National News

Dallas man exonerated after 15 years in prison

Posted May 31, 2018 3:01 p.m. EDT

— For about 15 years, Quintin Lee Alonzo has been serving time in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

Alonzo was sent to prison after being wrongfully convicted of killing Santos Gauna back in 2001.

Now, he's walking free after the real killer, Licho Escamilla, confessed to murdering Santos before he was executed for murdering a police officer in 2015.

"There was a lot of false evidence that was offered in an effort to make it appear to the jury that the state had an iron-clad case, when in fact they didn't," said Alonzo's attorney Julie Lesser.

Nearly three years have passed since Escamilla confessed to the murder, which is why many are asking, what took so long?

"It is very, very difficult to get relief on actual innocence grounds, especially on a non-DNA case," said Cynthia Garza, Chief of the Conviction Integrity Unity. "There are legal hurdles and legal bars that you have to reach, and you might have a confession, and if it's not corroborated, then the Court of Criminal Appeals can throw it out."

While the paperwork still has to go through the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson says Alonzo will be paid for the time he's lost.

"It's unfortunate that he had to endure these many many years of incarceration, but to that extent, he will get some financial compensation," Johnson said.

We guess that's a good place to start.