Yakima Man Is Free Exonerated After 26-Years in Prison
It's a rarity, but it happened in Yakima County. Thursday, August 16th, murder charges were dismissed against a man who spent more than 26 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
THE GOOD NEWS COMES AFTER DAYS OF TESTIMONY IN COURT
Following three days of testimony in Yakima County Superior Court in which he was arguing for a new trial, charges were dismissed Thursday against now 42-year-old Evaristo Junior Salas. Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic dismissed the charges with prejudice so the charges can't be refiled against Salas in the future.
SALAS WAS A YOUNG MAN WHEN HE WAS CONVICTED BUT HE'LL NEVER FACE THE CHARGES AGAIN
Salas was 15-years-old when he was tried as an adult in the November 1995 shooting death of Jose Arreola in Sunnyside. Salas claimed he didn't commit the crime. He's now a free man who won't ever have to face the same charges again.
Salas' defense attorney maintains the state withheld evidence at the time of the trial that could have helped Salas gain his freedom.
YAKIMA COUNTY PROSECUTOR JOE BRUSIC WILL TALK ABOUT THE CASE FRIDAY
Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic is expected to talk about the case on KIT's Good Morning Yakima show at 8:15 on Friday morning. Don't miss our conversation.
MANY GROUPS ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF HELPING TO FREE THOSE WRONGFULLY CONVICTED
According to the Equal Justice Initiative, there are more innocent people behind bars today than ever before in the history of the United States. With the rate of exonerations rising, many say it's revealing an unreliable system of criminal justice and a lack of accountability.
They say the exonerations undermine the credibility of the system even in the most serious of cases.
Many groups work hard every year to free those wrongfully convicted. One of those known organizations is the Washington Innocence Project.
"The Washington Innocence Project is responsible and represented Mr.Salas through this long journey and successfully exonerated his case," notes Elle Loe, Programs Assistant for the nonprofit.
For more information, contact wainnocenceproject.org..
*This article has been updated to correctly identify the Washington Innocence Project as the sole advocating group responsible for getting Mr. Salas freed. We apologize for our initial error, which gave credit to the Innocence Project, which is a similar, but separate entity.
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