In 1994, two men armed with guns broke into the Lynn, Massachusetts home of two men. After the armed men entered they apartment, they bound one of the victim’s hands with a telephone cord and covered his face with a shirt. When the victim was able to untie his hands, he went to the bathroom to see that his brother had been shot and killed.
The victim identified one of the gunmen after looking through police photo books that contained roughly 1,200 pictures. He had described his assailants as stocky and clean shaven. Days later, at a barber shop, the victim saw Echavarria, who had a beard and was quite skinny. He then notified the police that Echavarria and the person he was with at the barber shop were the gunmen from his apartment. Echavarria was also identified by another witness, who claimed that he saw Echavarria holding a gun in the apartment. Echavarria’s lawyer never called him to the witness stand, and he was sentenced to life without parole.
In 2008, DNA testing was preformed on the telephone cords. Echavarria’s DNA was not a match for the two DNA profiles that were present. Echavarria was then granted a new trial in 2014. In his new trial, the judge noted that the eyewitness identification was questionable due to the witnesses drug problem at the time. He also stated that Echavarria’s original lawyer made mistakes by not having Echavarria testify after telling the jury he would. Charges were dropped against Echavarria on June 15th, 2015.