Judge orders release of suspected I-10 shooter on modified bail

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Merritt seen in his initial court appearance shortly after his arrest. (Source: KPHO.KTVK) Merritt seen in his initial court appearance shortly after his arrest. (Source: KPHO.KTVK)
Merritt in handcuffs as he was booked into jail. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Merritt in handcuffs as he was booked into jail. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Attorneys for both sides appear in Judge Warren Granville's courthouse Monday. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Attorneys for both sides appear in Judge Warren Granville's courthouse Monday. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Superior Court judge has modified the suspected I-10 shooter's bail from $1 million to $150,000 

Attorneys for Leslie Merritt Jr., who were back in court Monday afternoon, argued Merritt was not a flight risk and stressed it was unlikely he could afford to post the lowered bond..

"Mr. Merritt has no ability whatsoever to make that bond," his attorney told the judge.

The defense team argued that Merritt wasn’t behind four of the eleven freeway shootings that began in late August.  

Merritt has denied involvement in the shootings since his arrest on Friday, Sept. 18.

[Raw video: Judge orders release of suspected I-10 shooter on modified bail]

While his defense team claims they have proof he isn't the shooter, the prosecution says his gun was used in the incidents.

The gun in question is a High Point 9 mm semi-automatic. Investigators have forensically linked it to four of the freeway shootings.

Although Merritt said the pawn shop had the gun at the time of those shootings, both the owner of Mo Money Pawn, Eric Baker, and the general manager, Byron Vaughn, said their records show otherwise.  They said store records indicate Merritt's gun was not in their possession when those shootings occurred.

Three of the four shootings linked to Merritt and his gun occurred on Saturday, Aug. 29. Merritt pawned the gun a third time at around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30. 

[INFOGRAPHIC: Freeway shooting incidents by date]

In the shooting list put out by DPS, the fourth shooting linked to Merritt took place on Aug. 30 between 9:45 p.m. and  10:15 p.m., more than four hours after he pawned the gun at Mo Money Pawn. 

The defense team argued they now have evidence and witnesses to show that Merritt was at his Glendale home at the time of the freeway shootings and that they have cellphone tower data to support the alibi.

Prosecutors were concerned that today's evidentiary hearing would turn into a mini-trial.

RELATED: Questions and answers about the Phoenix freeway shootings]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Freeway shootings]

[SLIDESHOW: Valley freeway shootings]

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