A Los Angeles County judge dismissed criminal charges Monday against a man who spent more than 20 years behind bars for a murder he insists he did not commit.
The action brings to an end a two-decade legal saga in which five of the six witnesses who identified Francisco "Franky" Carrillo in court as the gunman in a fatal drive-by shooting recanted their testimony last month.
Though Carrillo's conviction was overturned three weeks ago, prosecutors could have sought to retry the murder case. But the district attorney's office asked Superior Court Judge Paul A. Bacigalupo on Monday to dismiss the charges.
After the Compton court hearing, Carrillo, 37, said he felt relieved.
"I knew that this was hovering over me," he said. "For all these years, I envisioned the case getting dismissed. To hear the judge say that and the D.A. say that, it was a beautiful moment."