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Staff Reports

Staff Reports
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During the service of a routine protection order on Nov. 26, Jason Simpson of West Avella Drive, was found to be in the possession of two potentially prohibited weapons, according to the Maricopa Police Department.

The two firearms, a New England shotgun and Remington shotgun, were found to be too short to own.

The New England had a 13.5-inch long barrel while state law dictates an 18-inch long barrel is mandatory. The Remington had a total length of just 24 inches with state law requiring a total length of 26 inches.

MPD charged Simpson for possession of the firearms.



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Clouds loom over the Heritage District in Maricopa. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

After a cloudy and potentially rainy Thursday, weekend weather is shaping up to be cool and mostly sunny in Maricopa.

Today will be mostly cloudy with a high near 74 degrees F. There is a 50-percent chance of showers overnight leading to precipitation of less than a 10th of an inch while winds of 10-15 mph supports gusts us to 25 mph.

Friday, a 20-percent chance of showers is forecast for the morning. The day is expected to turn partly sunny with a high near 64 and continued breezy conditions. The overnight low will probably be around 41.

Saturday, the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with a high near 64 and breezes gusting up to 20 mph. A 20-percent chance of rain returns overnight while the low is around 40.

Sunday is likely to be sunny with a high near 60 and light winds. The night is expected to be mostly clear with a low around 34.

The following week starts out cool, even near freezing Monday night, but is expected to warm up slightly by midweek.

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Highway Patrol stops a driver near the city limits of Maricopa. Photo by Mason Callejas

Beginning Dec. 1, a new $32 fee will be part of vehicle registration in Arizona.

The Public Safety Fee was established by the Legislature through House Bill 2166 this year. It goes into effect for registrations due in January.

Most motorists will pay $32 per vehicle, per year. Motorists can start paying Dec. 1. Street-legal golf carts and primarily off-highway vehicles will pay $5. Those who register a vehicle annually or pay for a two- or five-year registration will pay the entire amount up front for each registered year.

There are approximately 2.3 million vehicles registered in Arizona.

The Public Safety Fee changes the Highway Patrol’s source of revenue away from a gas tax.

The gas-tax account – Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) – was established in 1997 to pay for highway infrastructure. For the past decade, much of the Highway Patrol’s budget was part HURF.

The Public Safety Fee will free up all HURF funds to go toward maintenance and construction of roadways as originally intended.

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Senior Jene Brown backs Apollo under the goal in Tuesday's win. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Coasting to the finish, the Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team defeated Apollo Tuesday, 60-49, despite scoring only two points in the fourth quarter.

The Rams threw a little of everything at Apollo. They built a 19-10 score after one quarter to a 41-22 lead at the half. Overall staying aggressive through at least three quarters, the girls combined for a dozen steals.

Sophomore Shakira Gillespie led the Maricopa scoring with 16 points, and senior Jayla Johnson added 15. Senior Jene Brown scored 10, and sophomore Brooke Smith scored nine. Though senior Italy Brookshire scored six, the Rams lost her in the third quarter to a leg injury after a tumble to the hardwood. Maricopa shot 10-for-15 from the free-throw line.

The win put their overall record at 4-1. The Rams next play at Camelback on Thursday.

The girls started the season in the Scorpion Shootout, losing to O’Connor 42-37, but defeating Prescott 39-32, Shadow Ridge 43-25 and Gila Ridge 57-40.

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Rams listen to their coaches at halftime Tuesday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School varsity soccer had solid openings for the season Tuesday.

The boys had a 4-0 home victory over McClintock. Senior Brandon Ortega and freshman Kevin Vasquez scored in the first half. Vasquez scored two more goals in the second half for his auspicious debut with the Rams. Ortega had two assists. In net, Mario Gastelum had seven saves to keep the Chargers scoreless. Starting Saturday, the boys will be in the Coyote Classic Tournament.

On the road, the varsity girls also defeated McClintock, 5-1. Freshman Lexy Rowe scored two goals for the Rams. Junior Saneya Cowing, junior Payson Hacker and senior Bianca Olivares also scored a goal apiece. Senior Mackenzie Ford had 13 saves at the net. The girls next play in the Coyote Classic Tournament starting Dec. 4.

