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Miguel Figueroa Sr. (PCSO photo)

By Michelle Chance

The Maricopa man accused of killing his wife with a sword in December will not face the death penalty.

According to court documents, state prosecutors have until May 5 to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Miguel Figueroa Sr.

However, Pinal County Attorney’s Office spokesman James Tanner said the state is not pursuing a capital case, and could not provide an explanation behind its decision because the case is still ongoing.

Inside a county courtroom Monday, 45-year-old Figueroa stood clothed in a jumpsuit and shackles alongside defense attorney Paula Cook.

Judge Kevin White approved Cook’s request to extend the date of a future hearing, which will determine Figueroa’s trial date.

Cook said she could not comment on the details of the case.

In December, Maricopa Police arrested Figueroa after he allegedly used a sword to kill his wife Olivia. That night, police found the victim’s body with multiple stab wounds in a desert area near the Heritage District.

Figueroa was later indicted by a grand jury on four felonies, including first-degree murder, kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault.

Figueroa’s trial date will be decided in court on June 12 at 9 a.m.

The Circle K in Stanfield was robbed early Wednesday morning.

Wednesday at 2:44 a.m. the Pinal County Sheriff’s 9-1-1 Communications Center received a call from a clerk reporting that an armed robbery had just occurred at the Circle K at 36935 W. Highway 84 in Stanfield.

Two males entered the store while a third waited in the driver’s seat of a red car. The two in the store were wearing bandanas over their faces, sunglasses and hooded jackets to disguise their identities.

“The clerk had been stocking a shelf when he noticed the two suspects standing at the register area,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “As the clerk walked behind the counter, he observed one of the suspects exposing a handgun. The suspect said to the clerk, ‘You know what it is, Homie.’ The suspect then demanded the money from the register. The second suspect stood by as the clerk handed the gunman the money from the register.”

The men left and no one was injured.

“Video footage taken from the store shows the suspects getting out of a red four door sedan that was parked on the east side of the building,” Babeu said. “The vehicle has heavy oxidation on the roof and hood. The driver of the vehicle was observed remaining in the vehicle. When the suspects walked to the front of the store, the driver pulled out from the parking space, out of view from the camera’s range.”

If anybody recognizes the suspects involved or vehicle, they are asked to contact the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office at 520-866-5111.

stanfield-robbery-car

Burglary of unsecured vehicles parked on streets or driveways remains a top crime in Maricopa, which still has one of the lowest burglary rates in the state.

Using FBI crime numbers from 2015, a national security company named Maricopa to its Top 10 list of burglary-safe Arizona cities.

Maricopa is No. 8.

Protect America’s annual list is comprised of data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report. That reported 94 burglaries within Maricopa’s population of more than 48,000 last year.

“A lot of the credit does need to go to the community members who look out for each other, who talk with each other,” Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl said. “We live in a community where people really do care about each other. Whether it’s a brand new development or the Heritage District where everybody knows everybody, we look out for each other, and that’s what makes a safe community.”

Stahl said the third-highest call for service is suspicious activity. He views that as a sign residents are watching their neighborhoods.

“Our hope in creating these Top 10 lists is to raise burglary awareness and offer home security tips to communities that need them,” said Zane Schwarzlose, community liaison with Protect America.

Maricopa was the second-largest Arizona city in the so-called Safe Zone. Gilbert was No. 9 on the list. No. 1 in the Safe Zone was Florence with just 1.26 burglaries per 1,000 people, though Stahl pointed out the stats include prisoners in population numbers. Meanwhile, Tolleson had the highest ratio of burglaries to residents last year at 31 per 1,000 people.

Chief Steve Stahl
Chief Steve Stahl

“We value CompStat. We look at daily crime, daily trends, weekly trends,” Stahl said. “And if we are seeing a concern, the operations commander collects his people to address those things.”

That involves a crime analyst and a partnership with the Arizona Fusion Center to find likely suspects. When burglaries and thefts increase in a neighborhood, analysis helps officers find a cause.

“It could be one a variety of things: Somebody just got released from jail and now they’re back to their old ways; it could be that the HOA made some new rule that not everyone has to keep their coach lights on all the time anymore; it could be somebody new moved into the neighborhood,” Stahl said.

With CompStat, MPD identifies problems and develops a plan to approach the problem, including officers canvassing on foot.

The key to successfully finding a deterrent is the “relentless follow-up.” For Stahl, that means, “solving that problem to the chief’s satisfaction.”

He credits volunteers and their house-watch program with being a great crime deterrent. The program gives MPD another marked vehicle and another set of eyes in neighborhoods.

The most common theft in Maricopa comes back to residents’ behavior – allowing possessions to be easy pickings.

“Unfortunately, at least seven out of 10 of our break-ins are unlocked vehicles and open doors and open windows,” Stahl said. “I mean, everybody wants to enjoy the nice, cool nights now. People still need to vigilant and take measures to protect themselves.”

Unlocked cars parked on streets or in driveways, especially unlighted driveways, are a particular temptation. Stahl has always asked residents to park their vehicles in their garages, but simply locking vehicles is a burglary-prevention tactic.

