Inside LADA

February 25, 2020: New Convictions Follow Exoneration in a 1996 Compton Shooting

District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s Conviction Review Unit not only exonerated an innocent man but also helped bring the real culprits to justice.

“The work of my Conviction Review Unit does not stop when a wrongfully convicted person is freed from prison,” District Attorney Lacey said. “We continue to seek justice on behalf of victims by reinvestigating the crime and prosecuting the real criminals who, in this case, may have thought they got away with attempted murder.”

When new evidence affirmed that Marco Contreras was innocent, deputy district attorneys turned their efforts to solving the attempted murder case for which he was wrongfully convicted.

Contreras was exonerated on March 23, 2017.

On that day, Contreras was released from state prison after serving 20 years for a crime he did not commit, and deputy district attorneys in the office’s Hardcore Gang Division filed criminal charges against two men who later were convicted for that same crime.

Contreras’ conviction review uncovered key evidence that led to their arrests in the 1996 shooting of an alleged drug-dealing rival in Compton.

Last month, Antonio Salgado and Antonio Garcia were sentenced to state prison after being found guilty by a Compton jury of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The office began looking into Contreras’ claim of actual innocence based on eyewitness misidentification in 2014 at the request of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent.

To read more about the case, click here.