FORT MYERS, FL – The man arrested for the murder of Danny Jimenez in Lehigh Acres last week has been released and the supposed eyewitness to the crime is now in jail on obstruction charges.
Lazaro Hernandez was charged with murder after deputies got information from the witness, who Hernandez’s attorney identified as Erick Torres, describing a gun battle in a house at 1109 Corry Street E.
But attorney Rene Suarez says Hernandez was at home playing dominoes with family members at the time of the crime – and they have surveillance video that proves it.
“His face was plastered all over as a murderer and now he wants his face to be exonerated and innocent of all charges,” said Suarez.
Suarez says Hernandez was released from jail Wednesday around 7 pm – after being housed in a wing of the facility holding prisoners deemed to be the most dangerous.
A spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office confirmed Thursday that they sought to have Hernandez released from custody on Wednesday.
The State Attorney’s Office was in the process of reviewing the case and had not yet filed it. On Wednesday, LCSO detectives viewed surveillance video taken from Hernandez’s residence during the timeframe of the murder, according to the State Attorney’s office.
Detectives then re-interviewed Torres who recanted his original statement – and now claims someone else was the shooter and that Hernandez was not involved, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff’s office records show Torres was booked for providing false information about a felony.
The initial story deputies released said Jimenez and the witness, who they did not identify, were at the Corry Street E. address waiting for Hernandez to complete a drug deal.
The transaction went wrong, according to the story, and they said Hernandez picked up a gun on the counter and shot the supposed witness, saying, “This is so you don’t come after me.”
The witness suffered a leg wound, according to deputies. The man claimed Hernandez then went upstairs after Jimenez, and after exchanging fire fatally wounded him.
Deputies cited criminal charges that Jimenez had filed against Hernandez’s brother-in-law as the motive.
But Hernandez’s attorney says Torres knew the details of that case – and that’s why he thought to blame the murder on his client.
So far, Torres only faces the obstruction charge.
The exoneration came after Hernandez’s lawyer read the reports in the case and talked to Hernandez’s wife – who mentioned the surveillance video system inside the home. That’s when Suarez called the prosecutor.
The video showed Hernandez was home with his wife and young children – nowhere near the victim.
The case is still an active investigation, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, which is not commenting on it.