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“Gang members are easy targets,” she said. “They are the usual suspects. This is a story we hear repeatedly. Witnesses say what they think authorities want to hear. It’s terrifying to see people wrongly convicted but also to see the carnage on our streets. Police react to that carnage.”

O'Connor credited the district attorney’s office with working to get the truth once they became aware of the case.

As for Smith, O'Connor said he wants to get a job and start his life anew.