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Dallas Man Exonerated After Spending More Than 20 Years In Prison For A Murder He Didn’t Commit

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Martin Santillan of Dallas was exonerated after spending more than two decades in prison for a robbery/ murder he did not commit.

Santillan, now 49, was arrested back in 1997 for the murder of Damond Wittman outside of a Dallas nightclub in Deep Ellum.

According to reports, Wittman was standing outside of the nightclub smoking a cigarette when an unknown person approached him asking for a cigarette. When he gave the man a cigarette, the man pulled out a gun and demanded money.

Wittman was then shot and killed outside of the club. The suspect then fled the scene before officers could arrive.

Although Santillan had witnesses and alibis stating that he was not at the scene that evening he was still convicted of the murder. Authorities showed Santillan in a photo lineup and a witness placed him at the scene.

Santillan, who was 23 at the time, was sentenced to life in prison for the crime. After spending 25 years in prison he was released in December.

In 2008 and 2014 the DA retested the blood samples that were found on a Dallas Star’s Jersey at the scene and the evidence came back inconclusive.

In 2021, the evidence was retested again and this time came back with another persons dna, not Santillan.

The DNA matched another man in the police database and he was arrested and taken into custody.

The suspected killers name has not yet been released but he will now be charged for Wittman’s murder.



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