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crime

Jalen Lee (PCSO photo)

Detectives investigating an assault on a minor at Copper Sky nabbed the accused offender with a long rap sheet last week.

Maricopa Police arrested 21-year-old Jalen Lee Aug. 2 on suspicion of aggravated assault against a minor under 15 years of age. He’s also suspected of armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges in 2016.

Lee’s most recent arrest came nearly one month after the alleged assault took place at Copper Sky Park July 5.

At that time, officers responded to reports of a fight at Copper Sky where a minor told them he was approached by two men he didn’t know, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

One man reportedly asked the victim how old he was. When the minor told him, the other male, later identified as Lee, allegedly said, “I don’t give a f—” and struck the victim in the face.

“(The victim) stated he fell to the ground and was hit by the same unknown person multiple times,” the report alleges.

The two men then fled the scene, but not before several people witnessed the altercation, according to the report.

An older friend who was with the victim at the time of the alleged assault but had run away at the sight of the two men approaching spoke with MPD later that night. The friend told police he has a “beef” with Lee and identified Lee as the person who hit the victim, according to the report.

Detectives identified Lee as their primary suspect and generated a photo lineup using Lee’s Arizona driver’s license.

At the victim’s residence on Aug. 1, his mother told detectives she had learned new information in the weeks that had passed since the assault that would help in identifying the suspect. She said her son’s friend, who spoke with police in July, sent her a picture of Lee from Snapchat and identified him as the person who hit the victim, the report stated.

“(The victim’s friend) confessed to (the mother) that he had a ‘beef’ with (Lee), not (the victim),” according to the report.

The mother posted the Snapchat photo reportedly of Lee to Facebook and asked the public’s assistance in identifying him.

The report alleges several people came forward with Lee’s name, identifying him as the man in the photo.

The victim also identified the man in the photo as the person who assaulted him. Police said Lee’s driver’s license photo matched the man in the Snapchat image.

Police arrested and interviewed Lee the following day. Lee reportedly denied involvement in the assault and “claims officers have the wrong person,” according to the report. Lee is being held in the Pinal County Jail on a $50,000 bond on a slew of charges, most of them unrelated to the Copper Sky assault.

Lee is suspected of aggravated robbery (class 3 felony); armed robbery (class 2 felony); aggravated assault against a minor under 15 years of age (class 2 felony); aggravated assault using a deadly weapon or instrument (class 3 felony); and DUI.

Leslee Martin (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa woman is accused of stabbing her husband with a kitchen knife in front of their two children in the Meadows last weekend.

The Maricopa Police Department arrested Leslee Martin, 40, at a residence on Belle Avenue July 28. She faces charges of aggravated assault, two counts of endangerment and two counts of disorderly conduct.

The incident reportedly began as a verbal argument between Martin and her husband at approximately 8:26 p.m.

“(The husband) was talking to a subject through text messages who his wife was planning on moving in with,” an MPD report alleged.

The subject later blocked Martin’s cell phone contact. The report alleges Martin became angry and began yelling at her husband. Martin’s husband then attempted to leave the home with the children.

As he exited the front door, the report states Martin’s husband set the children down next to him.

“(Martin) came running at (the victim) with a kitchen knife in her right hand and stabbed (the victim) in the left shoulder while slamming the door shut,” according to the report.

Martin’s husband was left with a three-quarters of an inch-wide stab wound to his shoulder. The report states he and the children then ran across the street.

Martin was arrested and transported to the Pinal County Jail, where she remains on a $10,000 secured bond. She’ll be in court Aug. 7 for a bond hearing.

In 2011, Martin pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Aaron Vasquez (MCSO photo 2014)

 

Residents left their Homestead neighborhood early Friday morning to discover numerous agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation swarming a nearby home.

The investigation at a residence on Mac Neil Street July 27 was linked to the arrest of an armed robbery suspect the same day, the FBI confirmed Tuesday.

Aaron Vasquez, 23, was arrested in connection with an armed robbery of a fast food restaurant on Alma School Road in Chandler on May 28.

A series of ongoing armed robberies in May across the valley caught the FBI’s attention and led the agency to believe Vasquez was engaged in “at least 15 armed robberies of various fast food restaurants between September 13, 2017 and July 19, 2018,” according to an FBI press release published Tuesday.

The alleged robberies took place in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe.

Details in the press release allege search warrants executed by the FBI and partner law enforcement agencies last Friday recovered items and clothing similar to items used in various robberies.

