A Dallas County judge said there was no probable cause and ordered the release of Bryan Riser after he was charged two counts of capital murder.
- Former Dallas police officer accused of murder just released from jail. This happened within the last half hour. Our JD Miles right outside the Dallas County Jail where Bryan Riser walked free just a short time ago. JD, walk us through what happened and why we're at this point.
JD MILES: Doug, Bryan Riser walked out of the Dallas County Jail, as you said, about 15 minutes ago. We have some video of it. We're going to show you now. We were told he was going to speak by his attorneys. There was a podium set up by the news crews. He didn't quite follow that plan. He walked away from the podium. He said a few words. He spoke very softly.
It was hard, actually, to hear what he was saying, but he did seem to be very relieved to be out of jail. Last month it looked like the former Dallas police officer could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of capital murder, but after today's decision by a judge there's talk that he could conceivably try to get his job back.
A judge has ordered the release of former Dallas police officer Bryan Riser after she found insufficient evidence that he could have solicited the murders of two people in 2017. His attorney asked for an examining trial, which can speed up the legal process and have a judge look at the merits of the case before it goes to a grand jury. Judge Audrey Moorehead presided over that this morning, which included a look at the evidence and testimony from the lead homicide detective over the investigation.
Riser had been secretly investigated for more than two years while still on patrol as a Dallas police officer after one of three men accused of killing two people told authorities that Riser offered money to commit the murders. But that claim by a violent convicted felon is about all the evidence detectives have on Riser, who was arrested and fired shortly after by Dallas police chief Eddie Garcia, who took over the department.
Riser's attorney accused the chief of rushing to judgment against Riser and acting prematurely, ruining the officer's career and reputation.
TOBY SHOOK: Apparently what happened is when Chief Garcia was briefed on it, he gives the order to arrest him. And Detective Montenegro said he wasn't ready. He wanted to continue to investigate. But he was-- had to follow his chain of command which triggered all this. That's the major problem with this case, is the decision by Chief Garcia to order that arrest. Why he did that, what information he was given? I think it had to be obviously faulty information he was relying on.
JD MILES: Riser's attorney Toby Shook got the homicide detective on the stand to admit that crucial evidence in the original arrest warrant, cell phone data placing the officer near the murder scenes, was false.
TOBY SHOOK: The only way he could read this though, and Judge [INAUDIBLE] signed it, was he is in the area when they are kidnapped and murdered. His cell phone would be.
- That's correct.
TOBY SHOOK: All right. That wasn't true.
- That statement is not true.
TOBY SHOOK: OK. But you-- typed it out and put it in there, correct?
- I made a mistake, yes.
JD MILES: The judge ordered Riser to be immediately released after a month in custody. Now I've got a statement from Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot who released a statement saying that he thought the evidence was flimsy. In fact, his statement says, "Because of this office's obligations under the law, we alerted the defense team and the judge of our opinion that there currently is insufficient corroboration of co-defendant statements and accomplice testimony to prosecute the case."
I spoke to the head of the Dallas Police Association Mike Mata. He told me that if Riser is cleared of the charges, he would be within his rights as a former officer to seek reinstatement, but Dallas Police just released their own statement saying they still believe Riser had something to do with these murders and that he violated other policy violations that will make it very difficult for him to get back on the force if he indeed tries to do that.
We'll have much more on this story coming up tonight at 10:00. Live in Dallas, JD Miles. CBS 11 News.