UPDATE

Judge: DPS director will not be called to testify in I-10 shooter case

Posted: Updated:
Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. was arrested on Sept. 18. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. was arrested on Sept. 18. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Leslie Merritt Jr. appeared in court Tuesday morning. (source: KPHO/KTVK) Leslie Merritt Jr. appeared in court Tuesday morning. (source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that attorneys for the suspected I-10 shooter won't be able to question Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead.

Judge Warren Granville denied the defense motion, saying it was premature, based on everything he’s heard or read so far. 

"If you find through folks you’ve interviewed that he is a witness, then we can re-visit the issue, Granville told defense attorney Jason Lamm.

[MOBILE USERS: Click here to watch the entire court proceeding]

"When you have the DPS director making an affirmative statement about the existence of evidence and then the County Attorney’s Office saying that evidence actually doesn’t exist there is a material need of the defense to inquire into it,” Lamm said.

Prosecutor Vanessa Losicco said, “Any information with respect to the investigation would have been funneled through investigators. To the extent that the statements made by director Milstead through the media are accurate, I’m unaware because I was not part of the investigatory phase of the case.”

[RELATED: Judge: Defense can’t interview Gov. Ducey in freeway shooter’s case]

Leslie Merritt Jr. has been in prison for more than six months, accused of four of the 11 freeway shootings that terrorized the Valley last fall.  

The judge set a modify release hearing for 9:30 a.m. April 26.

Merritt has filed a $10 million claim against Gov. Doug Ducey and the state, claiming they ignored evidence, intimidated witnesses and falsely accused him of the shootings.

Merritt's attorneys believe the state was under a lot of pressure to get a suspect in this case, but prosecutors say ballistics link him to the crime.

He's been behind bars since he was arrested in September and faces over a dozen charges.

[Read more: Special section on freeway shootings]

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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