May 26, 2016
Leslie Merritt Jr. spent 222 days locked up before charges were dismissed and he was eventually released after being arrested as the suspect in a string of sniper shootings on an Arizona freeway.
Now, in an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil, Merritt is speaking out about his arrest and his time behind bars.
“When you went to jail, how’d you get along with the other prisoners?” Dr. Phil asks.
WATCH: Accused Arizona Freeway Sniper Recalls The Day He Was Arrested While He Says He Was Buying Diapers For His Daughter
“I kind of tried to keep to myself. You’d have some guys that are like, ‘Oh we know you’re innocent. Hopefully you can beat this.’ And you have the other guys, ‘We know you did this. You’re a dirtball,’” Merritt says. “For me, jail was kind of like a mental torture.”
In fact, Merritt claims, he was put into solitary confinement from the very start of his sentence.
WATCH: Why Leslie Merritt Jr. Says It’s Impossible He Was The Arizona Freeway Sniper
“[They thought] that it was a liability for me to be around other inmates,” he explains. “I was alone … It was hard.”
Watch the video above as Merritt describes the size and condition of his cell, where he says he spent seven months.
This episode of Dr. Phil airs Thursday.