“In each robbery, the individual utilized a similar handgun and was described with similar physical characteristics,” the release stated.

The FBI charged Vasquez in a complaint filed in federal court that formally accuses him of the Chandler armed robbery in May but reported possible additional charges may follow in connection to the others.

The Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert and Tempe police departments contributed resources to the investigation, according to the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.

“This is another example of Arizona law enforcement agencies working together to protect our communities from violent crime,” said Michael DeLeon, special agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office.

The Maricopa Police Department said Friday the FBI notified the department of their presence at the address in Homestead. MPD was not on scene July 27, according to MPD Sgt. Hal Koozer.

Vasquez has a previous weapons misconduct conviction out of Maricopa County Superior Court in 2014.

Japhia Richards (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man’s probation officer turned him in for allegedly possessing a myriad of illegal drugs in his bedroom.

Japhia Richards, 33, was arrested July 21 from a home in Senita after officers reportedly found drug paraphernalia, heroin, marijuana, cocaine and prescription pills in his room, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

The incident began when Richards allegedly admitted to his probation officer that he was in possession of syringes, spoons, cigarette wrappers and pipes that he said he used to smoke heroin.

Richards reportedly consented to a room search where the officer found the drugs, including five prescription pill bottles “with the names to the prescription ripped off.”

The police report stated Richards was unable to provide proof of being prescribed those pills.

MPD arrived to assist the probation officer who had detained Richards after the search.

A warrants check found Richards had a felony warrant out of Gilbert’s Highland Justice Court for two counts of aggravated DUI.

Richards was arrested on the felony warrant, two counts of possession of narcotic drugs (class 4 felonies), possession of dangerous drugs (class 4 felony), four counts of possession of prescription only drugs (class 1 misdemeanors), possession of marijuana (class 6 felony), and seven counts of possession of drug paraphernalia (class 6 felonies).

He’s being held in the Pinal County Jail on a $2,700 secured bond.

Sidney J. Cowger (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man has been accused of sexually abusing a young child for three years.

Sidney J. Cowger, 36, was arrested July 16 after the 10-year-old child described details of interactions. The child’s mother had contacted police July 15 with information she had learned from the child.

The child was taken to ChildHelp in Phoenix for a forensic interview and examination. A Maricopa Police detective attended the interview.

The child identified several places in Pinal County where sexual abuse allegedly occurred.

……………

Cowger was arrested July 16 at his place of work in Stanfield. He is held on $100,000 bond at Pinal County Jail and has an arraignment scheduled today in Superior Court.

MPD is suggesting charges of sexual abuse (a class 3 felony), sexual assault (class 2 felony), sexual conduct with a minor (class 2 felony), molestation of a child (class 2 felony) and continuous sex abuse of a child (class 2 felony).

Martin Catha (PCSO photo)

A man was already in criminal traffic trouble before he was dramatically taken into custody in Maricopa last week.

Martin Catha, 31, is accused of auto theft and driving with his license suspended after the midtown arrest Friday.

Catha was allegedly driving a Toyota Camary that had been reported stolen out of Tempe. The car was reportedly a rental car. A Maricopa Police officer saw the vehicle traveling west on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway at 5:45 p.m. and ran the license plate.

The report came back indicating the vehicle was stolen and had last been tracked by Chandler Police Department on Thursday. The MPD officer followed the Camary as it turned north on Pershing and began to turn west onto Honeycutt Road.

The officer initiated a “high-risk” traffic stop, blocking lanes of traffic as other officers responded. Catha was reportedly the only person in the vehicle.

He allegedly told police a woman named Rhianna gave him the vehicle at Wild Horse Pass Casino three days earlier and “told him the vehicle was OK to drive,” according to the MPD report. Officers noted Catha’s license was suspended and arrested him on suspicion of driving on a suspended license as well as theft of means of transportation.

He was booked at Pinal County Jail.

Alejandro Maldonado. (PCSO photo)

 

Police have made an arrest in a December carjacking that involved an armed man wearing a Halloween mask.

Alejandro Maldonado, 39, was arrested July 10 at a Florence parole office after law enforcement allegedly discovered evidence linking him to the vehicle.

The silver Kia Soul was reported stolen Dec. 5 by the owner of the vehicle in the Tacos ‘N More Mexican Grill parking lot. The victim told police a man pointed a black handgun at her head while she was seated in the vehicle.

“(The woman) said an unknown male dressed in all black, wearing a Halloween mask told (her) to ‘give me the (expletive) keys’ multiple times,” according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

The vehicle was last seen northbound on John Wayne Parkway.

