Judge orders release of high-profile murder suspect - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Judge orders release of high-profile murder suspect

Michael Portis, 24 (Source: OPSO) Michael Portis, 24 (Source: OPSO)

A judge on Friday ordered the release of a high-profile murder suspect.

New Orleans police arrested Michael Portis in the March 23 murder of  Domino's delivery man Michael Price. Portis has not yet been indicted by a grand jury, and because that hasn't happened within the legally required 120 days of his arrest, a judge says he should be freed. 

"Well, that's the law, so the judge was essentially following the law. And like I said, I'm not going to present a case to the grand jury if the evidence we need is not available, and we're not going to present it until we get the necessary evidence," Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said.  

Cannizzaro said there's a good possibility Portis will stay behind bars for now because he's being held on a federal parole violation. But according to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times Picayune, that hold is linked to the Price case and could be lifted by a federal judge within two weeks.  

"The most important thing we have to concern ourselves with is that we get the case right, and that we have the necessary evidence in order to do that," Cannizzaro said. 

At the time of Price's murder, police called his death a senseless killing and Crimestoppers raised the reward for information leading to an arrest. Investigators said it was those tips that led them to Portis as a suspect. Crimestoppers is once again asking for the public's your help.

"If there is anybody that still has important information on this particular case, I mean certainly now is the time to come forth with that information," Crimestoppers President Darlene Cusanza said. 

The DA said his office is still in the process of gathering evidence, but he's confident prosecutors will get what they need to present the case to a grand jury.

Domino's released the following statement Friday evening:

“We at Domino’s will not comment on the details of the case as it is an ongoing investigation. We are troubled by the news that we heard today. It would be inappropriate to comment on the circumstances surrounding this news. We do want to remind people that an innocent man – a husband and father – lost his life while he was just doing his job. We continue to work closely with NOPD and we are doing everything we can to bring the person(s) responsible for this horrific crime to justice. We remain hopeful and support the NOPD and the Homicide Unit in their efforts to indict those responsible. We urge the community to help us bring evidence to light in order to convict those accountable for taking the life of Michael Price from all of us.  Domino’s and Crime Stoppers are still offering up to a $15,000.00 reward for any information leading to the conviction of those responsible.” 

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