Police Officer Arrested, Charged In Two Capital Murder Cases

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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A Dallas police officer was arrested Thursday on two counts of capital murder after a man told authorities a year and a half ago that the officer ordered him to kidnap and kill two people in 2017, according to police.

Bryan Riser was taken to the Dallas County jail Thursday morning for processing, according to the Dallas Police Department.

A witness came forward on Aug. 14, 2019 and told police that he kidnapped and killed Liza Saenz, 31, and Albert Douglas, 61, at Riser’s direction, according to Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

Riser was arrested for the killings, which Garcia said were unrelated. Garcia also added that it is unclear what the motives for the shootings were. (RELATED: Former Ohio Police Officer Indicted For Murder Of Andre Hill)

Saenz’ body was found on March 10, 2017 after it was pulled from the Trinity River in southwest Dallas with several bullet wounds, according to Garcia. Four kayakers were at the river when the murder occurred and heard several gunshots, according to WFAA. The kayakers returned to land and found her body before reporting it to police, according to the report.

Douglas was reported missing by family in February of 2017  but his body has not been found, according to Garcia.

Three men were charged with capital murder for Saenz’ killing, according to the Associated Press (AP). One of the men charged told police that he and Riser used to be involved in burglaries when they were younger, the affidavit for Riser’s arrest states, according to the AP. The affidavit does not name the witness by name.

The unidentified man said he and Riser had plans to rob drug stash houses but that they didn’t follow through, according to the AP. Instead, Riser allegedly offered the man $9,500 to kidnap and kill Douglas and later Saenz, the affidavit reportedly says.

The affidavit says Riser referred to Saenz as an “informant,” according to CNN.

Riser is currently on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation, according to Garcia. His bail is set at $5 million, according to CNN.

“We’re going to expedite our process,” Garcia said in regards to firing Riser. “We will not allow anyone to tarnish this badge.”

Riser remained on duty for more than a year while authorities investigated the allegations because they didn’t want to tip him off, the city’s former police chief, U. Renee Hall, said, according to The Dallas Morning News. The decision to keep him on patrol was reportedly made in conjunction with federal law enforcement and the Dallas County district attorney’s office.

“Doing anything differently, we may not have been able to bring justice to the families,” Hall said, according to the report.