit.”
County Attorney Bill Montgomery spoke about the motion in a press conference on Wednesday. Watch the video in the player above.