UPDATE: A local man is trying to clear his name after police in Houston pinned a 2010 murder on him. When a Whitfield County deputy pulled the man over a few weeks ago, they thought he was the same man wanted in Texas.
His family said Jose Leandro Jimenez has no ties to Texas and they have the pictures to prove he was in Dalton, Georgia the day of the murder.
Family photos of Jose Leandro Jimenez and his three young children prove he was in Georgia on January 1, 2010. “At first I was like oh my god how am I going to get evidence from that day. Since it was a holiday, I was going back and looking through pictures and then I got them,” said Jimenez’s wife.
He was arrested earlier this month and booked under the name of Leandro Lozano Jiminez, a man wanted for a New Year's Day murder in Houston,Texas. “I know who I married; I know who the father of my kids is. I know he has never been in Texas, no way.”
His attorney said there was a mix-up in identity. Both men have similar characteristics. “Height, age, weight, maybe the same birthday, eye, and hair color,” said Attorney Sam Sanders.
Sam Sanders requested fingerprints from Houston to prove Jose was innocent. “Did the comparison and were able to find from a scientific stand point that these were two different men. Two different men, not the guy they were looking for.”
His wife thinks the taillight issue is not the real reason he was pulled over in the first place. “Most Mexicans are darker skinned, black hair black eyes, are you serious?” said his wife.
She's frustrated over the stress this caused. “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. He was called guilty right away.”
She looks forward to the day he returns home. “It’s hard, mostly because when your kids are used to being with their dad, it's really hard.”
Jose Leandro Jimenez remains in the Whitfield County Jail pending a bond hearing for forgery and traffic charges. The Whitfield County Sheriff said Jimenez used a false ID and a stolen social security number. He said he has been living in Dalton under a different name.
Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.
UPDATE: A man being held in a Whitfield County jail is no longer a suspect in a Texas murder. The case became more complicated because of the similarity in the names between the Texas suspect and the man currently in custody in Whitfield County.
The Texas suspect is named Leandro Lozano Jiminez. The man in Whitfield County jail is named Jose Leandro Jimenez Arredono, which may have added to the confusion.
Fingerprint analysis shows that Jose Leandro Lozano Jiminez's prints did not match evidence found at a 2010 New Year's Day murder in Houston.
The Whitfield County Sheriff's Office says that Jimenez has been hiding out in Dalton since 2011, using three different names and that he fled to Dalton from Houston.
Jimenez was stopped by deputies for a broken tail light.
He told deputies he didn't have a driver's license and his name was Jose Jimenez. He was arrested and it was during the fingerprinting process, booking officers realized he wasn't who he said he was. “Providing one name, upon finger printing him and doing an investigation, the fingerprints came back to a second name,” said Sheriff Scott Chitwood.
His true identity was then discovered. “Surprise to us, certainly surprise to his employer, truth be known probably to neighbors where he lived.” Police identified the man as 27-year-old Leandro Lozano Jimenez, who was originally a suspect in a murder and aggravated assault in Houston, Texas more than six years ago. “We've run into it before. Certainly shows people within reason and stay 1/2 way straight they can stay below the radar,” said Chitwood.
Houston police initially believed that Jimenez shot and killed an 18-year-old with a .40 caliber handgun and then fled.
But the fingerprints proved otherwise.
Chitwood isn’t sure why he picked North Georgia or where he was employed, but he said Jimenez was working and living here. “Don't know the details, I don't know the connection, I don't know what he came to Dalton, I don't know what brought him here.”