Three days after the alleged carjacking, a Phoenix PD officer located the stolen vehicle in an alleyway near Polk Street and 13th Avenue, which led police on a short pursuit.

The driver eventually fled on foot after abandoning the vehicle near Taylor Street.

Phoenix PD did not make contact with the driver but observed his physical characteristics and made note of his black clothing.

Officers later took latent prints from the driver’s side door and door handles. DNA swabs were also taken from the steering wheel and shifter.

A latent print analysis later hit on Maldonado, who was reportedly on parole with Pinal County Probation for armed robbery.

In a recent interview with an MPD officer in Florence, Maldonado denied knowing the victim and being involved in the armed robbery

His DNA and prints were in the vehicle, he allegedly told police, because he washed cars at his Aunt’s residence, according to the report. The victim denied having her vehicle washed there.

Maldonado is being held on a $50,000 secured bond in Pinal County Jail on recommended charges of armed robbery, a class 2 felony; two counts of unlawful means of transportation, class 5 and 6 felonies; and violating the terms of his parole.

LaShawn Johnson is accused of murdering Angela Russo two years ago.

The Phoenix man accused of murdering a Maricopa woman two years ago is set to go to trial.

Angela Russo, 24, went missing April 19, 2016, after going on a date. More than a month later, her remains were found buried in Tonopah.

LaShawn Johnson, now 28, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, auto theft, arson and concealing a body. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

The two apparently met on a dating website. The case received worldwide attention two years ago during the five-week search for Russo.

Johnson’s roommate allegedly provided investigators information that led them to Russo’s remains. Also found was her burned car.

Jury selection is scheduled to being Wednesday in Judge David O. Cunanan courtroom. The trial itself is set to last through Aug. 14.

Russo’s mother Diana Schalow and family continue to operate an Angela Alert on Facebook to help find missing people.

MPD officers discuss a car described as stolen from Tempe. Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa Police Department took a man into custody after stopping a vehicle on Honeycutt Road in the Heritage District around 5 p.m. Friday. Area law enforcement agencies were on the lookout for a stolen rental car reported by the Tempe Police Department. MPD spotted a vehicle matching the description and pulled it over after it exited Pershing Street in a high-risk stop. Officers initially had guns drawn. The male driver was taken into custody without incident, according to MPD.

Tanner Rogers. (PCSO photo)

Tanner Rogers, 31, was arrested July 9 within the Maricopa High School drug-free school zone area.

Initially cited for a traffic violation, he was soon accused of possession of dangerous drugs among other drug-related crimes. Rogers was observed to be riding a bicycle, heading north of Taft Avenue. He was detained by officers after allegedly failing to stop at a stop sign posted on McDavid Road.

According to the police report, during the traffic stop, police observed signs of Rogers being under the influence of stimulants. This observation allegedly led Rogers to confess his possession of marijuana without a medical card. Rogers reportedly handed the officer a small container of the drug.

After the alleged admission, police informed Rogers they would conduct a search of his person, allegedly prompting Rogers to admit to possessing “an ounce of meth” in his pocket. Rogers was arrested and officers allegedly recovered additional marijuana and 18.5 grams of methamphetamine, according to a reported field test.

The total amount of marijuana alleged to be found weighed approximately 11.2 grams. According to reports, police also recovered a digital scale and $263 in cash from Rogers’ pockets. Rogers allegedly admitted to purchasing the methamphetamine to trade the drug for tools in place of another person he knew.

Rogers was booked on possession of dangerous drugs for sale in a drug-free school zone, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, possession/use of marijuana, possession/use of drug paraphernalia.

His bond has been set at $5,000. His next hearing is July 17.

Wellington Pyne (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man is accused of aggravated assault and child abuse after allegedly hitting a child with a hanger.

Wellington Pyne, 38, was arrested Monday at home on Starlight Drive in Maricopa Meadows after Maricopa Police Department received a domestic-violence call around 1 p.m. A witness described as a stepchild accused Pyne of “always beating the children with broken hangers,” according to the police report.

In Monday’s incident, the reporting party claimed Pyne had beaten his biological child with a hanger for “peeing on the floor inside the house.” Though the witness did not see the interaction between Pyne and the child, the witness alleged to have heard about 10 strikes and the sound of crying.

An investigating officer reported seeing “multiple injuries” to the child’s bottom and back. The injuries were described as fresh and raised on the skin surface. “The injuries appeared consistent with the shape of the hanger that was found,” the report states.

