DES MOINES - A man accused in a Des Moines businesswoman's 1996 slaying who later reached a plea deal with prosecutors was released from jail Thursday, according to court records.
David Flores, who maintains his innocence, sobbed as he made statements hours earlier during his sentencing for the death of Phyllis Davis, The Des Moines Register reported. He was given a 35-year sentence but released hours later from the Polk County Jail.
The sentence and subsequent release, which was expected, were part of a deal reached Tuesday with prosecutors that lowered Flores' charges and allowed him to give an Alford plea. This means he doesn't admit to the act but acknowledges there is enough evidence for prosecutors to convict him. "I may have had a bad childhood and I may have made some bad decisions when I was young but I'm not a killer," Flores said during sentencing.
The plea deal came just before jury selection for his retrial, the newspaper reported.
"I've already lost all of my 20s and I've already lost half of my 30s," said Flores, who's now 36. "I'm not giving them anymore. This is the first time in 17 years that the choice has been mine and I'm choosing freedom. God has given me that choice."
The 16 years that he spent in prison after first being convicted were enough for him to be released now after officials from the Iowa Department of Corrections reviewed the case.
Flores was convicted of first-degree murder and sent to prison in 1997. He was granted a new trial in 2009 after additional evidence and testimony were presented that pointed to a now-deceased gang member, Rafael Robinson, as a key suspect. Des Moines police later acknowledged that they did not give defense attorneys an FBI report that pointed to Robinson.