David Bueso, 19

David Bueso always maintained his innocence in the fatal 2017 bludgeoning of his ex-roommate in Baton Rouge, even after a jury voted 11-1 to convict him of second-degree murder in 2019 and he was sentenced to life in prison.

The conviction and sentence were overturned after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed non-unanimous jury verdicts in April 2020, and this week the charges against him were dismissed. An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury declined to re-indict Bueso, 23, on the murder charge.

"The District Attorney’s Office received new information after the guilty verdict was rendered in 2019 and based upon that information felt that justice required that our office take the case back before the Grand Jury," East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Thursday

Moore sad the panel heard the case Wednesday and did not indict Bueso.

"Accordingly, we dismissed the charges against David Bueso," he said.

Bueso had stated at his sentencing in May 2019 that he and Jhoel Tercero Brisuela, 22, were the victims of an armed robbery inside Brisuela's Coy Avenue apartment in the Gardere area.

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“I’m a victim too,” Bueso told the judge, adding that he didn’t murder his “best friend.”

Kyla Blanchard-Romanach, one of Bueso’s appellate attorneys, said Thursday that a terrible wrong has been righted.

"He was innocent and it's a shame it took four years for that to come to light," she said. "The District Attorney's Office got it wrong initially, but I'm glad they corrected the error."

Prosecutor Morgan Johnson argued at Bueso’s trial that he killed Brisuela during a “cowardly ambush” while the victim slept on Aug. 5, 2017. She suggested Bueso murdered Brisuela in a dispute over money. Bueso was jobless while he roomed with Brisuela, and was supposed to pay half the rent, the prosecutor said.

Johnson also suggested to the jury that a 24-inch machete found in a bathroom next to a spray bottle of bleach was the murder weapon, but Bueso’s DNA was not discovered on the machete. Bueso’s DNA and Brisuela’s blood, however, were found on the bottle, she said.

Bueso told detectives where they could find the pants he was wearing the night Brisuela was killed, and Brisuela's blood was discovered on those jeans.

Brisuela died of blunt-force trauma to the head. He suffered skull fractures and bruises of the brain.

Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.