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Man who was facing death penalty was saved thanks to one-in-a-million sitcom footage

Man who was facing death penalty was saved thanks to one-in-a-million sitcom footage

He was saved by unaired footage from a sitcom

A man who was facing death row for the murder of a teenage girl was found not guilty after some unusual, vital evidence was found showing he had a solid alibi.

Juan Catalan was arrested and charged with the murder of 16-year-old Martha Puebla, who was shot to death on the doorstep of her LA home in May 2003 - but had his name clear thanks to the HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm. You can see a trailer for the documentary about the remarkable story here:

Cops believed Catalan had carried out a hit on the teen on orders from Puebla's ex-boyfriend, Jose Ledesma, and Catalan’s brother, Mario.

He was arrested, charged and spent six months in jail awaiting trial where, had he been found guilty, he could have received the death penalty.

Catalan insisted he was innocent and that he had been at Dodger’s baseball game with his six-year-old daughter on the night of murder - giving him a solid alibi.

But his legal team were unable to find anything to back up his story and put Catalan in the clear.

Until they got a bit of help from Larry David, because, somewhat incredibly, an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (season four’s The Car Pool Lane, where Larry David hires a prostitute who then gets his father high on pot) was filmed in the stadium that night.

Juan Catalan was arrested and charged with the murder.

And unaired footage filmed for the episode showed Catalan at the game, which, of course, corroborated Catalan's alibi, the DA was forced to drop the murder charges and award him a settlement of $320,000 (£239,179).

The incredible case was covered in Netflix’s 2017 true-crime documentary The Long Shot.

Filmmaker Jacob LaMendola said it took five years to get the documentary made but added: “I knew that it was worth taking the time to tell it correctly.”

During an interview with the Indiewire in 2017, LaMendola said it took him a ‘long time’ to earn Catalan’s trust to feature in the documentary.

Larry David in The Long Shot.

And that was just half the battle - he then had to get David on board.

He revealed: “The very first thing he said when he got on the phone was, ‘There’s no way that I would ever be a part of this’.

“I think I just went into shock… We had gone so far, we had every piece, and I just didn’t want it to end.”

When LaMendola started to explain how much effort he had invested into getting the film off the ground, David asked: “So wait, you just want to interview me?” to which LaMendola said yes and David replied, “‘Okay, I’ll do it.’”

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Netflix, True crime