A witness told police Pyne hit the child with a “pink stick” several times, a stick later identified as the hanger.

Pyne told police he was upset about the peeing incident and spanked the child on the bottom with an open hand two or three times while the child was wearing jean shorts. He denied ever using a hanger for discipline and said the child’s injuries came from rough-housing with the other children.

The hanger was photographed and taken as evidence. Pyne was taken into custody and booked at the Pinal County Jail in Florence.

 

Jose Valenzuela is accused of the June 2015 murders of Tina and Michael Careccia. PCSO photo

The trial date for a Maricopa double-murder case, which has been hanging in limbo for more than three years was set Monday.

The trial for Jose Ignacio Valenzuela, 40, the alleged killer of Michael and Tina Carreccia, is set to begin April 24, 2019.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The case, which was initially filed in 2015, has seen numerous delays as a result of changes to both defense and prosecution teams.

Recently, lead defense attorney James Mannato, who had been working the case since its initial filing, decided to retire.

A new defense attorney, Bobbi Faldutto, was brought in to replace Mannato.

Falduto immediately requested more time to get familiar with the case, asking for a trial date no sooner than September 2019.

Special prosecutor Gary Husk, who himself was brought in the fold late,  contested the defense’s request, calling it “completely unreasonable.”

Husk, a prosecutor from Navajo County, was assigned to the case after attorney Kent Volkmer was elected as the Pinal County attorney in 2016 and was forced to recuse himself due to previous ties to the case.

Presiding Judge Kevin White is also set to begin a new judicial assignment toward the end of the year. However, he said, given he had been involved in the case for so long it is likely he will see the case through trial.

At Monday’s hearing, Falduto suggested the defense would need six to eight weeks to make arguments. Husk, on the other hand, believes the prosecution can make its case in as few as four weeks.

Valenzuela, who was not present for the hearing, stands accused of shooting and then burying the Carrecias next to his home in Thunderbird Farms the night of June 21, 2015, Father’s Day.

A status hearing for the trial was set for Sept. 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Pinal County Court House in Florence.

Maryroefina Catha (PCSO photo)

Police say the manager of a local grocery chain was the victim of assault at the hands of an alleged shoplifter Friday.

Maryroefina Catha, 40, was arrested the morning of June 15 at the Bashas’ grocery store for allegedly attempting to steal a six-pack of beer, a box of wine and margarita mix.

Prior to her arrest, Catha attempted to exit the building with the stolen items. The store manager reportedly confronted her and attempted to “secure” the woman’s purse.

That’s when Catha “grabbed (the manager’s) neck and arms from behind” and claimed she had a gun in her purse, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

A responding officer noted abrasions on the manager’s shoulder and side. Catha denied stealing the alcohol and allegedly admitted to physically grabbing the store manager.

MPD forwarded charges of class 1 misdemeanor shoplifting and assault, also a class 1 misdemeanor.

Catha has one prior shoplifting charge out of Maricopa County in April.

Roary Howard Jr. (PCSO photo)

Conversations between family members prompted a disturbing call to police last week.

Officers with the Maricopa Police Department received reports June 14 that a Maricopa man living in Senita had sexually abused “several” minors.

Howard Roary Jr., 58, was arrested later that day on two counts of sexual assault, sexual conduct with a minor and child molestation. The offenses allegedly occurred in his Maricopa home on Toya Street and in California.

Roary is not a registered sex offender. He’s had prior arrests in Maricopa County for disorderly conduct, fighting and threatening.

Before being transported to the Pinal County Jail, police reports state Roary denied sexually abusing and molesting children.

Roary will be in Pinal County Superior Court June 22 for a bail bond hearing. He’s in custody on a $50,000 secured bond.

Miguel Figueroa. PCSO photo

After pleading guilty to stabbing his wife to death, Miguel Figueroa, 47, of Maricopa was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of “earning” parole after 25 years.

Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin White called Figueora’s actions in 2016 a “horrific offense” and said the harm done was “palpable in the courtroom.”

A family member of Olivia Figueroa made an emotional plea to the judge asking him to sentence her cousin’s killer to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“We all miss her. I’ll never ever forgive him. Nobody will,” she said.

Deputy County Attorney Kristen Sharifi said Olivia Figueroa suffered around 35 stab wounds, with the weapon penetrating her skull and her heart.

“There was massive destruction to this woman’s body,” Sharifi said.

