A plea deal has been reached in the re-trial of David Flores.
The deal means the charge of first degree murder has been dismissed but amended charges of attempted murder, terrorism, and voluntary manslaughter have been filed.
Flores has agreed to an Alford plea on those three charges, which means he doesn’t admit guilt but realizes there is enough evidence to convict him in the case.
Flores said he was 90% confident the jury would have acquitted him but didn’t want to risk it. He added, “I did not participate in the shootout which resulted in the death of Phyllis Davis.”
“I had nothing to do with her murder. I am innocent. I have been maintaining my innocence and fighting for my freedom for 17 years. That hasn’t changed. This deal ensures my immediate freedom while allowing me to maintain my innocence,” Flores said during the hearing.
“The fact that David Flores will now be released is absolute justice,” says his attorney Robert Montgomery. “That is why he did this deal.”
Flores’ father, Angel commented after the agreement was reached, “We're just happy that David is home and well leave it at that.”
Flores was originally convicted of murder in the 1996 shooting death of Phyllis Davis. In 2009 he was granted a new trial by the Iowa Court of Appeals after new evidence in the case was brought to light.
In 2012 Flores was released from prison. He had been free on bond until shortly before his trial began, but the company that paid the bond revoked it and he returned to jail.
Sentencing has been set for Thursday but the deal includes guidelines agreed to by the defense and the prosecution, not to exceed a sentence of 35 years. It could mean Flores is released immediately based on time served. The Iowa Department of Corrections will make that determination based on its calculations of good behavior.
Flores has already served 17 years in prison.
The deal also means Flores waives the right to appeal the conviction.
The Davis family was in court Tuesday, but left without any comment.
There have been multiple opportunities for the prosecution and defense to reach a plea deal. The question is, why now?
“I think they wanted something and we wanted to get it resolved and I think this is a fair resolution,” says Polk County Attorney John Sarcone. He believes his office has always had the right person but in this case, he cares more about Phyllis Davis' family and friends and getting the case resolved for them.
“I think it is a just result and my hope is that they can finally put this behind them the healing process is complete. [The family] don`t have to have the scabbed ripped off their pain again and on the other hand, I hope Mr. Flores has a very successful good life, that he doesn`t engage in criminal activity and spends the rest of his years doing good things,” Sarcone added.
As for the allegations police and prosecutors withheld evidence from defense attorneys, Sarcone says that's absolutely not true.