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Dallas Police Officer Who Faces 2 Capital Murder Charges Ordered Pair Of Hits In 2017, Authorities Allege

Dallas Police Officer Who Faces 2 Capital Murder Charges Ordered Pair Of Hits In 2017 Authorities Allege
Date Posted: Saturday, March 6th, 2021

A man who was arrested in one of the slayings later said Bryan Riser paid him to do it, according to an affidavit.

A Dallas police officer was arrested Thursday on two counts of capital murder after authorities say he ordered the killings of two people in 2017: a 30-year-old woman whose body was recovered in the Trinity River and a 60-year-old man whose remains were never found.

Officer Bryan Riser, 36, was booked into the Dallas County jail about 6:30 p.m., records show. His bail was set at $5 million, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

“This officer’s actions not only tarnished the badge, but it hinders the efforts of those who go out every day to inspire the public confidence and create respect for the law enforcement profession,” police Chief Eddie García said.

Riser, who joined the department in August 2008, is assigned to the South Central patrol division. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, the department said.

“This individual has no business wearing this uniform,” García said, adding that the department was moving quickly toward Riser’s termination. “I can’t be clearer than that.”

Investigative strategy

García, who started in his new role almost exactly a month ago, said former Dallas police Chief U. Reneé Hall was briefed on the allegations in 2019.

Hall confirmed to The Dallas Morning News that she had been briefed then that Riser was a “person of interest” in the slayings. But being named a person of interest is not enough to secure an arrest warrant, she said.

Hall said a strategic decision was made, with the guidance of federal law enforcement, homicide detectives, and the Dallas County district attorney’s office, to not place Riser on administrative leave so authorities would not compromise the murder investigation. She said telling Riser he was under investigation could have given him a chance to cover his tracks.

She credited the work of detectives for Thursday’s arrest.

“Doing anything different, we may not have been able to bring justice to the families today,” said Hall, who left the department at the end of last year.

The district attorney’s office said it does not comment on cases that are under investigation before a grand jury hearing and also declined to answer questions about its role in the decision to keep Riser on the force during the murder investigation.

One victim found

Boaters found the body of 30-year-old Liza Saenz in the Trinity River, near the 200 block of Santa Fe Avenue just south of downtown Dallas, after hearing several gunshots the night of March 10, 2017.

Six months later, in September 2017, three men — Kevin Kidd, Emmanuel Kilpatrick and Jermon Simmons — were arrested on capital murder charges in her death. Police said an anonymous tipster led them to the suspects.

Kidd reportedly told police at the time that he met Kilpatrick and Simmons at the river bottom, after Kilpatrick had forced Saenz inside a car at gunpoint. Kidd said he saw Kilpatrick shoot Saenz at the river bank.

The trio also were accused in three other slayings that took place in a four-day span.

The three cases in Saenz’s death are still pending, court records show. Kilpatrick has since been sentenced to life in prison for the slayings of Irby Walton Sr. and Irby Walton Jr.

Suspect’s accusations

According to Riser’s arrest warrant affidavit, one of the three men — police did not say which one — came forward in August 2019 and said Riser was involved in Saenz’s slaying, as well as the death of 60-year-old Albert Douglas.

That man told authorities he and Riser had known each other when they were young and had lost touch. But they reconnected in 2013, he said, and Riser asked whether he was still committing robberies and burglaries, as they had when they were younger, the affidavit says.

The man said Riser came up with a plan to give him and his associates information about drug houses, which they would rob and then split the proceeds, according to the affidavit. But the plan never came to fruition.

Instead, the man told authorities, Riser identified a man he wanted to have killed and offered to pay $3,500, the affidavit says. The man and one of his associates kidnapped that man — Douglas — and killed him, then dumped his body in the Trinity, according to the affidavit.

Douglas was reported missing in February 2017, and his body has not been found.

Several weeks later, Riser approached the man again and offered him $6,000 to kill Saenz, who he said was an informant, according to the affidavit. He and his associates took her to the same place Douglas was killed, the affidavit says.

