Raul Casanova did his time for shooting and paralyzing a teenager during an argument in 1991.
But in 1996, while Casanova was serving seven years in a maximum security prison for attempted murder, his victim died from pneumonia at the age of 23.On the day of Casanova's scheduled release from prison last month, a grand jury indicted him for first-degree murder in Jose Ojeda's death. He pleaded not guilty Thursday.
"His death was a direct result of being shot by Mr. Casanova," said John Powers, an assistant district attorney. "What makes this case unique is that Mr. Ojeda succumbed to his injuries six years later."
Powers said autopsy results showed Ojeda, who was paralyzed from the neck down and needed a ventilator to breathe, died from respiratory distress related to being on a ventilator.
If prosecutors have their way, Casanova, now 25, may never see freedom, though defense attorneys say the new charge violates Casanova's constitutional protection from being tried twice for the same crime.