Figueroa told White he was sorry for what he had done and was willing to pay the price. “Lord have mercy on my soul,” he said.

But Figueroa’s life sentence does not begin until after he has served time for attempted aggravated assault on his son and for a parole violation. White sentenced Figueroa to six years for the assault and 2.5 for the parole violation, to be served consecutively. He is credited with 554 days already served behind bars.

A mitigating factor for the judge was the fact that Figueroa pleaded guilty and took responsibility for the crime, sparing his children a trial.

Figueroa’s two adult children’s absence during sentencing Monday afternoon was much discussed by prosecution and the defense.

“At this point they don’t ever want to speak to him again,” Sharifi said.

The events leading up to the Dec. 10 murder of Olivia Figueroa in 2016 were detailed by defense attorney Mark Benson.

Olivia and her son were living separately from Miguel in a family member’s home.

After a family shopping trip concluded in Phoenix, Miguel allegedly became angry with Olivia when she reportedly refused to return with Miguel to his home.

The son, also a witness, allegedly told prosecution this “infuriated” his father, Sharifi said.

The Maricopa Police Department soon began receiving emergency calls from residents in a neighborhood hearing a woman being beaten in a truck.

Olivia was later found stabbed to death in a desert area of the Heritage District.

“This was a man who was married to this woman for over 20 years. He should’ve been her protector. He should’ve taken care of her. He had a chance while he was on probation to turn his life around to receive the help to better his life, to better Olivia’s life, but instead he let his anger overcome him and he took her out of this world,” Sharifi said.

Benson said had the case gone to trial, he would have likely used a “crime of passion” defense.

A report from a clinical psychologist in February of this year did not include reports of anger management issues. However, the report stated Figueroa said he’s suffered from depression all his life and has “always entertained thoughts of suicide” since a young age.

The report also stated Figueroa had a history of experiencing auditory hallucinations and narcotic drug use.

The Maricopa Police Department recently arrested a man after he allegedly missed his court date for driving on a suspended license.

But it’s what reportedly happened when officers booked Eduardo Luna into jail June 9 that turned a misdemeanor case into multiple felony recommendations.

A report from MPD alleges Luna attempted to conceal drugs and paraphernalia on his person while being processed into the Pinal County Adult Detention Facility in Florence.

“(Luna) verbally identified the items as a meth pipe and meth, which he claims he concealed behind his testicles,” the report states.

In addition to the class 1 misdemeanor failure to appear charge, Luna also faces three drug offenses: promoting prison contraband, a class 2 felony; dangerous drug possession, a class 4 felony; and drug paraphernalia possession, a class 6 felony.

Arthur Eric Magana and Gustavo Olivo are charged with murder. PCSO photos

Monday, Pinal County Judge Christopher O’Neil set the trial date for one of the teens accused of murdering 20-year-old Wyatt Miller nearly two years ago.

Arthur Eric Magana will stand trial Nov. 13 at 9 a.m. in front of Judge Kevin White and a 12-person jury.

The November trial was tentatively scheduled in April when White officially set the trial for co-defendant Gustavo Olivo.

John Schaus, attorney for Olivo, previously expressed a desire to settle his client’s case without a trial. However, Olivo’s trial begins two weeks before Magana’s on Oct. 30.

O’Neil, who was covering White’s docket temporarily Monday afternoon, affirmed the October trial date. O’Neil said the two trials will remain under White and will not be subjected to reassignment. Both trials are estimated to last six days each.

The teens are accused of first degree murder and burglary in the shooting death of Miller on Nov. 7, 2016, in an unincorporated area of Maricopa.

Magana and Olivo will return to court for status review hearings in July.

InMaricopa File Photo

Maricopa Police Department has seen a dramatic drop in property crimes compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Crimes of burglary, theft and vehicle theft fell by about 50 percent. Though MPD is too cautious to call it a trend (second-quarter numbers may still show something different), the department does credit public engagement.


“We partnered with the Vehicle Theft Task Force and a car-watcher program,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said.

In the first quarter of 2017 (January, February and March), there were 15 vehicles reported stolen. This year, over the same time period, eight vehicles were stolen.

Theft, including shoplifting, is Maricopa’s top crime. There were 146 such incidents reported in the first-quarter last year. This year, it was down to 73.

Alvarado said MPD implemented programs and reached out to shopkeepers to explain how they could “change little things to cut down on shoplifting.” Businesses seem to have been receptive, he said.

