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crime

Adam C. Fox (PCSO photo)

 

Adam C. Fox was arrested by Maricopa Police Department on suspicion of assault and criminal damage on the evening of Oct. 9 at 7:24 p.m. Both offenses are said to have occurred on Oct. 8 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The report alleges Fox became upset during a verbal argument with Jessica Slife and grabbed her by the throat.

“Adam then intentionally impeded the normal breathing of Jessica by applying pressure to Jessica’s throat for approximately three to four seconds,” the report says. “Jessica managed to free herself however Adam managed to grab her again.”

Slife said she didn’t feel safe leaving the residence on West Dutchman Drive until after Fox left the next day.

Rickey Alderidge (PCSO photo)

 

Maria Osgood was loading groceries into her SUV in the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter, 41650 W Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy Oct. 9 evening when a man approached her, demanding the keys to her vehicle before pulling a knife.

Osgood’s Jeep Cherokee Sport was already running with the keys in the ignition. When the man seemed to realize this, he “shoved Osgood away from the vehicle and got into the driver’s seat,” according to a police report. She sustained lacerations and bruising on her legs, arms, hands and face.

The man reversed out of the parking spot, striking Osgood’s grocery cart, which became lodged under the vehicle. Despite this, he successfully fled the scene.

Osgood’s purse and cellphone were in the vehicle when it was stolen. Police were able to track the phone, locating the vehicle on North Canton Way north of State Route 84 in Stanfield. Rickey L. Alderidge was found in the vehicle and was placed under arrest at 11:22 p.m.

Osgood was brought to the scene and identified Alderidge as the man who pulled the knife earlier. A knife matching the description given by Osgood was found on him.

Once at the Maricopa Police Station, Alderidge said he was recently released from a prison in Texas and was homeless. When told he had been identified by Osgood, he requested a lawyer and no further questions were asked by police. Alderidge faces charges of aggravated assault, armed robbery, theft of means of transportation and criminal damage.

He is in Pinal County jail on a $25,000 bond.

Randy Attson (PCSO photo)

 

A welfare check on a parked and running car in the early-morning hours led to a drug arrest Wednesday.

According to Maricopa Police Department records, a white car was parked on the dirt shoulder of Smith-Enke Road east of DR Horton Drive just before 4 a.m. The vehicle was running with its headlights on.

The man in the driver’s seat identified himself as Randy Attson, 41. The officer reported seeing a pint glass in the car’s cup holder containing liquid that looked like beer. Attson allegedly admitted the pint glass was from a bar he visited earlier.

The officer also observed a blow torch at Attson’s feet, indicating the implement is sometimes associated with illegal drug use. When the officer asked if there was a methamphetamine pipe in the car, Attson allegedly said it was between the driver’s seat and the center console.

A search reportedly turned up three glass pipes and about 2.5 grams of meth. A warrant check also revealed Attson’s driving privilege was suspended and he had an extraditable warrant out of West Mesa Justice Court for a traffic offense with a $1,300 bond.

Attson was booked at Pinal County jail, where he remains in custody. Recommended charges are possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license.

Darien Alexa Dawn Huggins, 16, was reportedly last seen in Maricopa Sept. 15. She is reported to be with Amran Mohammad Dawlatzai, 24.

UPDATE: Darien Huggins is back home.


Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a Maricopa teenager who has not been seen since last night.

Darien Alexa Dawn Huggins, 16, is thought to be with 24-year-old Amran Mohammad Dawlatzai, who may be in the East Valley.

Huggins is described as 5-foot-4, 140 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen at her home in Maricopa wearing a gray shirt and shorts, and her hair was in a ponytail. Dawlatzai is described as 6-foot-0, 250 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

He is driving a 1999 champagne-colored Ford F150 with Arizona plate CJN 9567.

If you have information, call 520-866-5111.

Timothy Campbell. PCSO photo

Maricopa Police arrested a man suspected of driving under the influence while transporting precious cargo last week.

Timothy Campbell, 38, is accused of carrying with him four children during a traffic stop Aug. 26 when he was tagged with seven varying counts of aggravated DUI and endangerment.

MPD arrested Campbell at approximately 3:55 p.m. at the Good 2 Go gas station at  John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Road.

A police report alleges prior to the arrest, one of the young passengers sparked the interest of an officer operating a patrol vehicle southbound on John Wayne Parkway.

“I observed a small juvenile female sitting on top of a person’s lap in the front passenger seat, (the child) then attempted to duck their head in a red Ford F-150 (truck),” according to the report.

The officer activated his emergency lights and pulled the vehicle over at the gas station. The ages of the four children observed inside the truck were withheld in the report, but all were reportedly under 15 years old.

Campbell allegedly told the officer he was driving on a suspended license and reportedly admitted to consuming intoxicating beverages.

Police dispatch informed the officer Campbell is also required to drive with an ignition interlock device, but there was no device in the vehicle, according to the report.

Campbell completed a standard field sobriety test with “poor results.”