Qejaun Clinkscale (PCSO photo)

After a traffic stop on Honeycutt Road Friday, a man wanted on a warrant for drug-possession charges was arrested by Maricopa Police Department on drug-possession charges.

Qejaun Clinkscale, 26, was stopped around 5:30 p.m. When MPD ran a warrants check, they found one out of Maricopa County Superior Court with a bond of $1,800. Clinkscale allegedly told officers he had four Percocet pills, two syringes and a used metal spoon in his backpack.

Police reportedly found those items as well as “black tar-like substance wrapped in plastic” that weighted half a gram. The officer identified it as heroin. Clinkscale allegedly said he had purchased the “old” heroin more than two years ago in Utah. He had prior arrests in Utah County and Washington County in that state.

According to the MPD report, Clinkscale said he bought the Percocet pills for $10 each and used one Thursday night.

Clinkscale was arrested and booked into the Pinal County jail on the outstanding warrant and the additional recommended charges of possession of a dangerous drug and drug paraphernalia. His bond is $1,000.



A man reportedly tried to fight two people on Bedford Drive early Sunday morning and was arrested on suspicion of assault and domestic violence.

Maricopa Police arrested Mathew Zak after he allegedly pushed his ex-girlfriend and another man and tried to force his way into her house, according to the report.

Zak arrived at the house at around 1 a.m., began ringing the doorbell and “tried to gain access,” the allegations state. Another man answered the door and refused to let Zak inside. Zak then allegedly “continuously pushed” the man forcefully in his attempt to enter the house.

The ex-girlfriend came to the door during the scuffle. According to the MPD report, Zak grabbed her arms “and began to push his way into the residence.”

The other man then grabbed Zak and pulled him off the woman, at which point Zak began shoving him again, the report states. The man allegedly punched Zak in the face “in self-defense.” Police then arrived and placed Zak in custody. He was booked into the Pinal County jail on recommended charges of assault per domestic violence and assault.

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Sunny skies won't last all week in Maricopa. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

After a mild midweek, temperatures are likely to drop in Maricopa with even a possibility of rain arising, according to the National Weather Service.

Today is sunny and high is expected to be near 72 degrees F. Tonight will be clear, and the low will be around 41.

Tuesday is likely to be a duplicate, with a high of 72 during a sunny day. The evening will be mostly clear, with the low around 40.

Wednesday, the forecast sees another sunny day and a high near 74. The overnight low is expected to be 44.

Thursday is expected to be only partly sunny with a high near 71. Clouds are likely to continue to move in, bringing a 30-percent chance of showers in the evening when the low is around 45 and the wind increases to 5-10 mph.

Friday, the chance for rain dwindles to around 10 percent before 11 a.m. The rest of the day is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 63. The overnight low may be around 40.

From this distance the weekend looks mostly sunny with daytime temperatures staying in the 60s.

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Jacob Cowing proved to be a triple threat for the Rams.

In voting for 5A San Tan’s All-Region football team, a Maricopa High School senior was named First Team in three positions, and six other Rams were named Second Team.

Jacob Cowing was voted on the top team as a receiver/tight end, kickoff returner and defensive utility/flex player. He had 872 receiving yards, scored 15 touchdowns and had 372 yards in kickoff returns.

Named to the second team were sophomore Mister Chavis as running back, senior Tylen Coleman as defensive lineman, senior Bakari Jackson as linebacker, junior Ilijah Johnson as defensive back, senior Trey Keel as offensive lineman and senior Kenny Shelton as defensive lineman.

Second Team honorees: (from left) Mister Chavis, Tylen Coleman, Bakari Jackson, Ilijah Johnson, Trey Keel and Kenny Shelton.

On the honorable mention list were seniors Isaiah Crawford, Stefon Nelson and Logan Taylor.

MHS was 5-6 overall and reached the 5A playoffs.

