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Ex-Houston officer to remain jailed in deadly drug raid case

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HOUSTON (AP) — A judge has denied bond for a former Houston police officer charged with murder in a January drug raid that killed a couple in their home and left five officers wounded.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina Bryan on Tuesday ordered former narcotics Officer Gerald Goines, 55, to remain in federal custody, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The decision comes days after Goines pleaded not guilty amid what prosecutors described as “vast and growing” evidence in the Jan. 28 bust in which Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, were killed.

Prosecutors said the 34-year police veteran fabricated an informant and lied on a search warrant affidavit, offense report and the tactical plan.

Goines’ attorney, Nicole DeBorde, said the move was disappointing but not a surprise.

“We continue to believe that he is appropriate for release on bond,” DeBorde said.

She insisted Goines is not a flight risk, noting his cooperation with bond conditions on two felony murder charges he’s facing in state court.

Goines and his former partner, Steven Bryant, 45, were arrested at their homes last week on federal charges after agreeing to turn themselves in. Bryant has been charged in state court with obstructing justice by falsifying records — an accusation he denies.

Authorities last week also apprehended Patricia Ann Garcia, who is accused of fabricating bad tips in a 911 call that led to the raid and subsequent gunfight.

Goines, Bryant and other armed narcotics officers burst into the home of Tuttle and Nicholas, searching for a stash of guns and a pair of heroin dealers. The group had zeroed in on that address after getting repeated tips from a woman — now identified as Garcia — who said her daughter was in the home getting high with the dealers.

“They were not drug dealers,” FBI Special Agent O’Neil Brown told the court last week.

Early on, the FBI launched its civil rights probe, and the Harris County district attorney dismissed dozens of active cases involving the officers in addition to announcing that prosecutors were going to review more than 14,000 cases that were previously handled by Goines, Bryant and the rest of their squad.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the families of the slain couple hired an independent forensics team to assess the scene. The team suggested that Tuttle may have been on the floor when he was shot and questioned whether he ever fired at police.

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