LA County DA Gascón Grants Freedom to Two Men Wrongfully Imprisoned for Murder


Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Wednesday the exoneration of two individuals who had been serving lengthy prison sentences for homicides that prosecutors now claim they did not commit.

During a press appearance in downtown Los Angeles, Gascón formally apologized to Giovanni Hernandez and Miguel Solorio.

It’s truly devastating when people are wrongfully convicted, especially when they were so young at the time of their arrest,” Gascón said. Mr. Hernandez was only 14 years old at the time.

These cases highlight not only the tragic impact on the lives of those directly affected but also the impact on the family and friends left behind.” I am dedicated to ensuring that lessons are learned from this heinous act and that steps are taken to prevent similar injustices in the future.”

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Hernandez was arrested and eventually convicted for a 2006 drive-by shooting in Culver City that murdered 16-year-old Gary Ortiz. In 2015, he requested a review of his case from the District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, but his request was denied. Another lawsuit was filed in 2021 with the assistance of Loyola Law School’s Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic.

The ensuing inquiry, according to the D.A.’s Office, “resulted in new exculpatory evidence and new statements from witnesses previously not interviewed or contacted at the time of the original investigation.” Prosecutors said the inquiry also looked at mobile phone records, which showed Hernandez was not at the scene of the shooting while supporting his claim that he was at home at the time.

Solorio was arrested in 1998 for a drive-by shooting that murdered 81-year-old Mary Bramlett in Whittier. He was found guilty of murder and condemned to life in jail with no chance of parole.

According to Gascón’s office, Solorio was helped in his request for a review of his case by the Northern California Innocence Project, and the investigation “led to the conclusion that Solorio was misidentified as his brother Pedro Solorio in a photo lineup.”

At the news conference on Wednesday, Solorio discussed the likelihood of mistakes in the use of photo lineups, stating that other people convicted using such a method should have their cases reviewed.

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