A man once suspected of planning and carrying out the torture killing of a 19-year-old Mustang woman was released Monday from the Oklahoma County jail after prosecutors dismissed murder charges against him and another man.
Luis E. Ruiz, 38, and Jimmy Lee Massey Jr., 34, both of Oklahoma City, faced first-degree murder charges in the October 2011 slaying of Carina Saunders, whose dismembered body was found in a duffel bag behind a Bethany grocery store.
District Attorney David Prater filed a motion late Friday to dismiss the charges. An order dismissing the case pending further investigation was signed by District Judge Ray Elliott.
The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they can be refiled against either man.
Prater has consistently declined to speak about the case and did not return calls and emails Monday seeking comment.
Ruiz was arrested July 5 on a murder complaint and held without bail for more than seven months.
He was released Monday from the Oklahoma County jail wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt, the same clothes he said he was wearing the day he was incarcerated.
He hugged and kissed his parents near the jail's front entrance.
His father raised both his arms and said, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Jesus Christ. Thank you.”
Ruiz's attorney, Derek Chance, declined to comment.
Massey is a defendant in a drug trafficking case and remained in custody Monday. His bail is set at $100,000, according to a jail detention officer.
“We are obviously very pleased about the district attorney's decision to dismiss the charges against Mr. Massey,” assistant public defender Mitch Solomon said in a written statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Saunders family as the investigation begins.”
Solomon added: “It is very sad how some of the television media has sensationalized this case without having all the facts, as opposed to reporting the facts accurately, which is their responsibility. Hopefully, they will learn from their embarrassment in the future.”
OSBI called in
Earlier this month, Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole, citing the need for a fresh perspective, asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to take over the death investigation.