Daniel Villegas is now a free man after spending almost 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit! He had Christmas and birthday presents waiting on him, and Fred Loya graciously kept his renowned light display up just for him. The celebrations may have been a bit late, but it’s a very merry Christmas and happy birthday for Daniel!
In December 2013 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals set aside his conviction after concluding he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the trial that sent him to prison. Yesterday Daniel had a bond hearing, where Judge Sam Medrano set his bond at $50,000.00, which was remarkably low considering the state was asking for a bond of around one million dollars. John Mimbela paid the $1000.00 in cash that was required and about an hour later Daniel walked out a free man, into the arms of his mother and several dozen other family and friends. The state has until next Tuesday, January 21st to decide whether or not they will recharge Daniel. We are hopeful DA Esparza will do the right thing and drop the charges outright. We’ll keep you posted. Until then, here are some pictures of Daniel’s freedom day and links to some of the media coverage.
El Paso Times: Daniel Villegas goes home, awaits trial date
Los Angeles Times: Texas man free on bond after murder conviction is overturned
CBS News: Texas man imprisoned 20 years released for new trial
Fox News: Texas man jailed 20 years for double murder released for new trial
NBC News: Texas man, imprisoned for murders half his life, freed on bond
Huffington Post: Daniel Villegas exonerated: man convicted of murder 20 years ago