Jose Valenzuela Jr. was back in Superior Court Monday.

A Maricopa murder suspect has been requested to submit a sample of pubic hair.

Prosecuting attorney Patrick Johnson said the hair could be further proof of physical contact between Jose Valenzuela Jr. and the victims, Tina and Michael Careccia, on the night they died.

Public Defender James Mannato protested the state was up to something else.

“That is outside the bounds of this murder case,” Mannato told Judge Kevin White.

The pre-trial hearing was Monday morning at Pinal County Superior Court.

Valenzuela is accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of the Careccias on June 21. Their bodies were found buried on his property on Papago Road early on the morning July 2, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Mannato said the state is trying to infer some kind of sexual contact. He said that is irrelevant to the charges.

Johnson, however, said the effort to obtain a hair sample “goes to premeditation.” He said an unidentified pubic hair was found on one of the victims.

Michael and Tina Careccia lived with family members two streets away from the man charged with their murders. (Instagram)
Michael and Tina Careccia lived with family members two streets away from the man charged with their murders. (Instagram)

Judge White approved the motion to retrieve the sample.

Mannato continues to put together a challenge to the Grand Jury proceedings, saying some things or motives may have been put in front of the jurors that were not in evidence. He has until Nov. 9 to file that challenge.

“Allegedly, he admitted to the things he’s been charged with, but I don’t know if that’s true or not,” Mannato said.

The Careccias were shot to death, according to the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office, which also found methamphatamine and amphetamines in the Careccias’ systems.

The arraignment in the double-murder case was in July before Judge Dwight Callahan, who had issued an order allowing the case to be televised. Monday, White was asked to clarify that order.

Johnson said the victims’ family members are not opposed to televised coverage as long as they are not shown on screen. Mannato said though media interest has waned at this point it will intensify by the time of the trail.

“I ask the court to not allow the case to be televised,” Mannato said. “It does present a very clear risk to Mr. Valenzuela being able to have a fair trial.”

White said he would not order cancellation of televised coverage. The judge will look at the order and may modify it. He said it not a matter of whether it would take place but “how it will take place.”

A trial date has not been set. Valenzuela’s next pre-trial hearing is Nov. 23 at 1:30 p.m.


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