Lawyer: All charges against accused I-10 shooter dismissed

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Freeway shooting suspect Leslie Merritt Jr. talks to the media after being released from jail on April 19, 2016 (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Freeway shooting suspect Leslie Merritt Jr. talks to the media after being released from jail on April 19, 2016 (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Judge Warren Granville's court order issued Monday morning. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Judge Warren Granville's court order issued Monday morning. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Leslie Merritt in court on April 19, 2016 with his attorneys, Ulises Ferragut, (left) and Jason Lamm. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Leslie Merritt in court on April 19, 2016 with his attorneys, Ulises Ferragut, (left) and Jason Lamm. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Freeway shooting suspect Leslie Merritt Jr. greeted by his lawyers after being released from jail on April 19, 2016 (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Freeway shooting suspect Leslie Merritt Jr. greeted by his lawyers after being released from jail on April 19, 2016 (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

All charges against the primary suspect in last summer's freeway shootings case have been dismissed without prejudice, defense attorney Jason Lamm said in a tweet.

In his order issued Monday morning, Judge Warren Granville told the defense team if they want to pursue action with prejudice, they must file a written motion no later than Friday, May 6. 

Leslie Merritt Jr, the father of two, has maintained that he had nothing to do with the shootings along I-10 last summer since he was arrested.

"All I have to say is I'm the wrong guy," he said at his initial court appearance in September. "I tried telling the detectives that. My gun's been in the pawn shop the last two months. I haven't even had access to a weapon," he said. 

[RELATED: State moving to dismiss case against suspect in freeway shootings]

On Tuesday, Granville reduced Merritt's bond from $1 million to zero and ordered his release with electronic monitoring.

"Our client was branded public enemy number one. He was called a domestic terrorist. He’s been in jail in solitary confinement for seven months. Our reaction? We’re thrilled." Lamm said after Merritt was freed.

Merritt told reporters as he was released that he was looking forward to spending time with his children .

[RELATED: Freeway shootings defendant: 'I'm just ready to go home']

Last month, Merritt filed a $10 million notice of claim against Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, the State of Arizona, Maricopa County and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Merritt’s attorneys David Don, Ulises Ferragut and Jason Lamm allege the investigating agencies “suppressed evidence, ignored exculpatory evidence, intimidated witnesses and misused the legal process to bring false accusations against Mr. Merritt, who has remained deprived of his liberty until the present.”

Merritt seeks $2.5 million from each of the four defendants.

[RELATED: Accused freeway shooter files $10M claim against Ducey, others]

Merritt had been in jail for more than six months, accused of four of the 11 freeway shootings that terrorized the Valley last fall.  

He was charged with 15 counts, including endangerment, drive-by shooting, unlawful discharge of a firearm, aggravated assault, and disorderly conduct in connection with freeway shootings.

Merritt all along vehemently denied being responsible for the August 29 and 30 freeway shootings. Police have said four cars were shot while driving along various stretches of the I-10.  Detectives found bullets and bullet fragments in each case. 

Ballistics tests matched all of them to Merritt Jr.'s 9mm handgun, according to the investigation documents. 

Merritt Jr. told police on Sept. 18 that he could not have been the shooter because his handgun had been sitting in a pawn shop for a month and a half. But he later said the weapon had been pawned three or four weeks earlier and then near the end of the interview, that the gun was pawned on a specific date in late August.

Detectives told Merritt that they had video of him pawning his handgun on Aug. 30. Finally, he said he remembered pawning the gun on Aug. 29, because he and his fiancee needed money to buy baby formula for their daughter, according to a transcript of his police interview.

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

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