That reminds me of the The Invisible Gorilla and change blindness. They had a writeup somewhere about a cop who beat up a black officer (killed him?) when chasing another black. He claimed he thought his co-officer was the bad guy. He was convicted. But, the TIG guys wanted to explain it as change blindness as everything the guy said fits in with the theory.
Not saying that is what happened here. But, there might be something similar going on, at least in part.