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3/27/2014 3:18:00 PM
Rider murder trial gets going with new judge
Jack Rider is accused of drowning a woman in the Verde River.
Jack Rider is accused of drowning a woman in the Verde River.

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

CAMP VERDE -- Threats, a questionable source, a questionable expert and a new trial date.

Judge Joseph Butner has come into the Jack Rider murder trial late in the game and so an hour-long evidentiary hearing held Wednesday was a matter of coming up to speed. The case itself has been on a delayed track anyway, despite the judge reassignment. Judge Jennifer Cambell's Div. 2 has been moved to Prescott.

The Camp Verde Beasley Flats drowning death of Krystil Wilson occurred in 2007, and at that time was ruled an accident. It was information from an accused suspect in an unrelated case that focused fresh light on the five-year old drowning in 2012.

Richard Fisher, who was also at Beasley Flats on July 19, 2007, with Rider and Krystil Wilson, was charged in 2012 with arson. Fisher told his attorney "the drowning was not an accident, Krystil Wilson was intentionally killed" by Rider. That information was passed on to the trial judge and a cold case was begun, leading to the impeachment of Rider.

Jack Rider's co-defense council, John Erickson, said they believed that Fisher was looking for a way to mitigate his arson charges with information about the drowning. Erickson told the judge they wanted more information on Fisher and a chance to interview him. That information, he said, would be "available to impeach" or call into question, Fisher's statement.

Richard Fisher apparently would be the key witness in the drowning, if the case goes to trial.

Erickson said he had heard that Fisher was a former detention officer who was "terminated;" though that information was not confirmed.

Patti Wortman, on the prosecution side, told Judge Butner that the defense simply wants a "fishing expedition."

Judge Butner said that a motion "to produce" related to Fisher may be "premature" until he is interviewed.

The two sides also argued about the opinion of Dr. Mark Fischione, the current Yavapai County Medical Examiner. Dr. Phillip Keen was ME at the time of Wilson's death. After being presented with information from Detective Victor Dartt, who had reopened the case in 2012, conducted new investigations into the location of death and interviewed potential witnesses Keen changed his cause of death from accidental drowning to "undetermined."

According to court documents, Dartt had Fisher make "confrontation calls" with Rider in which Rider allegedly said his arm was hooked around Wilson's neck while she was dragged face down in the river, that Fisher had nothing to do with the incident and "they need to keep their stories straight."

Judge Butner was not ready to deal with the Fischione testimony yet.

The attorneys did agree on an eight-day trial date beginning Tuesday, Sept. 16, vacating the trial date set next month by Judge Campbell.

Erickson also suggested there is a security issue, advising the court that Rider had been threatened by friends of or people related to Krystil Wilson. Even one man associated with motorcycle gangs is reported to have stated on Facebook, "Got plenty of 'bros', that's how **** gets done."

"One or more of those who have made threats against Rider may be a state witness," Erickson warned. Workman would not confirm that is the case, not having seen the Facebook page.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Article comment by: the prosecutors office is the one FISHING. with fisher

Its fun to go look at court records....although if you look up one of these men,the only thing on his record before this was a dui. The other was nothing short of a career criminal. Bet you cant guess which is which by the circumstances.

Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Article comment by: its about time ....

You FINALLY got some of it right. Maybe you can go back and delete some of the RIDICULOUS things written previously. Although some of your article is still not accurate,you finally did your job and sat in the courtroom. Its about time someone mentioned the felon who got out of burning down an OCCUPIED structure and got only a slap on the wrist with probation...let the truth be told! This all is stemming from a man charged with lying to police,several counts of arson, but not convicted....and a detective who isnt even a detective should be noted that Jack has been free ever since he was released after 89 days incarcerated and has been at EVERY SINGLE court appearance! Thank you for this article,even though it is not 100 percent accurate,its a great improvement on everything written on this case so far....from florida to arizona!

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