Residents have also responded to MPD’s requests to call in any suspicious activity, Alvarado said, with MPD making that a little easier with its app.

Whether the first-quarter numbers are a trend or a temporary impact, Alvarado said MPD is glad to see the public engaged in preventing and reporting crimes.

Terrance Words (PCSO photo)

A woman called authorities last week alleging the father of her child was attempting to break down the back door to her home.

The incident reportedly occurred May 31 at 7:16 p.m. on Bishop Drive in Rancho El Dorado.

Before officers arrived, Terrance Words, 29, allegedly kicked down the door, entered the home, argued with the victim and damaged a television before leaving the residence.

MPD arrested Words less than 10 minutes later when officers pulled over his vehicle on Lakeview Drive near State Route 347.

“(Words) admitted to kicking in the back door of the house so he could get his car keys and leave the residence,” the police report states.

The suspect allegedly told police the woman locked him in the backyard.

The reporting officer also alleged in the report that Words admitted to arguing with the woman after she asked him to leave the home and to kicking a table “which caused a television to fall.”

The traffic stop also resulted in police discovering Words was driving on a suspended driver license, according to the report.

MPD forwarded charges of criminal damage domestic violence, a class 2 misdemeanor; disorderly conduct domestic violence, a class 1 misdemeanor; and driving on suspended drivers license, a class 1 misdemeanor.

Police arrested a man on multiple drug offenses last week after allegedly discovering heroin and meth in his possession.

According to a police report, Enapay Estep is accused of having one gram of heroin, 16 grams of methamphetamine, and various drug paraphernalia on his person during a traffic stop June 1 around 7 p.m. on John Wayne Parkway near the Good 2 Go gas station.

Estep was reportedly the backseat passenger in a vehicle pulled over by the Maricopa Police Department for allegedly failing to stop for a stop sign.

The driver of the vehicle did not have a valid driver license, according to the report. MPD later arrested the driver and a front-seat passenger on outstanding warrants after police reportedly discovered marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Estep consented to officers searching him after they told him marijuana was found in the car. The reporting officer stated Estep admitted to having drugs in his pockets.

An officer also found a spoon with heroin residue, a piece of cotton “Enapay said was used as a filter,” one scale and one needle.

MPD forwarded against Estep charges of possession of marijuana, a class 6 felony; possession of drug paraphernalia, a class 6 felony; possession of dangerous drugs, a class 4 felony; and possession of narcotic drugs, a class 4 felony.

Police later booked Estep into the Pinal County Jail.

Shawn Main. PCSO photo

 

The homicide case involving a Maricopa woman might not see trial until after the third anniversary of the victim’s death.

Shawn Main, 48, was scheduled to stand trial in July in the first-degree murder and child abuse of 3-year-old Tiana Capps.

The toddler died of blunt force trauma at Banner Casa Grande Regional Medical Center after Main, the child’s caretaker, called for emergency help on Ralston Road southwest of Maricopa in December 2015.

In April, the defense team successfully pushed the trial to January.

Co-attorneys Chester Lockwood and Cody Weagant argued they needed additional time to prepare the defense, blaming much of it on their client’s alleged medical conditions.

Main’s health issues include “probable and suspected” heart problems, diabetes, chronic swelling and poor circulation of the feet, a goiter and a growth on her chest area, according to a court document filed in April.

The defense team said Main needs a primary care physician and a complete medical evaluation before an eventual thyroid surgery ahead of trial. Lockwood and Weagant wrote in their motion to court that neither they nor their client had a timeline for when those would occur.

Instead of preparing for her summer trial, Main and her attorneys are now hoping to dig through evidence they motioned for access to in May.

The defense is asking the court to release electronic devices seized by the state, including those belonging to Main’s co-defendants: her ex-wife Maria Tiglao and the victim’s biological mother Tina Morse.

“It is believed the seized devices contain exculpatory evidence and the state has possessed the same for nearly three years,” court documents state.

Main is also motioning the court for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) records for the victim and her three siblings who lived with Main and the other two women in a home in unincorporated Maricopa.

Court documents state the Casa Grande WIC office weighed and measured the children during each visit.

A medical examiner testified earlier this year that Tiana Capps was undernourished.

Counsel for the victims has until early June to file a response to those motions.

Main will be in court for a hearing July 16 at 3 p.m.


