Home News A man has declared himself not guilty of attempted murder after 33 years in a California prison

A man has declared himself not guilty of attempted murder after 33 years in a California prison

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The Los Angeles County District Attorney announced Thursday that a California man who served 33 years in prison for attempted murder is innocent and has been released.

Daniel Saldana, 55, was convicted in 1990 of opening fire on a car carrying six teenagers who were leaving a high school football game in Baldwin Park, east of Los Angeles. Two students were injured, but they survived.

Authorities said the attackers mistook the teens for gang members.

Saldana was 22 at the time of the shooting and worked full time as a construction worker. He was one of three men charged in the attack. Saldana was found guilty of six counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting at an occupied vehicle, and was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison.

Saldana appeared with Attorney General George Gascon at a news conference announcing his acquittal on Thursday. He said he was grateful to be released.

“It’s a struggle, every day I wake up knowing you’re innocent, and I’m locked in a cell, screaming for help,” Saldana was quoted by the Southern California News Group as saying.

“I am very happy that this day has come,” he added.

Gascon’s office launched the investigation after learning in February that another convicted assailant told authorities during a 2017 parole hearing that Saldana was “in no way involved in the shooting and was not present during the incident,” the prosecutor said.

Gascon said the former assistant district attorney was present at the hearing “but apparently did nothing” and did not share the acquittal information with Saldana or his attorney as required.

This prompted Saldana to spend an additional six years in prison, Gascon said, before the prosecutor’s office reopened the case and declared him innocent.

The attorney general did not disclose further details of the case but apologized to Saldana and her family.

“I know this won’t take you back to the decades you endured in prison,” he said. “But I hope our apologies will bring you some relief as you begin your new life. »

Gascon added, “Not only is it a tragedy to put people in prison for a crime they did not commit, but whenever an injustice of this magnitude occurs, the real people responsible are left behind to commit other crimes.”

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