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Murder Charged Dropped Against Divorce Lawyer Convicted Of Killing Stepdaughter's Husband

Robert Fischer was convicted in the 2010 death of Norman “Lee” Radder, then had his conviction overturned, reinstated and vacated before he was indicted again in 2018.

By Gina Tron
Judge Gavel G

The legal saga continues for a California divorce lawyer who was convicted of killing his stepdaughter’s husband more than a decade ago in Arizona.

Prosecutors dismissed the most recent murder charge against Robert Fischer in October. While it’s not clear what evidence or information prompted the dismissal, they did cite an “interest of justice” for the decision, the Associated Press reported last month.

Fischer was convicted in 2013 of murder in the 2010 death of 49-year-old Norman “Lee” Radder, who was married to Fischer's stepdaughter. Fischer was present at Radder’s home in Queen Creek, Arizona, when Radder was shot in the right eye. The bullet came from Fischer’s handgun and the shooting occurred after a night of drinking, according to the Associated Press. 

After the shooting, Fischer called 911 and claimed that Radder had committed suicide, the East Valley Tribune reported in 2012. Fischer’s attorneys also noted that Radder had both financial and marital problems at the time of his death in support of Fischer's claims. And initially, investigators did indeed believe that the death was a suicide.

However, investigators later alleged that Fischer killed Radder before staging the murder as a suicide. They claimed that Fischer utilized knowledge from both his previous profession in law enforcement in addition to what he knew from being an attorney to cover up the alleged murder.

Two months after Fischer was convicted of Radder’s death, the judge overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial. The judge made the determination after deciding that the verdict was “contrary to the weight of the evidence,” according to the Associated Press. She determined that there was no fingerprint or DNA evidence that proved Fischer fired the gun. The judge was also critical of cover-up theory, characterizing it as flimsy.

But the case only got more complicated from there. The Arizona Court of Appeals later reinstated the conviction after deciding that the trial judge abused her discretion in ordering a new trial. The Arizona Supreme Court later threw out that appeals court decision and ordered a new trial after siding with the original trial judge. In 2018, Fischer was then indicted again on a murder charge in Radder’s death. It was that 2018 charge that was recently dismissed.

Fischer is at least 61 years old now.

Radder was a motocross enthusiast and the CEO of a computer company called Programming Technology from the 1980s until the year 2000, according to the East Valley Tribune. He had a wife and three children when he died.

It is unclear if prosecutors will seek to charge Fischer with murder again.