Maricopa High School’s volleyball team struggled with a record of 2-20 but six players were named to the honorable mention list in 5A San Tan voting: Ashley Brown, Kenzie Ford, Layla Gardner, Shakira Gillespie, Brooke Smith and Ashley Tuke.


A crash in the southbound lanes of State Route 347 blocked traffic Saturday around 7 p.m.

According to the Department of Public Safety, a motorcycle “went down” north of the Riggs Road intersection. The rider was transported to a hospital by ambulance for injuries.

DPS re-routed southbound traffic to Maricopa Road and ack to Interstate 10. Northbound traffic was slow through the area but lanes were open. Southbound lanes remained closed at 7:45 p.m.

Saturday Maricopa Police charged Pedro Zabala with two counts of criminal damage when he was having an overnight stay at a friend’s house.

According to police records, officers responded to an address on North Celis Street at 1 a.m. Saturday after the female resident came home and became engaged in an argument with Zabala.

Reports indicate he threw clothing items on the front patio and was then locked outside by the resident. She found her washer overloaded with clothing and bleach. She said the clothing was hers and was taken out of her closet.

 She told officers that about $3,000 of her clothes were ruined in the incident.

At 7:40 a.m. Saturday she heard banging on her front porch and contacted police.

 Zabala was located walking south of her home by a neighbor. Officers located him and also found the windshield of the woman’s car smashed in three places, the driver’s door mirror was broken off, air was let out of a tire, the rear window was smashed and there were five dents in the driver’s door.

 Zabala allegedly was carrying a yellow baseball bat when stopped by officers. Estimated damage to the vehicle is $2,000.



John D. Forker was charged by Maricopa Police Friday evening with criminal damage, domestic violence assault, endangerment and disorderly conduct after allegedly pushing and hitting his girlfriend’s son at a residence on West Walker Way.

According to police records, Forker is accused of pushing his girlfriend’s son into furniture and then repeatedly punching him in the face.

According to records, Forker is said to have pushed him while the man was holding a 1-year-old girl. A lamp was also broken in the altercation, according to police reports.

 Officers reportedly found the victim with injuries and scratches as well as “spitting blood.”


Tiffany Yenis (PCSO photo)


On Nov. 5, Maricopa Police responded to a disturbance on North Kari Lane after a man called to report his wife, Tiffany Yenis, “woke up this morning and began yelling and acting out of control.”

He told officers his wife wanted to gather her personal belongings and leave with their two children. A second reporting party told officers she was also outside screaming and banging on the front door of the residence.

A police probable cause statement alleged Yenis then took a small television set and slammed it into the driver’s side window and door of a parked van. She was also seen slamming the television into the hood of the vehicle, according to the report.

 Yenis allegedly told officers she did grab the television and threw it against her husband’s van. 

 Yenis was placed into custody and transported to the Pinal County Jail.

The Maricopa Turkey Trot is a fun run/walk early Thanksgiving morning.

Thanksgiving brings the 11th annual Turkey Trot as well as Black Friday and Santa Claus. For details on these events and others, or to add your own, visit


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Senior Bowling is at 10 a.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road/

Narcotics Anonymous meets at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) meet at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Behavioral Health Services, 21300 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 103.


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Seniors play Canasta at 1 p.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Celebrate Recovery Coffee & Karaoke is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.



Turkey Trot is at 8 a.m. at Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.


Shop Small Vendor Event is at 10 a.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.


Narcotics Anonymous meets at 7 Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

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Clouds are expected to roll into Maricopa this week. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

This week will be mostly clear with temperatures in the low 80s and upper 60s. Thanksgiving is looking overcast but with mild temperatures.

Today, the high was 74 degrees F and continues to be mostly cloudy going into the evening, which should have a low around 46.

Tuesday expects partly sunny skies and a high near 76. The night is likely to be mostly clear with a low around 43.

Wednesday has a sunny forecast with an expected high of 74. The night, however, will be mostly cloudy with a low around 48.

Thanksgiving, the forecast is for a mostly cloudy with calm winds around 5 mph. The daytime high will be near 71 while the overnight low is expected to be around 42.

