Granbury man held in slayings of two women in 2008

A man described by Granbury police as the principal suspect in the fatal shooting of two women as they sat in an SUV outside a Granbury restaurant in 2008 was arrested Thursday on a capital murder charge.

Fred Earl Ingerson III, 50, of Granbury, surrendered to Granbury police Thursday afternoon, according to Ingerson's attorney, Reagan Wynn.

He remained in the Hood County Jail on Thursday night without bail.

Wynn said Ingerson contacted him on Wednesday after Ingerson learned from Texas Rangers that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Ingerson, who works for a Plano company that sells car audio equipment, was in Laredo on business.

Wynn said he then spoke to Hood County District Attorney Rob Christian, who told him that a Hood County grand jury had returned a one-count capital murder indictment against Ingerson. Wynn said that the indictment was sealed and that he had not seen it.

"Mr. Ingerson is a loving father, son and brother. He is innocent and did not commit the crime he's been accused of," Wynn said. "We look forward to a trial in this matter so the truth can come out."

The sentence for capital murder is life in prison without parole or death.

Bodies found

The bodies of Robyn Deann Richter, 32, and Shawna Rachelle Ferris, 35, were found June 28, 2008, in the front seat of Richter's SUV near a restaurant where they had dined the night before. Both had been shot in the head, according to police.

Richter, a title clerk at the Hood County tax assessor's office, and Ferris, who cleaned houses, were divorced and had met at a women's shelter, friends have said. Richter had two children; Ferris had three.

Granbury police Detective Russell Grizzard, who has worked with Texas Ranger Danny Briley in investigating the case since its beginning, said he notified the women's families about Ingerson's arrest Thursday.

"Obviously, they were happy," he said. "It's just human nature that when it takes this long for something to happen, you just start thinking that the case is going to go cold -- [then] there's a bit of surprise, and a little relief."

Granbury Police Chief Mitch Galvan praised Grizzard and Briley, saying they have worked "tirelessly."

"They deserve the credit for us being able to get to the point where an arrest was made," Galvan said.

One of Richter's relatives, reached by phone Thursday, declined to comment.

Earlier brush with law

Grizzard declined to discuss any new evidence against Ingerson, but he said Ingerson had been a suspect from the early stages of the investigation.

Ingerson told police that he had been drinking with the women at the restaurant that night but has denied any involvement in their deaths.

As part of the investigation, however, authorities searched Ingerson's car and Granbury home in August 2008. They seized a Colt .380 pistol inside an armoire in the bedroom and a Colt .38 atop the armoire.

Ingerson had been convicted of forgery and theft in Indiana, so the discovery of the firearms led to his arrest in May on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. In October, Ingerson was sentenced to four years' probation and fined $9,400; he could have been sent to federal prison for 10 years and fined $250,000. Wynn also represented Ingerson in that case.

Federal prosecutor Joshua Burgess has said the seized guns were not related to the slayings.

Reasons for suspicion

According to a search warrant affidavit written by Grizzard in August, Ingerson was considered a suspect in the slayings for various reasons:

A witness saw Ingerson talking to the women in the parking lot just minutes before they were shot. Investigators established the probable time of the shootings based on Richter's cellphone records.

Ingerson gave inconsistent times and versions of the night's events in interviews with investigators.

Ingerson told police that he and Richter were friends but that Richter had hinted that she might be interested in a relationship. Several friends of Richter told police that Richter had told them that Ingerson was trying to advance their relationship but that she was not interested.

Ingerson initially denied owning guns, despite reports to the contrary from his girlfriend and a witness who saw one under the driver's seat of his vehicle on the morning the bodies were found.

Ingerson's latent prints were found on Richter's SUV.

ELIZABETH ZAVALA, 817-390-7418