Leslie Allen Merritt, Jr., faces 16 felony counts but maintains he is the 'wrong guy'

By Chris Harris
Updated September 24, 2015 12:35 AM
Credit: Rob Schumacher/AP

The Maricopa County Attorney’s office has filed formal charges against Leslie Allen Merritt, Jr., the 21-year-old landscaper who was arrested over the weekend in connection with a string of recent freeway shootings in Phoenix, Arizona.

According to information from the prosecution, Merritt officially faces 16 felony charges for his role in four of the 11 sniping incidents.

Three counts of drive-by shooting and six counts of aggravated assault were lodged Wednesday against Merritt, who is additionally charged with three counts of unlawful discharge of a weapon, another three for disorderly conduct, and one endangerment count.

Prosecutors dropped an intentional terrorism charge initially brought against Merritt by police.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Wednesday his office would not be releasing any additional information about the evidence they have amassed against Merritt.

“I understand the frustration by some with respect to the limited amount of information released by the Department of Public Safety to date,” Montgomery said. “However, I am equally grateful for the caution necessary to safeguard any prosecution of the defendant and the need to protect due process rights.”

Merritt is scheduled to appear in court for a status conference on September 25.

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