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The key exculpatory witnesses were in Mexico and unreachable.

Also, a doctor testified at both trials that he was treating Bustos in Mexico on the day of the murder.

In reviewing Bustos’ case, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office worked hard to make sure all pertinent exculpatory facts were fairly considered, and agreed to amend Bustos’ conviction in a way that facilitated his release in exchange for the plea.

This is the reason why Bustos pled no contest to a crime he didn’t commit. “Whatever days God has left for my grandmother, I want to spend them with her.” In 1996 in Modesto, four men were in a car when the front passenger turned around and shot and killed the passenger in the seat directly behind him.

From the moment evidence pointing to Bustos’ innocence emerged, the trial prosecutor tried, more than once, to bring it to the court’s attention.However, the taped statement was not admitted because it was considered “hearsay” and the driver couldn’t be called to testify in person because he had fled to Mexico.At the second trial’s conclusion, Bustos was convicted of murder and sentenced to 29 years to life in prison.The other back seat passenger, the victim’s brother-in-law, went to the police.He described the killer, whom he did not know, as a light-skinned, 40-something man weighing about 180 pounds.

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