MILWAUKEE (AP) — A judge on Monday vacated the sentence of a Milwaukee man who spent more than a year in prison before admitting he took the blame for a fatal hit-and-run to protect his son.
Juan Silva Sr., now 45, had been sentenced to five years in prison, based on his confession. Under oath Monday, he told the true story in court, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Silva turned himself in to police the day after the September 2013 crash outside a tavern, which killed a pedestrian and injured another. He told police he had faulty windshield wipers and remembered hitting something. The father eventually pleaded guilty to hit-and-run involving death and was sentenced in May 2014.
But on Thursday, prosecutors charged his son, 22-year-old Juan Silva Jr., with the crime. The son faces three felony counts, including hit-and-run involving death, and is due back in court Aug. 3.
In late June, a co-worker of the father’s wife told police the woman said her husband was behind bars for a hit-and-run he didn’t commit to keep their son free.
A police officer started investigating which crash the co-worker was talking about and determined it was the 2013 crash that killed 39-year-old Juan Zapata-Guerrero, a father of three.
Interviewed in prison, the elder Silva admitted the truth, according to the complaint. The younger Silva then acknowledged he was the driver and that his father had lied, the complaint said.
On Monday, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Dugan — the same judge who had sentenced the elder Silva — vacated the father’s sentence. Dugan said while being untruthful in a courtroom is serious, it was best to release the father so attention can shift solely to his son.
Assistant District Attorney Grant Huebner said last week he does not expect to file charges related to the deception.
The senior Silva could be released from jail in the next few days, said his attorney, Hans Koesser.