See the update on the Arizona judge, as expected, dismissing the murder case against Robert Douglas Fischer of San Clemente.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 7, 11:41 A.M.: A judge in Arizona has ordered the release from jail of a San Clemente man who in December was convicted of murdering his stepdaughter's husband.
Prosecutors in Phoenix have also requested a dismissal of the case against Robert Douglas Fischer.
But the 54-year-old divorce lawyer, who has an office in Tustin, is not out of desert-hot water just yet.
A dismissal would be a procedural move that would allow prosecutors to appeal Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins' Feb. 28 decision to grant Fischer a new trial because, she ruled, no evidence was presented that he pulled the trigger on the gun that killed 49-year-old Norman "Lee" Radder.
"I was obviously very excited," Cates said of the judge's ruling on the jury's verdict. "I believe the judge was correct."
But Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Jerry Cobb warned, "We intend to continue to pursue this case."
Fischer was in town for a visit to the Radder family home in Queen Creek, southeast of Phoenix, on Dec. 30, 2010. After an evening of drinking, former Irvine entrepreneur and dirt bike magazine publisher Radder died of a single shot through his right eye from Fischer's .38 handgun.
Prosecutors allege Fischer staged the shooting to appear to be a suicide and early in the case pointed to inconsistencies in what he is claimed to have told the dispatcher and Maricopa County sheriff's investigators about what happened.
But Mullins found reasonable doubt existed because DNA evidence showed Radder handled the gun and magazine and physical evidence did not support the contention of a homicide detective that Fischer moved the body to make it appear to be the scene of a suicide.
UPDATE, MARCH 11, 1:40 P.M.: As expected, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins on Monday dismissed the murder case against Robert Douglas Fischer of San Clemente.
The judge also re-affirmed Fischer must be released from custody.
As detailed in the original post, prosecutors sought the dismissal as a procedural move so they can appeal Mullins having overturned a jury's verdict that Fischer is guilty of murder.