Man wrongfully convicted in SoCal drive-by shooting now free after 25 years in prison

Carlos Granda Image
Thursday, November 16, 2023
Man wrongfully convicted in drive-by shooting now free after 25 years
A man wrongfully convicted in a deadly drive-by shooting in Whittier is now free after spending 25 years in prison.

A man who spent 25 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit is finally free.

Last week, a judge ordered Miguel Solorio's release after prosecutors said he was wrongly convicted. His first meal outside of prison was a steak.

"I value the smallest things like walking my dog in the park, just walking him in the beach. Just the simplest things, to me, mean a lot," Solorio said.

Solorio was 18 years old when he was arrested in 1998 after a fatal drive-by shooting in Whittier. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"The keyword is always perseverance, no matter what. You have to continue fighting, never give up," he said.

For decades, Solorio and his wife worked to get him free. Attorneys who fought for his release say his case had mistakes and there was false testimony by law enforcement.

"The police create a lineup of six photos. They include Miguel's face in the lineup. They show this first line up to the witnesses. None of the witnesses pick out Miguel's face from this first line up," explained Sarah Pace with the Northern California Innocence Project.

Pace claims that detectives focused on Solorio as the only suspect and ignored other evidence and other people.

"If they had actually seen Miguel at the crime scene, they would've been able to pick him out immediately from that first lineup, but the police didn't stop there. They showed witnesses more lineups, until they got someone to identify him," says Pace.

Solorio says during all that time, he always had hope.

"The 25 years I experienced, it was devastating and you have to have perseverance. You always have to have hope," says Solorio.

Solorio says it's almost a dream that after 25 years he will be at home celebrating Christmas as a free man.