The attorney for a man accused in the torture killing of Carina Saunders said Tuesday he expects his client to be exonerated, a day after police in Bethany turned over the case to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Luis Enrique Ruiz and Jimmy Lee Massey Jr. are facing first-degree murder charges in the October 2011 slaying of Saunders, 19, of Mustang, whose dismembered body was found in a duffel bag behind a Bethany grocery store.
Ruiz's attorney, Derek Chance, said his client is extremely pleased with the decision “to involve the OSBI” in the murder investigation.
“From day one we have had serious questions and concerns about the poor investigation,” Chance told The Oklahoman.
“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.”
Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole, citing the need for a fresh perspective, asked the OSBI to take over the death investigation Monday afternoon.
‘Fresh set of eyes'
“After meeting with District Attorney (David) 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,” Cole wrote in an email.
Prater is not commenting about the case because it is an active investigation.
In July, Prater's office filed first-degree murder charges against Ruiz and Massey.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the murder charge, Ruiz, 38, of Oklahoma City, planned and carried out the torture killing.
A witness told police she saw Ruiz, 38, of Oklahoma City, beat Saunders, tie her to a table and torture her by sawing off her left foot and then trying to cut off her right foot before the saw broke, according to the affidavit.
Massey, 34, of Oklahoma City, shared details of the slaying with two detainees while jailed on drug charges, according to a probable cause affidavit filed with his murder charge.
Massey admitted to kidnapping a woman and making her watch as Saunders was tortured and killed Oct. 9. Massey also described how Saunders' body was dismembered and left in a field behind the Homeland grocery store at NW 23 and Rockwell Avenue, court records show.
Massey's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Mitch Solomon, said Tuesday “there have been numerous leads and an abundance of evidence which has not been thoroughly examined.”
“We are confident when the investigation is done properly it will show who is actually responsible,” Solomon told The Oklahoman.
OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said the agency is in the process of obtaining information from the Bethany police.
“We haven't opened the case officially,” she said. “We're trying to gather all the information and reports that have been produced.”