Police said data from Riser’s cellphone and squad car placed him in the locations where the witness said they had met to plan the killings.

García said Thursday that Riser had a relationship with at least one of the victims but did not elaborate.

‘More will come out’

Kilpatrick provided information to detectives about Riser, according to Kilpatrick’s lawyer, William “Karo” Johnson.

“This has been the dirtiest cop I’ve ever encountered,” Johnson said.

He said that his client was compelled to share information with police out of remorse and that Kilpatrick “wasn’t the monster that he looked like on paper.”

Johnson hinted at further developments in the case, saying, “More and more will come out. I’m not even sure Hollywood would buy the script to this whole thing.”

An attorney for Kidd declined to comment, and Simmons’ attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.


Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he was “sickened” to hear about the allegations against Riser.

“I am grateful for our homicide detectives, who have worked to ensure that justice is served,” he said. “My heart goes out to the victims’ loved ones. I cannot imagine the anguish they have endured. They, and all the people of Dallas, deserve answers in this case.”

Sgt. Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, said Riser was put on paid administrative leave pending a termination hearing. He said it was “devastating that a member of this police department would be charged with something as horrible as capital murder.”

He said Riser should be held accountable if he is found guilty.

“We do our best to make sure we hire the best human beings that we possibly can,” he said. “But just like any profession, we have individuals who don’t honor the badge and don’t honor the uniform.”

Terrance Hopkins, president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas, said “it’s a very unfortunate incident and if this is true, it’s unacceptable.”

Riser was not a member of that police group, he said.

Mary Hodge, Saenz’s mother, said Thursday that she did not know about Riser’s arrest before she spoke to a reporter, noting that she was expecting a call from a detective.

Hodge confirmed that Saenz knew Riser but said she was unaware of the extent of their relationship.

Saenz, a mother of two, was born in Corpus Christi and grew up in Aransas Pass, according to her obituary.

Police activity

In the upscale neighborhood in southern Grand Prairie where Riser lives, two Dallas police cars sat outside his red-brick and stone home Thursday.

Neighbors said Riser and his family moved in about a year ago and were friendly. They said there hadn’t been much unusual activity at the house before a squad car pulled up Thursday.

About 4 p.m., a car pulled up to the home and a woman got out. Police walked across the street and told her to get back into the car.

Detectives arrived soon after and talked to her in the car, and two officers and four detectives went inside the home after she opened the garage door.

“Dallas police! Anyone inside?” one shouted.

The woman later left in a detective’s vehicle.

FBI agents were searching the home Thursday evening, and authorities towed a vehicle from the driveway.

Other investigations

According to records obtained by The News, the Dallas Police Department’s internal affairs division has investigated Riser multiple times because of policy violations.

In June 2018, police commanders gave him a supervisor’s report in connection with “escalating or participating” in a disturbance from a May 2017 complaint. It is unclear based on the available records whether that was related to Riser’s arrest that month on a misdemeanor count of family violence assault causing bodily injury.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Riser’s girlfriend got into an argument with him about a post on his Facebook page that said their relationship was over.

She told police she wanted to post a picture of him on Facebook but he didn’t want her to and asked her to leave his apartment, the affidavit said. He said that she refused to go and hit him on the hand and head.

Riser said that the woman hit him again after he called a patrol sergeant to ask for officers to be sent to his home and that he grabbed her by the arm, according to police documents.

The woman told police that Riser hit her arm and took away a cellphone she had borrowed from a neighbor to call 911. According to the affidavit, she said he grabbed her arms, pulled her off a bed and slammed her to the floor, then dragged and kicked her. She also said he picked her up, took her to the apartment door and threw her out.

The outcome of that case was not immediately clear; it does not appear in Dallas County court records.

City records show the city hired Riser in March 2004 and again in August 2008. Records show his annual base pay is $81,982.

Sgt. Warren Mitchell, a police spokesman, said that Riser’s initial city employment ended sometime after 2004 but that he didn’t know why.

Source: Trinity Audio/Dallasnews.com

Date Posted: Saturday, March 6th, 2021 , Total Page Views: 4863

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