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Homicide detectives questioned fired Dallas officer Bryan Riser about other slayings in 2017, new records show

Already charged with two killings, Bryan Riser lied to investigators about a tipster in another case, documents state; defense attorney says he’s being mischaracterized.

Dallas Police sit outside Eboni Samuel and Bryan Riser's home as an FBI Evidence Response Team goes through their south Grand Prairie, Texas home, Thursday, March 4, 2021. Riser, a Dallas Place officer, has been arrested and charged with two counts of murder. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)
Dallas Police sit outside Eboni Samuel and Bryan Riser's home as an FBI Evidence Response Team goes through their south Grand Prairie, Texas home, Thursday, March 4, 2021. Riser, a Dallas Place officer, has been arrested and charged with two counts of murder. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News) (Tom Fox / Staff Photographer)

Former Dallas police officer Bryan Riser lied about a tipster in a double-homicide case and in 2017 was interviewed by a detective regarding a woman he is charged separately with killing, according to new records released Tuesday by the Dallas Police Department.

Riser was arrested on capital murder charges and fired last month in the 2017 slayings of Albert Douglas and Lisa Saenz. According to newly updated arrest affidavits, he was questioned that March just days after a string of killings.

Riser is accused of ordering three men — Kevin Kidd, Emmanuel Kilpatrick and Jermon Simmons — to kill Douglas and Saenz.

But the men were also charged in the March 11-12, 2017, shooting deaths of Irby Walton Jr., Irby Walton Sr. and Cristobel Zepeda. A woman named Joy Tiara Gray, who was dating Simmons, also was arrested in those slayings.

Two days after the Waltons were killed, Riser gave police information about the case that he said came from an anonymous male tipster, according to the updated documents.

Bryan Riser
Bryan Riser(Dallas County jail / AP)

On March 15, homicide Detective Esteban Montenegro interviewed Riser in reference to Saenz, whose body was found in the Trinity River on March 10. Saenz had been living with Riser’s father, according to the updated documents.

During the interview, Riser again denied knowing the identity of the tipster in the Walton killings, according to the updated documents. But during the course of the investigation, detectives determined that he had lied, having hid his knowledge of the tipster in an attempt to deceive detectives, the documents state.

The next week, Kidd, Kilpatrick and Simmons were arrested in the Waltons’ double homicide.

Riser’s lawyer, Toby Shook, said Montenegro mischaracterized Riser as deceptive. Shook said Riser ran into Kilpatrick in 2017 and the pair exchanged phone numbers. But Riser never saved Kilpatrick’s number in his phone, Shook said. He got a call in March 2017 from the number but didn’t recognize it, the attorney said, contending that Riser answered but didn’t recognize the voice on the other end. The caller told Riser he had information about the killings, refused to give his name and asked Riser to share his phone number with detectives on the Walton case, Shook said.

Shook believes the new information is in the updated documents because he brought it to prosecutors as proof Riser wasn’t involved in a scheme.

“It makes no sense that Bryan Riser would call a homicide officer and give him the cellphone number of the man he had paid to murder Lisa Saenz two days before,” Shook said. “That’s the last thing he would do if he were involved in the conspiracy to commit these murders.”

Shook said Riser knew Saenz because she was friends with his father, Byron Riser. But Riser doesn’t know any of the other homicide victims Kilpatrick is accused of killing, Shook said.

Police had previously said Riser wasn’t a person of interest until 2019. The Dallas Morning News first reported last month Riser was a person of interest dating back to September 2017.

The News requested autopsy and investigative records from the Dallas County medical examiner’s office on the Walton and Zepeda slayings last month. The county is fighting the records’ release, saying it would interfere with the ongoing investigation.

In the letter to state Attorney General Ken Paxton, an attorney working for the DA’s office wrote last week that a capital murder case against three suspects is pending before the 204th District Court and implicates another unidentified person.

“Another suspect was recently arrested in connection with these murders and is currently being handled by the Public Integrity Unit,” the appeal said.

It is unclear if that person is Riser. As of Tuesday, he had not been charged in additional murders. It is unclear what exactly prompted the changes to the arrest affidavits.

A spokeswoman from the Dallas County district attorney’s office did not respond to a request seeking comment, and the Dallas Police Department did not respond to follow-up questions.

The updated documents removed mention of the originally named witness, Kilpatrick, and instead refer to “Witness,” “Associate #1” and “Associate #2”. Detectives also wrote that “due to the sensitive and extensive nature of this case, the entire facts and evidence have not been included in this affidavit.”

The developments date to the spring of 2017 when the two killings Riser is charged with occurred.

First came the death of Douglas around the end of February, according to records. Then, on March 10, the 30-year-old Saenz was shot multiple times and her body dumped into the Trinity River, records state.

The updated affidavits allege Riser’s connection to the Walton slayings. The elder Walton, 69, and his son, 41, were slain in their east Oak Cliff home on March 11, 2017. They had been shot and electronics were taken from their apartment. The younger Walton’s vehicle was later found burned.

Riser has faced no charges in the Walton or Zepeda slayings.

Kilpatrick’s lawyer, William “Karo” Johnson, declined to comment Tuesday on the Walton killings. But he said last month after Dallas police Chief Eddie García announced Riser’s arrest in the Douglas and Saenz cases that “more and more will come out.”

Kilpatrick is serving a life sentence in an East Texas prison for their murders. He initially was charged with capital murder, but prosecutors agreed to the lesser charge of murder in exchange for his testimony against others.

Kilpatrick gave detectives information about Riser, Johnson previously told The News.

The updated documents state that two people incriminated Riser, but the records don’t identify them by name. One person knew Riser from when they were younger and reconnected in 2013. The other did not know Riser previously but identified him in a six-person photo lineup, according to the documents.

The person who knew Riser longer detailed for detectives the route they took when Riser showed him how to find Douglas, according to the affidavit. An FBI analysis of cell phone data placed Riser in locations where the person said they’d met to plan the killings.

Cassandra Jaramillo. Cassandra Jaramillo is the Dallas Police Department reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She joined The News in 2016. She's a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She likes to write about public safety, police accountability, criminal justice and mental health.

@cassandrajar
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