Interrogation video shows detectives pressed I-10 shooting suspect for a confession

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Interrogation video of Leslie Merritt, Jr. was released on Wednesday (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Interrogation video of Leslie Merritt, Jr. was released on Wednesday (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Leslie Merritt Jr. denied all allegations during interrogation (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Leslie Merritt Jr. denied all allegations during interrogation (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) Freeway shooting suspect Leslie Merritt Jr. talks to the media after being released from jail on April 19, 2016 (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Newly released interrogation video of the man once charged in the I-10 shootings shows detectives lied about the strength of their case while trying to secure a confession.

The Department of Public Safety released the roughly 90-minute video on Wednesday, one month after a judge dismissed the case against Leslie Merritt Jr. 

[Raw video: Interrogation of I-10 shooting suspect (Warning: explicit language)]

During the interrogation, two detectives tell Merritt Jr. they have video from freeway traffic cameras that implicates him in the shooting spree.

"I have video tape from the freeway with your silver car. I have ballistic tests that comes back to your gun," said Det. Ran Baroldy.

"You have a video of me shooting my gun out of my car?" asked Merritt.

"Absolutely," Baroldy replied.

Video evidence was never turned over to Merritt's defense team, and the Arizona Department of Transportation has repeatedly said it does not record freeway cameras.

Throughout the video, Merritt vehemently denied being responsible for the August 29 and 30 freeway shootings that terrorized the Valley.

"I never fired my gun on the I-10, on any freeway for that matter in the city or whatever," Merritt told the detectives.

"I dunno Leslie, I'm having a tough time trying to believe you right now," Det. Anthony Falcone replied.

"I understand that, but I don't know what to tell you, I'm telling you the God-honest truth. I would not do this," Merritt said.

Merritt was accused of four of the 11 freeway shootings in the Valley last fall.  

[Special Section: Freeway shootings]

The detectives also claimed that the mother of Merritt Jr.'s children implicated him, which was also false.

"Why would your own wife even go and tell us, 'I think he did it'?" asked Falcone. "Why would she even tell us that?"

"I doubt she said that," Merritt replied.

"No, I'm telling you she said that," Falcone said.

"That's (expletive)," Merritt said.

Merritt was arrested on September 18.

During the interrogation, detectives played up the strength of the ballistics evidence against him.

“I’m telling you that there’s bullets that were fired from your gun that were removed from cars on the interstates," Det. Baroldy said.

“How is that possible man? I have not fired my weapon in over two months dude," Merritt said.

“I am telling you, the ballistic tests don’t lie," the detective said.

“Well then there has to be some kind of mix-up man because I have not--" Merritt said.

“There is – there is no mix-up,” the detective said.

“I have not fired my gun in two months, man,” Merritt replied.

According to investigation documents, ballistics tests matched four of the shootings to Merritt's handgun. However, a forensics expert hired by prosecutors re-tested the bullet fragments, and cast doubt on the link. The expert found the bullets "could neither be excluded or identified" as having come from Merritt's gun.

The charges were dismissed against Merritt in April, and he was later released.

[READ MORE: Accused I-10 shooter released from jail]

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.

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


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