More than a decade after a Georgia man was convicted of murder, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office dismissed the charge on Thursday and released him from prison.
David Peralta, 36, was convicted of the 2001 gang related drive-by shooting that killed his girlfriend. He was sentenced to life in prison.
There was no physical evidence connecting Peralta to the crime. Peralta’s conviction was based on eyewitness identification that has since been recalled, and on the testimony of two prison inmates who said that Peralta had confessed to the shooting. One of the inmates has since recanted. The other chose to exercise his Fifth Amendment right to not testify in later proceedings. In a September 13, 2013 article, Reuters reported:
Eric Burton, a spokesman for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office, said the charges were dismissed because “through subsequent investigation, it was concluded that Peralta was not guilty of the crime and that the victim was fired upon by a rival gang.”
Reuters reports that although federal investigators with a gang task force uncovered evidence pointing toward Peralta’s innocence in 2006, the case wasn’t reopened until he won a new trial in 2011.
“As far as we know, nothing was done,” with the information from federal investigators, said Tully Blalock, Peralta’s attorney. “The speed at which this case has progressed really has been frustrating.”
Peralta will have to decide if he will file a civil suit against the city. For now, according to his attorney, he’ll concentrate on getting his life back.