HOUSTON (KTRK) --A man wrongfully accused in a deadly hit-and-run is now ready to team up with the victim's family to help catch the real killer.
Matthew Putterman was charged with failure to stop and render aide earlier this month in connection to the death of Michael Alex Hill. Hill was run over and killed by a driver while crossing Westheimer just after midnight on January 8. Grainy video showed a dark colored vehicle leaving the scene with one headlight on.
About a week later, police charged Putterman all the way near Canada. Putterman was visiting a friend in Canada who he said was going to help him fix his damaged vehicle. Police said they found text messages on Putterman's phone where he admitted to getting in to an accident near Katy on January 11. Investigators states they found no reports of that accident and took the texts as a confession to Hill's death days earlier.
"I was in holding cells after holding cells. I was being held and questioned about something that I did not do," said Putterman.
Putterman had to prove it. He begged detectives to pull surveillance video from the coffee plant near downtown Houston where he worked. He said the video would show his car was not damaged in the hours after Hill was hit and killed. Detectives did. And set him free.
"I was like what? I was like, uh... that's awesome," said Putterman.
It was a relief, but Putterman said the damage was done, and the nightmare was far from over.
"There was a lady that came on my Facebook page and told me "Rot in hell. We have you now, we're going to go after your sister," said Putterman.
It's been a week since his release, Putterman set he's struggling. He said his character is ruined and he almost lost his job.
"My biggest concern was how was I going to get back on my feet? How was I going to be able to put this behind me," said Putterman.
His plan now is to refocus. Putterman offered a gesture that no one saw coming. He extended his hand to the Hill family in hopes of joining them in finding Hill's killer.
"I want to do whatever I can to help catch this guy. This guy does not deserve to be free. You're a monster. That's all I can describe him. How are you going to leave another person to die?" he said.
Putterman said he's also ready to join forces with Crime Stoppers. He said he wants to raise money to that he can add to the $5,000 reward that's being offered right now.