A former murder defendant in the brutal slaying of a 19-year-old girl is suing the city of Bethany, the police chief and officers involved in the investigation alleging that they coerced testimony, fabricated evidence and ignored proof of his innocence.
Luis Enrique Ruiz, 39, contends that Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole, former police Capt. Jack Jencks and police Lt. Austin Warfield “employed deceptive, misleading, manipulative and illegal tactics to manipulate and fabricate the criminal case,” in a complaint filed Thursday in Oklahoma City federal court.
The complaint contains ten claims of civil rights violations, including false arrest and imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
Ruiz and Jimmy Lee Massey were charged in July 2012 with first-degree murder in connection with the slaying of Carina Saunders, but Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater dismissed the charges against Ruiz and Massey in February 2013.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation took over the case in February 2013. No other arrests have been made.
Saunders was reported missing Sept. 28, 2011. Her body parts were found in a duffel bag behind a Homeland Store on NW 23 and Rockwell in Bethany on Oct. 13, 2011.
After interviewing more than 80 witnesses and following up on more than a hundred leads, police unconstitutionally arrested, detained and incarcerated Ruiz, according to the complaint. He remained without bail in the Oklahoma County jail for eight months.
Certain witnesses in the case were not arrested or charged, were allowed to keep illegal substances found in their possession and were promised leniency in unrelated cases, the complaint alleges.
The defendants also “manipulated known drug addicts” and falsified law enforcement reports, court records show.
Officers attempted to coerce a confession from Ruiz, and did coerce a confession from Massey, according to the complaint.
Ruiz argues that he suffered physical and psychological injury, emotional distress and intense humiliation as well as financial devastation and damage to his reputation.
Ruiz was charged in March 2013 with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and in October with possession of a controlled dangerous substance in Oklahoma County, records show. His preliminary hearing in both cases is next month.
Former police Capt. Jencks was charged Feb. 10 with 10 counts of larceny of a controlled dangerous substance in Oklahoma County. He is accused of taking prescription drugs scheduled for destruction from the Bethany police evidence room.