“Most bad people, if the door is locked and you haven’t left anything visible in the car, they’re going to go to the next car,” Stahl said. “If they have to force their way in, they’re going to leave some evidence behind.”

Report: http://bit.ly/2ebQ0Pq

2016 Arizona Burglary Safe Zones
1. Florence: Population 26,926, Burglaries 34 [1.26 burglaries per 1,000 people] 2. Mammoth: Population 1,476, Burglaries 2 [1.36] 3. Sahuarita: Population 28,067, Burglaries 44 [1.57] 4. Thatcher: Population 5,065, Burglaries 8 [1.58] 5. Marana: Population 41,302, Burglaries 69 [1.67] 6. Willcox: Population 3,569, Burglaries 6 [1.68] 7. Oro Valley: Population 42,258, Burglaries 79 [1.87] 8. Maricopa: Population 48,193, Burglaries 94 [1.95] 9. Gilbert: Population 247,324, Burglaries 530 [2.14] 10. Sedona: Population 10,340, Burglaries 25 [2.42]

2016 Arizona Burglary Hot Spots
1. Tolleson: Population 7,029, Burglaries 219 [31.17] 2. Miami: Population 1,771, Burglaries 42 [23.72] 3. Quartzsite: Population 3,613, Burglaries 65 [17.99] 4. Globe: Population 7,333, Burglaries 89 [12.14] 5. Wickenburg: Population 6,760, Burglaries 69 [10.21] 6. Holbrook: Population 5,007, Burglaries 48 [9.59] 7. Apache Junction: Population 38,519, Burglaries 352 [9.14] 8. El Mirage: Population 33,985, Burglaries 282 [8.30] 9. Glendale: Population 240,374, Burglaries 1,986 [8.26] 10. Phoenix: Population 1,559,744, Burglaries 12,798 [8.21]

Manuel Amador-Aispuro (from left), Ramon Martinez and Josue Teran Grandarills were arrested in Maricopa Wednesday. PCSO photos

Three men were arrested by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday near Cobblestone Farms on charges of transporting 283 pounds of marijuana.

Manuel Amador-Aispuro, 19, Ramon Martinez, 21, and Josue Teran Grandarills, 21, were taken into custody at 9:30 a.m. They allegedly admitted to being in the country illegally.

The three had led PCSO on a high-speed chase after initially being stopped for speeding at Ralston and Mockingbird Lane southwest of Maricopa. A PCSO helicopter tracked their SUV into Maricopa.

The three men stopped in the residential area near State Route 238 and SR 347 and fled on foot. The helicopter crew led the deputies on the ground to their locations.

All three men were booked on charges of possession of marijuana for use, possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of marijuana. Amador, the driver, was also charged with unlawful flight from law enforcement.

They were booked into the PCSO detention facility and each has a $50,000 bond. Their court hearing is set for Nov. 4 in Superior Court.

Carlos Avalos
Carlos Avalos

Also arrested Wednesday by PCSO in an unrelated incident, Maricopa resident Carlos Avalos, 46, was charged with a dangerous drug violation.

He was arrested at 9:47 a.m. His bond is $25,000, and his preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 1.

 

The State Troopers SWAT approaches a home in the old section of Maricopa. Photo by R. Mason Callejas

Arizona State Troopers helped Maricopa Police Department serve search warrants on two residences off Pershing Street in the Heritage District Wednesday morning. Access streets were blocked and a helicopter from the Department of Public Safety hovered over the area while a heavily armed SWAT team went into the buildings and removed people.

One home's surveillance camera caught this image of a stranger in the backyard.

A Maricopa man has been arrested after accusations he broke into a Maricopa Meadows home while naked and reportedly on spice.

 

Al-Hakiem S. Towns, 38, was taken into custody by Maricopa Police officers on Sept. 18.

 

Towns allegedly entered the home of David James through a back patio door, possible a dog door, at 2:50 a.m. James was woken by his dogs and grabbed his gun, but the suspect exited the house through a front window, breaking the screen, according to the police report.

 

The homeowner’s surveillance camera captured an image of the man walking away, completely naked with a large tattoo on his back.

 

James called police, but he wasn’t the first. Another resident in the neighborhood had called police earlier when his 12-year-old daughter reported seeing a man standing in the backyard looking in through the glass door. He then ran off. He was described a black male wearing only green shorts.

 

The responding officers found clothing in the rear yard of a residence on Ranch Road along with a bottle of canola oil and a cell phone. When they powered up the phone, a picture of Towns was on the screen.

 

Police officers went to six homes, reporting all had a blood trail leading through the back yards. Residents had come outside to see what the noise was in their yards.

 

Police found Towns allegedly completely nude, standing front of a home on Meadows Lane and bleeding from his feet and legs.

 

Arresting officers reported Towns made the statement, “Every time I smoke spice this happens.”

 

“Spice” is synthetic cannabis. It is illegal in Arizona.

 

He faces charges of third-degree burglary, criminal trespass, criminal damage, disorderly conduct and voyeurism. He was transported to Chandler Regional Medical Center.

