A man wrongfully convicted of attempting to kill six high school students is being released after 33 YEARS
‘I never gave up hope’: California man wrongfully convicted of trying to kill six high school students in shooting spree walks free after 33 YEARS behind bars as he is finally freed
- Daniel Saldana, 55, was convicted in a 1990 drive-by shooting in Baldwin Park
- He was found not guilty on Thursday and spoke at a press conference
A California A man wrongfully convicted of trying to kill six high school students in a shooting spree walked free after 33 years behind bars when he was finally freed, noting that he never lost hope.
Daniel Saldana, 55, was found not guilty Los Angeles Authorities announced Thursday by the district attorney’s office.
In 1990, he was convicted of shooting into a car carrying six teenagers leaving a high school football game in Baldwin Park, east of Los Angeles.
Two students were injured in a terrorist attack in 1989, but survived. According to authorities, the attackers mistook the teenagers for gang members.
Dressed in a gray suit and flanked by family members at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, Saldana said: “I never gave up hope.”
Daniel Saldana, right, is surrounded by his attorney Mike Romano, center, and fellow exonerated Frankie Carrillo, back left. Saldana, who spent 33 years in a California prison for attempted murder, is found not guilty and released
“It’s a struggle to wake up every day knowing you’re innocent and I’m here locked in a cell screaming for help,” Saldana said, according to the Southern California News Group.
“I’m so happy that this day has come,” he added.
At the time of filming in 1989, Saldana was 22 years old and working full-time in construction. He was one of three people charged in the attack.
Saldana was convicted of six counts of attempted murder and one count of drive-by shooting and sentenced to 45 years to life in state prison.
Gascon’s office opened the investigation after learning in February that another convicted felon told authorities during a 2017 parole hearing that Saldana “was in no way involved in the shooting or was present during the incident.”
The former deputy district attorney attended the hearing “but apparently did nothing” and did not share exculpatory information with Saldana or his attorney as required, Gascon said.
Daniel Saldana, right, shakes hands with Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, left. In the middle is Saldana’s attorney, Mike Romano. Saldana, who spent 33 years in a California prison for attempted murder, is found not guilty and released
That forced Saldana to spend another six years in prison before prosecutors reopened the case and found him not guilty, Gascon said.
It was not yet clear whether Saldana would be eligible for compensation from Los Angeles or California for her long prison term.
The district attorney would not release other details of the case, but apologized to Saldana and his family.
“I know it won’t give you back the decades you spent in prison,” he said. “But I hope our apology will bring you some comfort as you start your new life.”
Gascon added: “Not only is it a tragedy when people are jailed for a crime they didn’t commit, but whenever an injustice of this magnitude occurs, the real people responsible for it are still committing other crimes.”
In 2021, neighboring Riverside County settled a lawsuit and paid $11 million to Horace Roberts, who spent two decades in prison after being wrongly convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1998.
Gascon would not reveal further details of the case, but offered his condolences to Saldana.