Botched raid: Former officers appear in court now as defendants

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Former Houston police officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant each appeared in court for the first time Monday morning as defendants in the criminal justice system.

The two retired officers are facing charges in the botched Harding Street raid on Jan. 28, 2019 that caused the deaths of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas. The couple lived at 7815 Harding St.

According to friends, they were not the hardcore heroin dealers as described in the now-debunked search warrants.

"I absolutely believe he was overcharged," said Goines' attorney Nichole DeBorde. Her client is facing two felony murder charges.

"I firmly believe that Mr. Goines is innocent of any crime and we look forward to defending this case vigorously in court," DeBorde continued.

SEE ALSO: Botched HPD raid: Officer charged with 2 counts of murder

Court records show prosecutors see the case very differently. According to the charging document, officers received a 911 call relating to people using drugs at 7815 Harding with a person named "Reggie." That was earlier in the day on Jan. 8, 2019. Later on in the day, two patrol officers responded to the call, but observed no sign of criminal activity at the Harding Street house.

Records show the patrol officer who responded then wrote the information related to her call on a yellow legal pad and turned it over to the narcotics division.

That is how former officer Goines allegedly became aware of a possible drug case at the Harding Street location.

Court records show prosecutors do not believe Goines followed any of the protocol in conducting a standard police investigation between the tip and the raid. In court documents, they alleged that there was never a confidential informant, as detailed in the original warrant. They also allege that in interviews following the raid, Goines said he actually personally made the purchase of the drugs. In addition, they state Goines admitted to providing false information to a magistrate judge in order to secure the "no-knock" warrant.

"We have had an open line of communication. We have not received any information from the government on any of their activities," said DeBorde, who says she is now just getting information on the government's case.

Meanwhile, former officer Steven Bryant is charged with tampering with a government document. In that charge, prosecutors said Bryant falsely submitted a document about drugs found on Harding Street two days after the raid already happened. Prosecutors allege Bryant retrieved some heroin from Goines' car on Jan. 30, then wrote up the drugs as evidence in the Harding Street raid, and submitted to the police department.

However, court records show Byrant admitted to investigators that he never participated in the narcotics investigation at 7815 Harding, and that he admitted to making "a mistake" in the collection of the drugs.

"This is a very tough situation for him as it is with any citizen accused of a crime," said Bryant's attorney Andy Drumheller. "This is a person who, when he was an officer and involved in the Harding Street (case), was not involved in drafting the search warrant, never entered the home, and never fired a weapon."

Bryant's case will eventually move to the same court at Goines.

WATCH: Officers Goines and Bryant released from jail
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Fired HPD officer Gerald Goines was released from jail Friday night on bond after being charged with murder in a deadly botched raid.



FULL VIDEO: District Attorney Kim Ogg announces the Harding Street raid charges
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In a news conference, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced charges seven months after the Harding Street raid that killed a married couple.



CASES LINKED TO GOINES DISMISSED

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