Former Dallas policeman Bryan Riser is a free man after charges against him for allegedly orchestrating two murders were thrown out by a judge.
At a preliminary hearing Wednesday morning, Dallas County Criminal Court Judge Audrey Moorehead agreed with the district attorney’s office that there was insufficient evidence for the case against Riser to continue.
“We have an obligation — under the United States Constitution, under the Texas Constitution, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, under our duty as prosecutors — to see that justice is done,” prosecutor Jason Fine said in court, according to the New York Times.
“If we get to a point in any case, no matter who the defendant is, no matter who the witnesses are, that we feel there is insufficient probable cause, we have to alert the defense and alert the court,” Fine continued. “And we have to do something — we can’t just sit by.”
Murder charges against Riser were announced during a press conference in early March.
In announcing the charges, Dallas Police Chief Edgardo Garcia said Riser allegedly hired someone to kidnap and kill both Albert Douglas, 61, and Liza Saenz, 31.
Saenz, police have said, was a confidential informant.
Riser was ordered held on $5 million bond following his arrest.
One of the three men charged with committing Saenz’s killing implicated Riser more than two years ago.
The man claimed he and Riser had been longtime friends who had allegedly robbed houses together years earlier. After reconnecting in 2013, the man alleged Riser offered him cash to kill Douglas, whose body has never been found.
Douglas was abducted in early 2017, fatally shot and dumped in the Trinity River, the man said.
The witness also claimed Riser offered him $6,000 to kidnap and kill Saenz. Her body was pulled from a river on March 10, 2017. She died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Authorities in Texas say the investigation into both murders remains ongoing.
Riser’s lawyer, Toby Shook, spoke to the Times about the ruling.
“Obviously, he is very grateful that the charges were discharged,” Shook said. “He was fired, and his reputation was ruined, so he needs to start taking steps to rebuild his life.”
We’re not sure if we’re supposed to be surprised or not.