Friday may be the coolest day of the week, with a forecast high of 68 degrees under sunny skies. The overnight low is likely to be around 41.

That sets up a weekend that is forecast to be in the upper 60s.

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Photo by Kyle Norby


The most expensive home sold in Maricopa Sept. 16-Oct. 15 was a two-story in The Villages. The 12-year-old home has a pool, gourmet kitchen and professionally landscaped yard, as well as a master-suite balcony overlooking a gorgeous backyard. The cost of the home went up nearly 73 percent since the recession. It had been on the market for less than $200,000 in 2011. Now with many upgrades it fetched $360,000.

1.       43198 W. Bailey Drive, The Villages at Rancho El Dorado

Sold: Oct. 11
Purchase price: $360,000
Square footage: 3,955
Price per square foot: $91.02
Days on market: 33
Builder: Hacienda Homes
Year built: 2006
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3
Community: The Villages at Rancho El Dorado
Features: Split-level downstairs, upstairs loft and master suite, three-car garage, RV gate, stainless steel appliances, kitchen island with breakfast bar, heated swimming pool, outdoor fireplace.
Listing Agent: Rute Haag, HomeSmart Success
Selling Agent: Ted A. Anderson, HomeSmart Success

2.       19042 N. Ibis Way, Senita ………………………….…..$342,500
3.       42302 W. Bravo Drive, Rancho El Dorado……….$322,000
4.       22163 N. O’Sullivan Drive, Rancho El Dorado….$320,000
5.       40997 W. Novak Lane, Homestead North……….$308,000

This item appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

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Photo by Kyle Norby


The least expensive home sold in Maricopa Sept. 16-Oct. 15 was on the market less than a month in the Smith Farms subdivision. Its selling price of $147,500 was less than a percentage point higher than the last time it sold in 2007. The one-story house overlooks a greenbelt and includes an eat-in kitchen.

1.       18374 N. Celis St., Smith Farms

Sold: Sept. 27
Purchase price: $147,500
Square footage: 1,321
Price per square foot: $111.66
Days on market: 27
Builder: KB Home
Year built: 2007
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Community: Smith Farms
Features: Extended covered patio in back, two bedrooms plus an office/den, two-car garage
Listing Agent: Jo Ann A. LaRussa, Keller Williams Legacy One
Selling Agent: Manuel M. Zambrano, Go Sold Realty

2.       21362 N. Reinbold Drive, Rancho El Dorado………………………….$162,000
3.       17316 N. Rosa Drive, Santa Rosa…………………………………………..$170,000
4.       45047 W. Alamendras St., Acacia Crossings…………………………..$171,000
5.       44993 W. Miraflores St., Acacia Crossings……………………………..$172,500

This item appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

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Three schools in Maricopa have earned A-ratings from the state as announced this fall, and other schools showed marked improvement.

Butterfield Elementary (MUSD)
Legacy Traditional School (charter)
Pima Butte Elementary (MUSD)

Leading Edge Academy (charter)
Maricopa Elementary School (MUSD)
Santa Cruz Elementary School (MUSD)
Santa Rosa Elementary School (MUSD)

Camino Montessori (charter – closed)
Desert Wind Middle School (MUSD)
Graysmark Schools (charter)
Maricopa High School (MUSD)
Maricopa Wells Middle School (MUSD)
Saddleback Elementary School (MUSD)
Sequoia Pathway Academy (charter)

Stanfield Elementary School (SED)


A = Excellent: Distinguished performance on the statewide assessment, significant student growth, high four-year graduation rates, students are on track to proficiency or overall performance is significantly higher than the state average.
B = Highly Performing: High performance on statewide assessments and/or significant student growth and/or higher four-year graduation rates and/or moving students to proficiency at a higher rate than the state average.
C = Performing: Adequate performance but needs improvement on some indicators including proficiency, growth or graduation rate.
D = Minimally Performing: Inadequate performance in proficiency, growth and/or four-year graduation rate relative to the state average.
F = Systematic failures in proficiency, growth and graduation rates and/or performance is in bottom 5 percent of the state.

