According to a Thursday statement from the Los Angeles County district attorney, a Californian man who was sentenced to 33 years in prison for attempted murder has been found innocent and released.
Having opened fire on a car carrying six adolescents as they were leaving a high school football game in Baldwin Park, east of Los Angeles, Daniel Saldana, then 55, was found guilty in 1990. Two pupils were hurt, but they are doing fine.
Authorities claim that the attackers believed the teenagers to be gang members.
At the time of the incident, Saldana was 22 years old and employed full-time in the construction industry. He was one of the three men responsible for the assault. Saldana was given a 45-year to life sentence in state prison after being found guilty of six charges of attempted murder and one count of shooting at an inhabited car.
Saldana exonerated after 33 years
In attendance alongside Saldana at the news announcement announcing his exoneration on Thursday was District Attorney George Gascón. He expressed his gratitude for being freed.
Saldana stated, according to the Southern California News Group, “It’s a hardship every day waking up knowing you’re innocent and here I am locked up in jail, crying for help.
Saldana, though, told, “I just knew that one day this was going to come.” “I’m really appreciative. I simply thank God.
After learning in February that a different convicted attacker had claimed to authorities during a 2017 parole hearing that Saldana “was not involved in the shooting in any way and he was not present during the incident,” the DA said Gascón’s office launched an investigation.
The tweet below confirms the news:
A California man who spent 33 years in prison for attempted murder has been declared innocent and freed, the Los Angeles County district attorney announced Thursday. https://t.co/H1YJGLHw0d
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 28, 2023
According to Gascón, a former deputy district attorney was present at the hearing “but apparently did nothing” and did not alert Saldana or his lawyer of the exonerating details as was necessary.
Due to this, Saldana was imprisoned for an additional six years before the district attorney’s office restarted the investigation and found him innocent, according to Gascón.
The district attorney apologized to Saldana and his family but withheld further information about the case.
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He added, “I know that this won’t make the years you spent in prison go away. But as you start your new life, I hope our apology provides you with some tiny solace.
“Not only is it tragic to put people in jail for a crime they did not commit, but every time an injustice of this magnitude occurs, the true offenders are still out there committing other crimes,” continued Gascón.
Despite his disappointment that the information took so long to reach his office, Gascón emphasized how crucial it was that justice be done at some time, as noted by CBS Los Angeles.
In a statement, he stated, “As prosecutors, our duty is not simply to secure convictions but to seek justice.” “When someone is unfairly convicted, our justice system has failed, and it is our duty to make amends. Justice must be done because we owe it to the person who was unfairly condemned and to the general public.
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