On October 6, 1998, eighteen year old Riley Haeling was fatally wounded, and fifteen year old Jennifer Salmon was shot twice but survived, in a drug related burglary in a suburb of Sacramento, California. Months after the crime, twenty-one year old David Quindt was implicated as a suspect by a fellow gang member, John Anderson. Anderson claimed he had provided Quindt with two guns the day before the shooting, one of which matched the caliber of the gun used at the scene of the crime. Quindt was arrested in mid-February, 1999.
Quindt was a known gang member with a juvenile criminal history, and he resembled a composite sketch drawn with the assistance of the surviving victim. Quindt was put on trial and positively identified by Salmon as the killer. Based almost exclusively on this eyewitness testimony, Quindt was convicted by a jury on December 2, 1999, of first degree murder, attempted murder, and robbery.
Before Quindt was sentenced, an informant – motivated by a $10,000 reward offered by the Haeling family – contacted investigators and implicated three other individuals in the crime. Further investigation led to the identification of the real criminals and eventually all three were convicted. Quindt was released from jail on May 22, 2000, and on the same day the district attorney’s office moved to vacate the conviction on the ground that the real criminals had been identified. He received $17,200 in compensation for his incarceration from the State of California.