MPD transported the DUI suspect to its headquarters where Campbell completed a second breathalyzer test with results showing a blood alcohol content of .162, more than twice the legal limit.

Officers forwarded seven counts against Campbell to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office: Aggravated DUI: Driving with a suspended driver license (class 4 felony); Aggravated DUI: Driving without an ignition interlock device (class 4 felony); DUI with four children inside the vehicle under the age of 15 (class 6 felonies); Aggravated DUI impaired to the slightest degree (class 1 misdemeanor); Aggravated DUI .08 BAC or above (class 1 misdemeanor); Aggravated DUI: .15 BAC or above (class 1 misdemeanor); Endangerment (class 1 misdemeanor).

 

A person has died after being tased in a confrontation with Maricopa Police officers early Saturday morning in the backyard of an Acacia Crossing home.

According to MPD, a possible burglary was reported around 3:45 a.m. Officers responded to the 45000 block of Paitilla Lane. A caller reported the breaking of the glass door and told police someone had entered the house. She was told to stay on the phone and confine herself to a restroom for protection.

Officers arrived to hear the suspect in the backyard yelling.

“Officers entered the backyard and gave commands to the subject to get on the ground,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado reported. “During the arrest commands the subjected charged the officers and began to fight. Due to the subject’s acts of aggression toward he officers, he was tased.”

Police cuffed him and put on leg restraints. Maricopa Fire/Medical Department responded and checked the suspect. According to MPD, the man stopped breathing while MFMD was on scene. He was transported to Chandler Regional Medical Center.

He was later pronounced dead by the hospital staff.

The individual is described only as a 36-year-old male while the in-custody death is investigated by the Department of Public Safety.

Constance and William Gabriel were arrested in Maricopa and accused of contracting crimes in California. PCSO photos

A California contractor and her husband were arrested in Maricopa this month and now face at least 79 charges, including 33 felonies.

Constance Ruth Gabriel, 51, and William Ernest Gabriel, 65, were taken into custody Aug. 9 by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office on fugitive warrants after an investigation by the Contractors State License Board in Santa Clara County. They are charged with grand theft and elder abuse, among other accusations. Their bail was set at more than $580,000.

The Gabriels were returned to California today and are due to be arraigned Friday in San Jose.

“The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office will always support any agency that needs help getting criminals off the streets,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb. “Our deputies worked hard to track down and arrest Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel and are thankful we’re able to bring justice to their victims.”

The Gabriels are accused of stealing more than $855,000 from at least 33 victimes in a scheme to construct sunrooms. According th CSLB, in many cases they collected illegally large down payments and then either never did any work or did very little work before abandoning the jobs.

They operated Sunrooms America, Inc., Sunrooms America Direct and Gabriel Construction Company. Earlier this year, CSLB revoked the three company licenses.

“Contractors should never think that leaving California frees them from facing the consequences of their law-breaking actions here,” said CSLB Registrar David R. Fogt. “Our law enforcement partners in Santa Clara County and Pinal County, Arizona, share CSLB’s commitment to consumer protection and worked closely with us to make this arrest.”

Charges include aggravated white collar enhancements because the two allegedly took more than $500,000 from victims and damaged or destroyed property with a value exceeding $200,000.

Fabian Andrade (left) and Jacob Sanchez. PCSO photos

An alleged attempt to sell marijuana ended in the arrest of two suspected drug dealers Monday night, according to the Maricopa Police Department.

Jacob Sanchez, 21, and Fabian Andrade, 19, are accused of a host of charges including weapons misconduct, selling marijuana, possessing drug paraphernalia, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.

Police were alerted to the alleged incident by a phone call at approximately 11:51 p.m. on Aug. 27.

The caller told emergency dispatchers that people inside a dark grey Nissan Infiniti passenger vehicle pointed a handgun at his or her residence near Jeremy and Wilson Streets in the Senita subdivision.

Officers identified the vehicle in the same location six minutes later and conducted a “high risk” stop, according to an MPD report.

After being safely detained, Sanchez and Andrade allegedly told officers they attempted to sell marijuana to the person who phoned police earlier that night at a different location.

The report accuses Sanchez of admitting to possessing the marijuana that was for sale. Sanchez also allegedly told police he handed the drug to Andrade, who then allegedly handed it to the customer.

The recipient of the transaction left without paying for the marijuana, the pair told police.

Sanchez and Andrade told officers they drove to the customer’s residence “at which time (Sanchez) had taken (Andrade)’s gun and placed it in his lap and then had it showing outside of the window as they were in front of (the) home.”

Both suspects allegedly said they went to the residence to seek payment.

The report alleges the men told police they exited the vehicle and approached the home. Sanchez reportedly admitted to ringing the doorbell and puncturing the tire of the customer’s vehicle with a knife.

Officers searching the vehicle used by Sanchez and Andrade reportedly discovered a handgun and scales with “green, leafy residue” located in the rear passenger compartment near where Sanchez was sitting.

