Man Speaks Out About Mistaken Identity

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Rafael Munoz said that he still cannot believe it.

"I used to see these things on TV and see people say it wasn't them and I was like, it was them, but when you are in that experience and you got a million dollar bail and I knew it wasn't me, come on. There`s people who are in jail who are actually innocent and it's just mistaken identity," said Munoz from the Luzerne County jail.

He spoke with Newswatch 16 Wednesday afternoon.

Munoz, 39, was arrested last week and charged with stealing a grill from Home Depot in Wilkes-Barre. It was, he said, a stupid mistake; one that led to something more.

Wilkes-Barre police said they ran Munoz's fingerprints and picture and came back with a warrant out of Fort Worth, Texas. Munoz was accused of a 2002 homicide.

"I'm just trying to take something and all of a sudden I'm being blamed for taking someone's life. That`s real crazy."

This was not the first time Munoz was accused of that same thing.

He said back around 2005, he was stopped while driving by a Philadelphia police officer who ran his name and came back with the same warrant, but Munoz said officials from Texas looked at his picture, said he was not their man and promised the mistake would not be made again, but it was.

This time, Munoz was locked up on more than a million dollars bail as a fugitive from justice until officials from Texas arrived at the Luzerne County Jail to check him out over the weekend.

"Never been to Texas, I've never been to Texas," said Munoz.

Newswatch 16 contacted police in Fort Worth, Texas to find out what went wrong. They did not answer our questions as of Wednesday night.

As for Munoz, he is still locked up on probation violation and retail theft charges, and he promises to make sure the mistake is fixed.

"People tell me get a lawyer, get this fixed and I plan to do that. Somebody is messing up. I guarantee you if they live-scan me again, that stuff is probably still there."

Munoz is due in court Thursday for a hearing on that misdemeanor retail theft charge.

After that, he says he expects to be sent back to Philadelphia to serve time for the probation charge.