DALLAS – A man who spent 15 years in prison for the 2001 killing of a teenager was freed on Wednesday after a judge agreed with the prosecutors that he did not commit the crime.
Dallas County District Attorney, Faith Johnson, said Quintin Lee Alonzo, 38, was released after the court agreed to a request from the prosecutors to declare him innocent, in 2001, the death of Santos Gauna, who was killed when a fight broke out at a party in honor of his high school graduation and decision to join the Marines.
Although Alonzo was released because the prosecutor and the judge that he is innocent, largely due to the confession of a condemned man the day before the day that the human the version, Though would still get the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals formally release him in order to be eligible for state compensation for wrongfully put in prison. That ruling could take months.
Officials say a “thorough investigation” confirmed 2015 the confession that Licho Escamilla gave to investigators from the district attorney’s office conviction integrity unit just before Escamilla was put to death for killing an off-duty Dallas police officer.
“He was confronted with the execution of the next day,” said Cynthia Garza, who is the head of the unit. “We believe that he did this to make peace with God and the things right in front of him.”
Escamilla was a suspect in Her killing. But a person who identified Him as the shooter from a photo lineup, and Johnson said that the jury in his 2003 trial relied heavily on that identification, to condemn him.
Alonzo was sentenced to life in prison.
Escamilla, meanwhile, was convicted in 2002 in the death of officer Christopher Kevin James, who are under four uniformed Dallas officers working off-duty security at a club when a brawl broke out and James was shot multiple times by Escamilla.
Prosecutors say that before Escamilla was convicted in James’ killing, he confessed to the killing of Gauna and that he confessed later to his appellate lawyers. Johnson acknowledged that the rumors circulated after the teen’s death, that Escamilla was responsible, but she said: “Alonzo’s lawyer argued this point on Alonzo the trial and the jury does not buy it.