Andrade reportedly told police he owned the handgun for protection while conducting drug sales, according to the report.

Police forwarded identical charges against the pair.

Sanchez and Andrade could face charges of misconduct involving weapons (class 4 felony), possession of marijuana for sale (class 2-5 felony), possession of drug paraphernalia (class 6 felony), criminal damage (class 1-2 misdemeanor) and disorderly conduct (class 1 misdemeanor).

MPD transported the suspects to Pinal County Jail, where they remain in custody as of Tuesday afternoon.

Thomas Sikes (left) and Bryon Carrillo face charges after a crash killed two of their friends Sunday. MCSO photos

 

Detectives arrested two men from Maricopa in connection to a fatal accident that claimed the life of two other passengers in the Valley.

The one-vehicle crash reportedly occurred Sunday at approximately 1:30 a.m. on southbound State Route 143 near the Interstate 10 junction. Maricopa resident Johnnie Verdoza, 21, and Carlos E. Monteverde Garcia, 25, from Sonora, Mexico, were killed in the wreck, according to DPS.

The alleged driver, 22-year-old Thomas Robert Sikes, is facing two counts of suspicion of manslaughter and one count of endangerment. Sikes’ passenger, Bryon Jesus Carrillo, 21, is accused of obstruction of a criminal investigation.

The heavily damaged 2015 Nissan passenger vehicle was discovered during the early morning hours of Aug. 19 by a DPS trooper responding to a report of an unknown injury crash.

“After a walk though of the area, the trooper was unable to locate the driver of the vehicle or victims from the crash,” the DPS news release states.

The bodies of the victims were eventually discovered hours later.

At 9 p.m. Aug. 19, family members of one of the victims found the bodies approximately 50 feet south of the crash scene. The family tracked a cell phone signal to the location and reported it to Phoenix Police.

The DPS report states the bodies appeared to have been concealed with foliage.

The Pinal County Sherriff’s Office later notified DPS they received a call from Carrillo, a surviving passenger.

Adriana Colin-Lemus has also been charged in the incident. MCSO photo

Carrillo reportedly told law enforcement he and his friends were headed home to Maricopa after leaving a bar in Tempe at the time of the crash.

The report includes Carrillo’s recollection of what came after the wreck. He describes climbing out of the vehicle and his unsuccessful attempt to locate the two friends allegedly missing from the car.

Carrillo accused Sikes of encouraging him to leave the area together, according to the report.

Later, Sikes’ girlfriend reportedly picked up the pair at a nearby gas station. None of them called emergency responders to report the fatal crash, DPS said.

The girlfriend, 25-year-old Adriana Colin-Lemus of Peoria, is suspected of hindering prosecution.

Sikes, Carrillo and Colin-Lemus and are being held in Maricopa County Jail.

Diana Edwards. PCSO photo

A man called law enforcement last week after his wife discovered a woman attempting to break into their home.

Diana Edwards, 32, is suspected of aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, possession of dangerous drugs and paraphernalia and second-degree burglary. The woman was also wanted on two felony warrants at the time of her arrest.

The incident allegedly occurred Aug. 12 at approximately 11:11 a.m. at a residence on Cielo Lane in Maricopa, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

Edwards is reportedly the ex-girlfriend of the man living in the home.

According to the report, the man’s wife observed an unknown woman banging on the front door of the residence and attempting to gain access inside. The wife alerted her husband to the situation, and he “ran upstairs and retrieved a pistol in order to defend his wife and himself,” the man reportedly told MPD.

By the time the husband returned to the front door, the police report alleges Edwards had ran to the back of the residence and entered the home through an unlocked patio door.

After a verbal confrontation between the man and Edwards, she reportedly exited the home and jumped into the yard next door.

Upon police arrival, Edwards allegedly began resisting arrest by attempting to pull away from officers, according to the report.

Edwards is also accused in the report of kicking officers and attempting to bite a lieutenant three times while being secured in the back seat of a patrol vehicle.

MPD reportedly discovered a syringe of clear liquid that was later identified as amphetamine.

Edwards was transported to the hospital for having difficulty breathing “and it was discovered she had taken close to 100 various types of benzodiazepine pills,” the report alleges. The suspect was transported to the Pinal County Jail after being medically cleared.

Edwards was reportedly wanted on two felony warrants before her arrest Aug. 12, according to court documents.

The first, from an incident in October 2016, was four counts relating to forgery.

The second warrant included charges of unlawful flight from pursuing a police officer and drug possession/use from January 2018. A $5,000 bond is assigned to each of those warrants.

Edwards is also being held on an additional $10,000 bond for the aggravated assault on the peace officer charge.

Edwards is facing multiple felony charges including, burglary in the second degree (Class 3 felony); possession of drug paraphernalia (Class 6 felony); Resisting arrest (Class 6 felony); and aggravated assault against a peace officer (Class 6 felony).

A class 1 misdemeanor was included in Edwards’ host of charges for allegedly driving on a suspended license in 2012, according to court documents.

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.