PHOENIX – A judge ruled that the former suspect in a series of Phoenix freeway shootings will get his car and gun back.
The ruling comes nearly two months after all charges against 21-year-old landscaper Leslie Merritt Jr. were dismissed.
Prosecutors said Merritt's property was part of an ongoing investigation, but Merritt's defense attorney Jason Lamm argued that nine months was more than enough time to test the materials.
Lamm said that Merritt is entitled to his car and gun and the ruling today affirmed that.
"It's kind of the cherry on top for an innocent man whose charges were dismissed," Lamm said.
Both items will be returned to him June 30.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office declined to comment on the ruling.
Merritt had been the only named suspect in four of 11 shootings that caused panic on Phoenix-area freeways in August and September of 2015.
An expert for the prosecution determined that bullets in those four incidents could not be linked to Merritt's firearm.
Merritt, who spent seven months in jail before his April release, has maintained he is innocent and that authorities arrested the wrong person.
Prosecutors, though, could still refile charges against Merritt.
Merritt has filed a legal claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — demanding $10 million from the state and county. He alleged that authorities rushed to judgment and failed to provide evidence that he was present at any of the shootings.