Jason Guzman

County of Conviction:

Convicted of:





case details

Jason Guzman was wrongly convicted of a shooting based on an eyewitness misidentification. We now know the true perpetrator and The Innocence Center is working to prove his innocence in court.

Police found Raul Alegria’s body on the afternoon of September 11, 1995, in Los Angeles, California. He had been shot multiple times, one of which was deadly, piercing his lungs. Raul was a member of the Avenues gang who were known enemies of the Highland Park gang.  Jason Guzman was a Highland Park member. 

Police eventually determined Raul was shot around 2:30 p.m.  Nearby witnesses heard the shots and saw Michael Navarro driving a yellow station wagon while fleeing the scene. A “concerned citizen” told the police that they heard on the street that Guzman was in the car and was the shooter.

During the shooting, Jason Guzman was at home taking care of his girlfriend Angela’s child.  Guzman’s neighbor confirmed this, having been at Jason’s apartment to use his phone around the same time.

The main evidence against Guzman was the testimony of an eyewitness who claimed to have seen Jason laughing in the yellow station wagon after the shooting. However, the person described by the witness didn’t have a big tattoo on the back of their head like Guzman had.  The witness also couldn’t identify Guzman in a police lineup. Another witness, a police deputy, said he overheard Guzman earlier that day talking about dealing with a problem in the neighborhood that “he was going to have to take care of.”  However, the person Guzman allegedly talked to denied it and questioned why Guzman would say something incriminating in front of a deputy.

Angela was also questioned by the police after the shooting.  She originally confirmed Guzman was home watching her daughter, but after police pressured her and threatened to have her children taken away from her, she told them Guzman confessed to her.  The prosecution heavily relied on Angela’s testimony.  She took back her statements almost immediately, and, to this day, maintains Guzman never confessed to her. Dr. Richard Ofshe, an expert on police interrogation, determined that the tactics police used while questioning Angela made her statement about his confession very unreliable.  

Lastly, the shooter’s route used to flee the scene doesn’t make sense if Guzman was involved. If Guzman was involved and had to flee the scene in the direction the eyewitness saw the yellow station wagon go, the route would have been much longer than other options, and it would have forced him to pass the crime scene again and risk encountering police.

Post-conviction investigation revealed the real shooter’s identity. Now, litigators at The Innocence Center are working to overturn Guzman’s wrongful conviction and plan to present this new evidence in an evidentiary hearing in 2024.

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