The Latest: New testimony freed man after 17 years in prison
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a Northern California man exonerated and freed after 17 years in prison (all times local):
The attorney for a Northern California man exonerated and freed after 17 years in prison says prosecutors had no physical evidence tying him to a 2002 drive-by shooting that left a man paralyzed. She says they relied on the victim’s testimony to convict him.
But Paige Kaneb, an attorney with the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University School of Law, adds the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office was helpful to Lionel’s Rubalcava’s new legal team from the moment they took over the case five years ago.
Kaneb said Thursday the office agreed to do a new investigation and talked to the victim who admitted he had never been sure of identifying Rubalcava as the person who shot him at his home in San Jose.
Kaneb says Rubalcava was in Hollister when the shooting occurred.
A Northern California man wrongfully convicted in a 2002 drive-by shooting that left a man paralyzed has been exonerated and freed after 17 years in prison.
The Mercury News in San Jose reports 40-year-old Lionel Rubalcava became a free man Wednesday thanks to the work of the Northern California Innocence Project.
Attorneys with the Innocence Project based at Santa Clara University took Rubalcava’s case about five years ago and in January presented evidence to prosecutors that disproved eyewitness accounts.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office re-interviewed the victim, who told prosecutors he was not confident about his identification of Rubalcava. He admitted that he only caught a glimpse of the shooter’s face.
Last month, Rubalcava’s conviction was reversed but he was freed Wednesday, when prosecutors performed the final step to officially drop charges against him.