Plea deal gets Maricopa mom 2 years in prison after child’s death

Court preps for ‘pre-trial’ against woman accused of killing 3-year-old

Medical examiner testifies in homicide of Maricopa toddler

Homicide detective testifies in death of 3-year-old

 

 

A parked vehicle and an electrical box were damaged Saturday after a woman allegedly struck them with her vehicle and fled the scene, according to police.

The incident reportedly took place near a home on Big Dipper Drive in Province around 5 p.m., May 26.

Witnesses told the Maricopa Police Department a vehicle hit and subsequently pushed a Ford pickup truck approximately 10 feet into an electrical utility box owned by Electrical District No. 3.

The suspected at-fault vehicle was described as a silver SUV being driven erratically in the area.

The truck received damage to its rear passenger-side corner, taillight and bumper. The electrical box was “broken off from the concert base it was on,” according to an MPD police report.

About an hour later, MPD officers located a vehicle in the Villages subdivision matching the description given by witnesses. They eventually made contact with the alleged driver, Rebecca Wallace, at a residence on Ryans Trail.

There, officers noted damage on the passenger side of Wallace’s Chevy Equinox that “matched the damage to” the Ford pickup in Province.

Police said Wallace allegedly admitted to being involved in the accident. However, she then reportedly told an officer she no longer wanted to speak to police.

“(Wallace) was also found to be impaired,” the report alleged.

MPD forwarded charges of class 6 felony criminal damage for the estimated $1,000 worth of repairs to the truck and utility box; failing to fulfill duty on striking an unattended vehicle, a class 3 misdemeanor; and striking a fixture on a highway, also a class 3 misdemeanor.

A DUI charge is pending on the results from Wallace’s blood sample, according to the report.

Carlos Soliz (PCSO photo)

Witnesses to a verbal fight between a motorist and his pedestrian girlfriend told police the man drove in opposing lanes of traffic while pursuing her.

The May 16 incident initially occurred on Maricopa–Casa Grande Highway at approximately 11:36 a.m.

Police arrested Carlos Soliz, 38, at the Pershing Road intersection after independent witnesses reported his alleged reckless behavior behind the wheel.

A Maricopa Police Department report alleges Soliz pursued the woman and “left the roadway to block her safe passage on the sidewalk,” causing an unreasonable inconvenience and hazard to traffic.

The woman then attempted to run to the opposite side of the roadway. Soliz allegedly exited his vehicle near the highway and Pershing Road and continued to verbally fight with his girlfriend, according to the report.

“(Soliz’s) behavior became serious and disruptive when he prevented her from walking past him until they had a conversation about issues in their relationship,” the reporting officer wrote.

The officer goes on to allege in the report that Soliz’S behavior would have continued against the victim if police hadn’t intervened.

MPD forwarded charges of disorderly conduct (class 1 misdemeanor), obstructing a highway (class 3 misdemeanor) and reckless driving (class 2 misdemeanor) against Soliz and later transported him to Pinal County Jail.

Betty Davis (PCSO photo)

A caller alerted police to a “possible sex offense” involving two allegedly nude people off the side of a local road.

Officers with the Maricopa Police Department responded to the Heritage District area of Garvey Avenue and Loma Road Wednesday around 6:46 p.m. The report refers to the intersection as a “lightly traveled road.”

Going off notes received from the call, MPD was prepared to assess the report of a man and a woman “out in the open naked” in the area near a white van.

“The caller reported the female appeared to be struggling,” according to the report.

However, once on scene, officers found a man wearing pants and a woman fully clothed.

The couple told police they had been “making out” consensually.

After the interviews, officers concluded no crime occurred.

That was before a wants and warrants check was performed. Officers discovered the woman, 43-year-old Betty Davis, was wanted on a valid warrant for failing to pay out of Mesa Justice Court with a $600 bond.

MPD transported Davis to the Pinal County Adult Detention Center.

Michael Moore. (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man faces felony charges stemming from a shooting Saturday afternoon. As reported earlier, a neighborhood in Desert Cedars was shut down by law enforcement during the investigation.

Michael Moore, 25, is accused of shooting a female in the hand. Maricopa Police Department is still looking for a weapon.

MPD was called to the 44000 block of West Buckhorn Trail at around 1:50 p.m. May 19. Officers found a female with a gunshot wound to her left hand.

She reported told officers she was a passenger in a car being driven by a friend and they were retrieving mail at the address. A single shot was fired into the back window, hitting her hand. She gave officers the description and location of the suspect.

Officers saw a male matching the description getting into a vehicle. They conducted a “high-risk stop,” and Moore was taken into custody without incident.

The female was transported to a hospital. No one else was injured during the event.

