Murder Charges Dismissed Against Suspects In Case Of Dismembered Bethany Woman
OKLAHOMA CITY - After six months in jail for the murder of 19-year-old Carina Saunders, prosecutors dismissed the murder charges against Jimmy Massey and Luis Ruiz.
Ruiz was released from the Oklahoma County jail Monday afternoon.
In July, Bethany detectives concluded the two tortured and killed Saunders, stuffed her body in duffle bags, and then dumped them near a Bethany grocery store in October 2011. Detectives uncovered her dismembered body a few days after the murder.
News 9 first uncovered information alluding to the dismissal of charges on February 5, 2013. In an exclusive report, News 9 obtained confidential information from multiple sources that revealed the evidence in the case did not support the allegations against Massey and Ruiz.
Simultaneously, News 9 also discovered Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater wanted the case turned over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) for review.
Prater did not give comment, but an ongoing investigation prevents him from doing so. With confirmation from the OSBI, News9 revealed the state agency is now leading the investigation into Saunders murder.
Subsequently, Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole released a statement:
"After meeting with District Attorney Prater, we both feel that the investigation would be best served by allowing an agency with greater resources and a ‘fresh set of eyes' to take over this complex case."
The OSBI cannot speak to the claims of possible lack of evidence in the case. Jessica Brown, spokesperson for the OSBI, said on February 5, "We haven't officially opened the case yet because before we do that we want to get a hold of all the case files so we have a chance to look through those and determine what we can do in the case."
Defense attorneys for both Massey and Ruiz could not immediately be reached for comment. Ruiz's attorney Derek Chance, provided News9 with the following statement,
"Mr. Ruiz is extremely pleased with the decision to involve the OSBI. From day one we have had serious questions and concerns about the poor investigation, we remain confident that Luis will be exonerated, and this late investigative effort supports our contention. Of equal concern is the fact that the actual killer is still at large."
District Attorney David Prater did not immediately return our calls for comment on the new developments.