Friday 15 December 2023

‘I Was Going To Die In Prison’: Authorities Exonerate Two Men Charged With Murder As Teens

 Los Angeles authorities determined Wednesday that Giovanni Hernandez and Miguel Solorio were wrongfully convicted for murder.

Hernandez was 14 years old when he was charged with the murder of a 16-year-old boy in 2006 and Solorio was 19 when he was charged with killing an 81-year-old woman in 1998, CNN reported.

Hernandez was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2010 while Solorio was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the outlet noted.

New evidence brought to the attention of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón allowed authorities to determine that Hernandez was not near the fatal shooting of the 16-year-old boy but with his family as he maintained and that Solorio was misidentified as his brother during the photo lineup, CNN reported. This mishap occurred despite Miguel’s insistence that he spent the evening of the night in question with his girlfriend, CBS News noted.

“It felt like in the blink of an eye I was behind bars [after arrest and conviction], sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, which meant I was going to die in prison,” Solorio said, according to CNN.

“It’s truly devastating when people are wrongfully convicted, especially when they were so young at the time of their arrest,” Gascón said, CBS New reported.

“I understand that this won’t bring back the many years each of you endure in prison, and I hope that our apology is some small comfort for you as you begin your new life,” Gascon said, according to CNN.

Sarah Pace, an attorney for Northern California Innocence Project that handled Solorio’s case, commented in a press release that her client’s case should serve to remind police to “avoid tunnel vision” as well as fairly “follow all leads.”

“Gio[vanni] was given no hope for a future outside of prison walls. However, despite this grave injustice, Gio found his way to the light,” said Marisa Harris, an attorney for the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic handling Hernandez’s case, in the press release.

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