Closing statements were made today in the hearing for Edward Contreras as he tries to prove his innocence after being convicted of the murder of Freddy Walker in 1997. Scott Taylor, convicted of working with Contreras to kill, dismember, and dispose of Walker’s body, has testified that Contreras, though present the entire time, was not involved.
Lisa Garringer, the other witness of the crime, testified in 1997 that Contreras helped Taylor kill Walker, but has now withdrawn her testimony, claiming she was frightened into lying.
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“We refocused the judge back on what is really the issue in the case,” said Justin Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project, who is representing Contreras.
Brooks’ main argument is that the first trial of Contreras was undermined because of Garringer’s false evidence. He called the prosecution’s statements superfluous and focused on the fact that Garringer’s mother and friends testified that she recanted her initial position regarding Contreras’ involvement years ago.
“It is time to reverse his conviction,” said Brooks definitively.
Brooks added that the most dramatic part of closing arguments was trying to get Judge Dohi at the Van Nuys Courthouse West to try to imagine being in Contreras’ shoes. Rather than speculate as to what Contreras could have done to get out of the situation, Brooks argued that being in such a traumatic caused Contreras to choose to placate Taylor in order to survive.
Judge Dohi will read his ruling from the bench on January 10.
To read more details about the case and Contreras’ fight to prove his innocence, click here.