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Governor’s tweet questioned in Phoenix freeway shooting case

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Attorneys for a man accused of some of the metro Phoenix freeway shootings want to ask Gov. Doug Ducey about a tweet he sent out minutes after their client’s arrest.

Attorneys for Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. filed a motion Wednesday to question Ducey, citing his tweet declaring, “We got him! DPS SWAT team is in custody of the individual suspected of I-10 shootings.” Merritt’s attorneys want to know what information Ducey had before their client’s arrest that made him confident enough to hit send.

A Ducey spokesman said the motion appears to be for attention.

“This appears designed to be a publicity stunt. This issue is in the hands of the judicial branch, where it belongs,” the spokesman said. “We have confidence that the suspect will receive a fair trial, and the governor has nothing of relevance to add.”

No one was seriously injured in the shootings that had the Phoenix area on edge last August and September. Eight cars were hit with bullets and three were struck with projectiles such as BBs or pellets. Authorities say they used ballistic tests to connect Merritt to four of the 11 shootings.

Merritt maintains his innocence, and his lawyers say phone records and accounts from family members will show that he wasn’t near the scene of the shootings.

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