Dallas County Sheriff’s Office / AP
A former Dallas police officer accused of killing for death, who allegedly ordered three men to kill two people in 2017, has been released after charges against him were dropped.
During the preliminary hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors from the Dallas County Attorney’s Office said they did not have enough evidence or a probable reason to continue the case against Brian Raiser.
“Where we are today as a district attorney, we don’t think there’s a sufficiently probable cause for this case,” Dallas County Attorney Jason Fine told the judge, according to a local CBS affiliate.
Judge Audrey Moorhead agreed.
The 36-year-old was arrested last month, years after he was first charged with plotting to assassinate Albert Douglas, 61, and Lisa Saenz, 31, a woman who once lived with Raiser’s father.
Saenz’s body was found in a river on March 10, 2017 with multiple gunshot wounds. Douglas’ body was never found, but his family said he disappeared in February 2017.
As NPR reported:
“Three men were arrested and charged with Saenz’s murder in September 2017. One of them later told authorities that Riser had offered him $ 3,500 to abduct and kill Douglas, according to a police statement he claimed. Riser later turned to the man again, offering to pay him $ 6,000 to kill Saenz, whom he described as an “informant.” “
A police detective initially testified in an affidavit that there was evidence of cell phones linking Raiser to the killings, but at a witness stand Wednesday, the same officer admitted that the statement was made in error.
“If we get to the point in any case, no matter who the defendant is, no matter who the witnesses are, we think there is not a sufficiently probable cause, we have to warn the defense and warn the court. We have to do something. We can’t just sit.” added Fine later according to the local NBC affiliate.
Dallas police said the investigation remains open and that new charges could be filed in the future.
Following the judge’s ruling, Riser’s lawyer Toby Shock told reporters he wanted an internal review of the trial leading to his client’s arrest.
“I hope this investigation will be addressed and how this decision was made so quickly to arrest him, which caused this whole thing,” Shock said.
Riser was relieved to speak to reporters on his way out of Dallas County Jail.
“I loved and respected this department, they didn’t respect and embarrass me and my family. I was 100% innocent from the beginning. I just want to go be with my family,” he said.
Riser’s wife, Ebony Samuel-Riser, said, “The truth is finally coming out.”
She continued: “[Dallas Police Department] at this point he owes us an apology. “