A Palmetto Bay man charged in 2015 for shooting a woman during a robbery was acquitted in May after spending more than 30 months in jail without bond.
Michael Emilio Colon, 44, was found not guilty of armed robbery, aggravated assault and escape in May by a jury that deliberated for less than two hours.
Because he was accused of shooting the robbery victim, he faced a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
His attorney, assistant regional counsel Jean-Michel D’Escoubet, told NBC 6 Investigators:"It's extremely unfortunate that a person like Michael, who ends up being acquitted of a very serious violent crime, would spend so much time in custody awaiting trial. The wheels of justice move slowly but, thankfully, through the correct verdict, Michael found justice and the truth, in this case, did come out."
A woman leaving a Target store near 71st Avenue and SW 80th Street in October 2015 was shot as she pursued the man who grabbed her purse. Part of the encounter was captured on video and played for the jury, but the images were blurry.
She survived a gunshot to her knee, but did not testify in-person at the trial; a previous sworn statement by her was read into the record for the jury.
In arguing the state did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, D'Escoubet focused on discrepancies in physical evidence and witness descriptions of the suspect. There was evidence the shooter was described as a black male with hair, but no goatee or beard; Colon was a bald, white male with a goatee, at the time.
Also, a gun found in a search of Colon's home was not connected to a shell casing apparently fired from a different gun used at the scene of the robbery.
Miami-Dade police focused on Colon after a witness jotted down the first three numbers of the assailant's car's license plate. It led them to a Chevrolet Spark that had been rented by Colon’s then-wife.
She told police her husband had the car during the time of the attack and that later that day, Colon told her, “If the cops come, don’t tell them I had the car,” according to court records.
Cell phone evidence also showed Colon's phone was in the area of the shooting with the car.
But, D'Escoubet successfully argued, the presence of the car and his client's phone at the scene did not prove who fired a weapon during the robbery.
In an interview, Colon praised D'Escoubet for "saving my life," noting a prior attorney suggested a plea deal for a 10-year prison sentence. That attorney withdrew and Colon represented himself for a while until the regional counsel was appointed to represent him.