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Despite acquittal, father accused of murder still facing scrutiny

Imagine that you and your two children are on the side of the road, pushing the family vehicle home after running out of gas, when the unthinkable happens. A mere 100 yards from home, your two children are struck by a drunk driver, killing them instantly. Sometime later, the drunk driver is found dead, believed to have been shot to death.

Before you have had time to fully process your grief, you suddenly find yourself facing murder charges. Even though prosecutors have nothing more than circumstantial evidence against you, they pursue a conviction. It's a trying time; and even though you are acquitted of the charges and set free, aggressive prosecution has left you with a stigma some of the public believes is true.

Some of our California readers may recognize the situation above as the one recently gone through by David Barajas, the father who was accused of killing the drunk driver who had killed his two sons. But looking at the evidence against him, some say he should have never been accused in the first place, which could have saved him from the negative reactions he has been getting from the public.

The negative reaction from the public stems from how prosecutors laid out the case. As some of you may remember, prosecutors presented the theory that the father had left the scene of the crash to shoot the driver then returned before police arrived. But residue tests for gun powder turned up nothing and aside from a gun holder and some bullets at the Barajas' home, no murder weapon was ever found.

But despite these facts and the eventual acquittal, some people in the community are still labeling the innocent man a killer. According to an article in the U.K. Daily Mail, Barajas is afraid to return to his home, fearing that he will become the victim of a revenge attack. It's fallout like this that further highlights the need for fair prosecution and the problems overly aggressive prosecution can cause innocent people.

Sources: KXAN News, "Lawyer: No evidence tied to drunken driver’s death," Juan A. Lozano, Aug. 25, 2014

TIME Magazine, "Man Acquitted of Charges He Shot Drunk Driver Who Killed His Sons," Alexandra Sifferlin, Aug. 27, 2014

KPRC Houston, "Dr. Phil talks to David Barajas about murder trial, sons' deaths," Sept. 10, 2014

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