A mailbox in Sorrento hangs open after being damaged with a pry tool. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Mailboxes in the Sorrento community suffered criminal damage and burglary during Labor Day weekend.

Postmaster Sharon Kiszczak said several boxes were hit. Outgoing mail slots appeared to have been pried open by a crowbar or similar tool, which also allowed access to all of the individual boxes within each unit.

Seven-box units were reported damaged in four areas in the community. There is no information available regarding missing or stolen mail.

The Maricopa Police Department estimates the crime occurred between 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday.

Kiszczak said police were called, and police notified postal inspectors, who are investigating.

Andrique Holley

A Maricopa man already indicted on three counts of assault earlier this year now faces a charge of sexual assault stemming from a July 1 incident.

Andrique Holley, 36, has a preliminary hearing on the new charges scheduled for Friday in front of Pinal County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Wharton.

He is accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old while she slept. Maricopa Police Department was called to the location around 4:40 p.m. The alleged victim was taken to the Mesa Police Department’s Family Advocacy Center while Maricopa Police officers searched for Holley.

At around 9:23, MPD found Holley hiding in a culvert under a nearby road. After he allegedly refused to comply with officers’ demands to come out of the culvert, MPD used the police K9 to remove him.

According to the police report, Holley had allegedly ingested four bottles of prescription drugs and a large amount of bleach before being found. He was transported to Chandler Regional Medical Center for dog bites and mental evaluation.

Hospital staff released Holley to MPD on July 6, and he was processed in Maricopa. According to the police report, he admitted to the assault. He said he left the home when confronted by the victim’s mother. He told police he took drugs and drank bleach to commit suicide.

He is being held in Pinal County Jail without bail on the sexual assault accusation.

He is also charged with probation violation, with a $1,000 bond.

Holley’s Maricopa troubles started Feb. 1 when he was arrested after a public fracas during which Holley was allegedly intoxicated and dragged a teenage girl to the ground in Glennwilde. That escalated into a fight with bystanders and his indictment on three felony charges and two misdemeanor charges.

A grand jury on Feb. 22 charged Holley with assault for injuring the girl, a Class 1 misdemeanor. He was charged with assault for touching and trying to injure another female, a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Because Holley allegedly punched a man trying to help the teen, “causing … severe laceration to his lip,” he was charged with aggravated assault, a Class 4 felony.

The grand jury also indicted Holley on a charge of resisting arrest and attempted aggravated assault on Officer Daniel Rauch, both Class 6 felonies.

Holley also had a 2014 conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Maricopa County.

Daniel Moore (PCSO photo)

By Ethan McSweeney

Maricopa police arrested a man early Sunday for allegedly threatening his ex-girlfriend with an unloaded gun and trying to force her into his car before she stabbed him with her car key and fled.

Daniel Moore, 21, confronted his ex-girlfriend in the Fry’s parking lot off State Route 347 around 11 p.m. Saturday, according to a Maricopa Police Department report. Moore attempted to talk to the woman, but she refused to talk, the report read.

At that point, Moore pulled out an unloaded .45 caliber pistol from his right cargo pocket, which he said was meant “to scare her,” according to the report. The gun belonged to Moore’s father, MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said.

The woman attempted to get away, but Moore grabbed her in chokehold fashion, the report read. The woman told police she wasn’t able to breathe and was left with a red mark around the front of her neck.

When Moore tried to pull the woman into the car to take her with him, the woman stabbed him with her car key and fled inside the Fry’s store, according to the report.

Five MPD officers responded to Moore’s residence on West Julie Lane south of Maricopa shortly after midnight, police said.

After being interviewed by police, Moore allegedly admitted to the incident taking place. He also admitted to hiding the gun inside his residence “because he knew he would be in trouble,” the report read.

Moore was charged with one count of kidnapping, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, another count of aggravated assault for strangulation, one count of threatening and intimidating, one count of misconduct involving weapons, one count of disorderly conduct for recklessly displaying a weapon and one count of tampering with evidence, according to the report.

All the charges fall under domestic violence, which adds an aggravating factor to the alleged crimes, Alvarado said.

Moore was booked into Pinal County Jail and is being held on a $20,000 bond. He is due in court for a preliminary hearing Friday.

By Ethan McSweeney

A Maricopa woman was arrested on charges of shoplifting at Wal-Mart on July 3 after trying to take food items and hide them in store bags, according to Maricopa police.

Johanna Norris, 29, brought Wal-Mart bags into the store around 1:45 p.m. and used them to conceal the items she was taking, according to a police report. Wal-Mart’s Asset Protection team caught the incident on video and detained her, the report read.

The Maricopa Police Department arrested Norris around 2:48 p.m. and charged her with one count of shoplifting and another count of using the Wal-Mart bags as an artifice to hide the items she was trying to take, according to the report.

Norris was transported and booked into the Adult Detention Facility in Florence.

Misael Gonzalez Gonzalez

A man in Stanfield is accused of running a crime syndicate by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Misael Gonzalez Gonzalez, 44, was arrested Monday in Stanfield. Pending charges are production of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for use and managing and financing a criminal syndicate.

The secured bond is $10,000. His preliminary hearing is set for May 17.