Moore was booked in the Pinal County jail on charges of aggravated assault, endangerment and possession of drugs. MPD stated there was “no clear motive,” which is still being investigated.

Moore is scheduled for a hearing in Pinal County Superior Court on May 22.

Miguel Figueroa. PCSO photo

The man accused of killing his wife with a sword in 2016 will face 25 years to life in prison after admitting guilt in court Monday.

Miguel Figueroa pleaded guilty May 21 to the first-degree murder of Olivia Figueroa near the Heritage District in Maricopa.

As part of the plea deal, a kidnapping charge was dropped.

Figueroa also admitted guilt in the attempted aggravated assault of his son with a .22 caliber gun in the same incident. He agreed to serve six years in the Department of Corrections as part of the plea on that charge.

Pinal County Judge Kevin White said Figueroa’s admittance to the two counts resulted in an automatic violation of his probation, stemming from two drug paraphernalia possession convictions in 2015.

The disposition on the probation violation will be heard during sentencing June 18 at 1:30 p.m.

However, sentencing may be delayed by the defense counsel in a future motion which would ask to continue the court date in lieu of hiring an expert to identify the mitigating and aggravating factors in the probation case.

Figueroa’s plea comes nearly two months before his trial date in July. White vacated the trial Monday.


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Tony Suares. PCSO photo

Medical crews transported a local woman to the hospital Monday evening after she sustained injuries at the hands of her husband, according to the Maricopa Police Department.

Tony Suares, 37, allegedly caused temporary “but substantial disfigurement” to his wife’s face during an argument that turned physical May 15 at 6:02 p.m. in Alterra.

An MPD police report states Suares struck the victim in the face approximately 10 times with his closed fists.

The reporting officer observed multiple contusions on the woman’s forehead, nose, upper lip and both cheeks.

Suares allegedly screamed profanities while abusing the victim, which reportedly caused her to fear for her life. He was arrested on suspicion of class 4 felony aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, a class 1 misdemeanor.

During questioning by officers, the suspect said he blacked out and denied remembering anything before or after the assault. But Suares allegedly told police his wife “said something to set him off, causing him to punch her,” according to the report.

MPD transported him to the Pinal County Jail, where he remained in custody as of Wednesday afternoon.

Kenneth Davis. PCSO photo

The Maricopa Police Department assisted in taking a sexual assault suspect into custody last week.

Kenneth Marzette Davis Jr., 27, was arrested May 3 at a home on West Griffis Drive in The Villages after the Avondale Police Department requested help from MPD.

Davis reportedly has a nationwide, extraditable warrant issued out of Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office in Cleveland, Ohio, according to an MPD report.

“It was stated they had an open sexual assault case they were investigating and wanted to interview (Davis),” the report states.

Avondale detectives interviewed Davis after his arrest. He was later transported to the Pinal County Adult Detention Facility.

Davis was booked on the outstanding warrant and a sexual assault charge, a class 2 felony.

A Pinal County Superior Court judge will decide Davis’ bond eligibility May 10. The suspect’s extradition status will be heard in court the next day.

Multiple witnesses at a local tavern reported observing a man “placing his hands on or around the throat” of a juvenile over the weekend.

The Maricopa Police Department arrested William Bentley May 5 on suspicion of two aggravated assault charges related to strangulation against a minor, child abuse and endangerment.

The incident reportedly occurred at approximately 7:27 p.m. at True Grit Tavern, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway.

According to witnesses, the child had been with his mother and two other juveniles at the establishment since 11 a.m.

Hours later, Bentley gave a statement to police after being read his Miranda rights.

“He said when he got to the bar where his girlfriend and the three juveniles (were), including the victim, they had dinner and the victim was ‘acting up,’ so they decided to leave,” according to the police report.

Witnesses told police the mother and Bentley yelled and screamed at the victim inside the bar.

Bentley said the child became disruptive. He allegedly admitted to grabbing the child, taking him behind a pillar and holding the victim’s wrists against that pillar.

Statements from the day-shift waitress and other tavern witnesses to the incident expand beyond Bentley’s account.

“(The witness) said Bentley had his hands around the juvenile’s throat and the juvenile was lifted off the ground,” the report states.

One witness said she ran to the pillar and yelled at Bentley to put the child down.

Crews transported the boy for a medical evaluation. The victim allegedly told medical staff Bentley “placed his hands around his throat and lifted him up,” according to the report.

The victim also informed medics of throat pain and sore arms.