Lawyer accused of murder released from jailPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX (AP) -- A California attorney who walked out of jail after a murder case against him in Arizona was dismissed said he felt a mixture of shock and thrill when learning a judge had thrown out a jury's guilty verdict against him.
Robert Fischer, 54, of Irvine said the likelihood of a judge overturning a jury verdict and granting a new trial is low, but he believed, as the judge said in granting him a new trial, that his case's evidence didn't support the verdict.
"Any (legal) system is probably flawed to some degree," said Fischer, a divorce attorney. "Fortunately, there are checks and balances. In my case, there was a courageous judge who understood the jury got it wrong."
Nearly three months ago, Fischer was convicted of second-degree murder in the December 2010 shooting death of his stepdaughter's husband, 49-year-old Norman "Lee" Radder, at the home of Radder and his family in Queen Creek, southeast of Phoenix. Fischer was visiting the family when Radder died of a single shot from Fischer's handgun into Radder's right eye after an evening of drinking.
Authorities contend Radder's death was staged as a suicide. Fischer's attorney, however, has suggested Radder was suicidal, saying he was experiencing financial and marital difficulties.
The case against Fischer was dismissed Monday as prosecutors are expected to appeal the Feb. 28 decision by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins to throw out the verdict and grant a new trial. Prosecutors are continuing to pursue a case against Fischer and aren't barred from filing a murder charge against him in the future.
Fischer, who has been in police custody since his trial ended, walked out of jail Monday night, greeted by his attorney. He said he and his wife spent the night at a hotel room where they caught up and ate crackers and cheese.
He and his lawyer, Dwane Cates, granted an interview Tuesday to reporters.
Fischer and Cates shied away from talking about the case's facts. Still, Fischer said he was in the house when Radder was shot and that Radder had used his gun. What happened after that, he said he doesn't know. His lawyer said he blacked out.
Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which brought the case against Fischer, declined to comment on Fischer's interview because the case is pending.
One of the jurors now says he regrets voting to convict Fischer, saying he was skeptical of the case against the divorce lawyer but was persuaded by other jurors to find him guilty.
Rhono Geppert told The Associated Press that said he started to regret his verdict as he thought about the case's evidence in the weeks after the trial. He believes, for instance, that Radder definitely had a reason why he wanted to commit suicide.
"I think I caved in a little too fast," Geppert said.
Despite his legal victories over the last 11 days, Fischer knows his legal problems aren't behind him. If prosecutors lose their appeal, they can retry him.
"I realize this is not over," Fischer said.
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