Man freed in San Jose drive-by shooting after 17 years in prison

California

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – A Northern California man wrongfully convicted in a 2002 drive-by shooting that left a man paralyzed has been exonerated and freed after 17 years in prison.

40-year-old Lionel Rubalcava became a free man Wednesday thanks to the work of the Northern California Innocence Project.

Attorneys with the Innocence Project based at Santa Clara University took Rubalcava’s case about five years ago and in January presented evidence to prosecutors that disproved eyewitness accounts.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office re-interviewed the victim, who told prosecutors he was not confident about his identification of Rubalcava.

He admitted that he only caught a glimpse of the shooter’s face.

Last month, Rubalcava’s conviction was reversed but he was freed Wednesday, when prosecutors performed the final step to officially drop charges against him.

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