PHOENIX — A California attorney who walked out of jail after a murder case
against him in Arizona was dismissed says he felt shock and thrill when learning
a judge threw 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 said 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 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
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
“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
“I realize this is not over,” Fischer said.