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Unused Curb Your Enthusiasm Footage Proved Innocence Of Man Who Faced Death Row For Killing Teen Girl

Anish Vij

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Unused Curb Your Enthusiasm Footage Proved Innocence Of Man Who Faced Death Row For Killing Teen Girl

A man who faced death row and spent nearly 6 months in jail for the murder of a teenage girl was found not guilty of the crime when his lawyer found vital evidence in some unused footage from a popular TV show.

Fans of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm will be pleased to know, if they didn't already, that this mind-blowing story has been told in Netflix's 2017 true-crime documentary, Long Shot.

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Long Shot highlights the remarkable story of how Juan Catalan's name was cleared for the murder of 16-year-old girl Martha Puebla, who was shot to death on the doorstep of her LA home in May 2003.

The police claimed that Catalan was the one who carried out the hit with the orders of Puebla's ex-boyfriend, Jose Ledesma and Catalan’s brother Mario.

If found guilty, he would have potentially received the death penalty.

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

But Catalan strongly insisted he had been at a Dodger’s baseball game with his 6 year old daughter on the night of the murder - a usually strong alibi.

However, his lawyers initially struggled to find the footage at the time which would clear his name.

But it just so happened that an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (season four’s The Car Pool Lane, where Larry David hires a prostitute who then gets his father high on pot) happened to be filming on the same night that Catalan was supposed to be at the stadium.

Pretty amazing, right?

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

When the footage was found and thus proved Catalan's innocence, the DA was forced to drop the murder charges and award him a settlement of $320,000 (£239,179).

And this isn't the first time an innocent person has faced death row.

In 1991, Jimmy Dennis was arrested and charged with the murder of 17-year-old Chedell Williams. 

Despite the fact that there was no physical evidence or DNA linking him to the crime, no gun suggested to have been involved in the shooting, and no car associated in the perpetrator's getaway, Dennis was sentenced to death and began the prison sentence that would consume the prime of his life.

Jimmy faced execution down on two occasions. Credit: Justice For Jimmy
Jimmy faced execution down on two occasions. Credit: Justice For Jimmy

Eventually after years of struggle from within the prison system and from those who supported his innocence on the outside, a team of judges at the US Federal Appeals Court ruled that the State of Pennsylvania had to either release Jimmy or start a new trial. 

Instead of that, the prosecutors offered him a heart-wrenching choice. Plead no contest to a third-degree murder charge and leave the jail immediately, or spend further years inside to contest the trial and receive his absolution. 

He chose freedom and was eventually released in 2017.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Crime, Netflix, TV and Film

Anish Vij
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