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Juan Catalan: How Did An LA Dodgers Game Change His Life Drastically?

by YourDailyHunt.com
Juan Catalan

A loyal follower of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he knew that his team’s closer in that long-ago 2003 season, Canadian Eric Gagne, hardly missed the diamond, but on the night of May 12, the pitcher was a disaster and life of a man of Hispanic origin would change radically. The documentary ‘Long Shot’, available on Netflix, tells the story of Juan Ignacio Catalán, a man with a troublesome life during his youth, who, because he was with the wrong people, at a bad time, was about to be sentenced to death, had it not been for that game that the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 11-4 to the Atlanta Braves and a cheap comedy shoot. Let’s find out more about him.

Juan Catalan: His Amazing Story

Did Juan Catalan have a criminal past?

Juan Catalan was involved in Grand Theft Auto, pushed by his older brother, for which he was arrested and marked with a criminal record that would later aggravate his situation, but that he was able to get rid of thanks to a tape that placed him in Dodger Stadium, in a jersey of then-pitcher Kevin Brown.

How did Juan Catalan get in legal trouble?

The problem came on August 12, 2003, when Juan was arrested by the police, accused of having murdered Martha Puebla, a teenager who testified against her older brother in a murder trial. From that moment on, a series of errors by the accusing party, the desperation of the accused and his family due to an unfair accusation would be combined as a fundamental part of the investigation.

Who defended Juan Catalan in the court?

Todd Melnik was Catalan’s lawyer and after questioning him, he realized that the pass to his freedom or to the gallows would be to verify that his client had been one of the 27, 458 fans who were present at the Dodgers Stadium on the day of the murder.

To achieve this, the defender went to Sam Fernández, of the Dodgers’ legal team, and with the HBO production company that had recorded an episode of a comedy program that was broadcast that day.

Where was Juan Catalan imprisoned?

The days passed and while the presence of Catalán could not be verified in the game and not near the crime scene, the Hispanic man lived hours of terror in a maximum security prison.

Melnik found his client in a poor quality Dodgers tape, but in the recording of the program, just he and his daughter crossed each other in a scene without ever knowing that they were in the middle of a film, that managed to give him his freedom, thus such as the location of his cell phone, in a call to his girlfriend Alma Oseguera, from an antenna located near the Los Angeles stadium.

In the end, Juan Catalán was released, received 320 thousand dollars in compensation and those who accused him of cheating were dismissed. 

Who were the actual murderers?

Thus, this man fought the safe death penalty and the true culprits, four gang members, were captured and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Martha Puebla, the night of the first defeat of the 2003 season for pitcher Eric Gagne and the third home run by Mexican Vinicio Castilla.

How did Juan Catalan get in trouble at the Dodgers game?

Juan Catalán’s life changed forever the day he attended a Los Angeles Dodgers game with his little daughter. Juan Catalan is the name of the protagonist of the documentary ‘ Long Shot’, elaborate production by Netflix, which tells the story of how he escaped the death penalty for having attended a Los Angeles Dodgers game, on 12 May 2003. Catalán was arrested on May 13, 2003, a day after the game, accused of the murder of Martha Puebla, a 16-year-old girl who had testified in a trial against Juan’s older brother. With everything against him, and with the prosecutor, Beth Silverman, who wanted the death penalty to be applied, the defense lawyer, Todd Melnik managed to corroborate that Juan Catalán had sat in one of the 27,548 seats occupied that night in Dodger Stadium, where the home team fell 11-4 to the Atlanta Braves. 

How did Juan Catalan escape conviction?

Thanks to a series of tapes from the production of an HBO series, which on May 12, 2003, recorded a chapter in the house of the Los Angeles painting, the lawyer was able to verify that Juan was in the stands. Still, authorities continued to blame him as the crime was committed minutes after the LA game ended. Even his daughter had to testify in court, assuring that after the game they stayed to buy baseball cards. In the end, the trace of a call proved the Mexican right. Juan Catalan was released from custody after a trial that lasted for six months. 

What compensation did Juan Catalan receive?

He sued the city of Los Angeles and was compensated with $320,000 due to the mismanagement of the detectives in charge of the case. Both Juan Rodríguez and Martín Pinner admitted that they tried to coerce a false confession out of Catalan. This documentary came out in 2017, 14 years after what happened. The FBI took up the case and arrested and convicted Javier Covarrubias, Raúl Robledo and Juan Ledesma, members of the criminal gang, The Vineland Boyz, for the murder of Martha Puebla.

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