Attorney for dead North Port officer angry, claims leaks to pres - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Attorney for dead North Port officer angry, claims leaks to press

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Ricky Urbina's attorney, Eric Reisinger, has raised questions about how the investigation was handled within the department. Ricky Urbina's attorney, Eric Reisinger, has raised questions about how the investigation was handled within the department.
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Late last week, North Port Police Officer Ricky Urbina killed himself, just before he was about to be arrested for sexual battery.

Earlier this month, North Port Police Officers Ricky Urbina and Melanie Turner were accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a birthday party.

Urbina's attorney, Eric Reisinger, has raised questions about how the investigation was handled within the department. He says over the past few weeks, there have been leaks to the press and to bloggers. He says the leaks included detailed information and names, which caused a lot of stress on his client.

While Reisinger wouldn't go as far as saying it caused his client's suicide, he did say it certainly was the cause of some problems.

According to a probable cause affidavit, on March 2, North Port Police Officer Melanie Turner was off duty at a birthday party and asked her friend Ricky Urbina to come by. Urbina was a fellow officer on duty at the time. The document says Urbina went out of his way to go to the party.

Then, while at the party, the document states the two handcuffed the party host and assaulted her in a bedroom.

On Thursday, warrants were issued for the officers' arrest. Urbina's attorney says some of the information was already out there.

"The press was getting wind of everything, even before I was and it was very frustrating," said Urbina.

Over the past few weeks, names and details had been leaked to bloggers and the press.

Eventually, Urbina committed suicide before he was arrested. Reisinger said he even learned that information through a third party, and not directly from police.

"It's counterproductive. I'm not sure where it's coming from because obviously it makes their job more difficult if this stuff is getting into the press," he said.

The attorney believes all the scrutiny really weighed on his client.

“That was one of the things he was worried about, the publicity and his family,” said Reisinger. "He was stressed, he lost some weight. He was very stressed about it."

In the probable cause affidavit, an investigator wrote, "Urbina stated he would be fired over this incident...and that the allegations would cost him his marriage."

A North Port Police spokesman could not comment on the matter, but did say he did not know of any leaks.

“We have no reason to believe that the inappropriate release of information was by a member of our agency," said Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight in a statement.

Despite the leaks, Reisinger said his client was innocent and a polygraph test proved the sex was consensual.

But, Reisinger would not say the leaks led to his client’s suicide. "I can't speculate on that. I have no idea,” he said.

Some have raised questions about the fact that Urbina was notified of his impending arrest. Reisinger says that's common practice among willing defendants and they had actually asked for that to happen.

Melanie turner was arrested without incident last week, and she has since been released on $200,000 bond.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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