“We are excited to earn an A rating for our wonderful school. This A rating represents the dedication and care of each and every one of our staff and our students’ hard work. I am so proud and excited for our students, staff and community to have another A school in Maricopa.” – Butterfield Elementary School Principal Janel Hildick

“Pima Butte is ecstatic about receiving the 2018 ‘A’ rating. This achievement was due to the tireless effort and dedication of our teachers, the hard work of our students and the support of our families. We are extremely proud of this recognition.” – Pima Butte Elementary Principal Randy Lazar


Sequoia Pathway Academy          0.18%
Desert Wind Middle School        0.69%
Maricopa Wells Middle School   2.58%
Maricopa High School                  4.51%

Percent graduating in four years from Maricopa High School and Sequoia Pathway Academy

MHS                      SPA
                                                                 350 Grads             97 Grads
Total                                                          76%                        97%
Economically Disadvantaged               77%                        96%
Male                                                           71%                        97%
Female                                                       81%                       96%
White                                                         81%                        94%
Hispanic                                                    80%                       100%
African-American                                   65%                        *
Native American                                     54%                        *
Asian                                                          73%                        *

*Sample size too small

Source: AZED Oct. 5

This information appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Cynthia Ramirez

Two cars overturned on State Route 347 after a collision near Casa Blanca Road.

The incident is blocking the left lane in the southbound lanes. A vehicle fire is also reported. Traffic is slow through the area.

Injuries are unknown at this time. Maricopa and Gila River have first responders responding to the scene along with state troopers.

Photo by Cynthia Ramirez

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Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Clear skies and moderate temperatures are expected this weekend in Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service.

Today‘s high will reach 73 as the day will be sunny with calm breezes. The night is expected to be mostly clear with a low around 39.

Saturday also has a sunny forecast, with a high around 73. Overnight the low will be around 41 under partly cloudy skies.

Sunday is likely to be mostly sunny with a high near 71. The nighttime low will be around 41 with mostly clear skies.

The following week is expcted to be a mix of sun and some clouds, leading to a mostly sunny Thanksgiving.

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As Pinal County continues to tabulate 6,000 provisional ballots, Arizona seems to be a little more purple following the Nov. 6 election.

Republicans swept locally and have apparently retained five seats at the state level, but Democrats have a foothold in three races while also picking up the available U.S. Senate seat.

After trailing early, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema pulled away from the GOP’s Martha McSally in that Senate race to win by a margin of 50 percent to 48 percent. She will become the first female to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate. McSally conceded by congratulating Sinema, but may be first in line for the other Senate seat if interim Sen. Jon Kyl opts not to fulfill the rest of the term.

In Congressional District 1, Democrat Tom O’Halleran easily held his seat against Republican Wendy Rogers. Both Sinema and O’Halleran emphasized the notion of their independence and bipartisanship in winning over non-Democrats.

“I am humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support my campaign has received from Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike,” O’Halleran posted on social media. He has been all three in his political career.

While Republicans had easy wins for governor (Doug Ducey), attorney general (Mark Brnovich), treasurer (Kimberly Yee) and mine inspector (Joe Hart), other races flipped.

Like Sinema, Democrat Sandra Kennedy trailed the two Republicans in the early counting for the two seats on the Corporation Commission. By Friday, however, she had moved into second, displacing Rodney Glassman. By Sunday, she had moved into first place ahead of incumbent Justin Olson.

In a race with no incumbent, Republican Frank Riggs had a small lead over Kathy Hoffman for superintendent of public instruction, but the Democrat pushed past him by 54,000 votes late in the count for a 51 percent-49 percent victory. Perhaps most intriguing of all was the race for secretary of state. The lead flipped back and forth every day following the election with Republican Steve Gaynor most often in the lead until the weekend, when Democrat Katie Hobbs moved ahead by nearly 6,000 votes.

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Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Clear skies and cool temperatures will be common this week in Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service.

Today‘s high is 65 degrees F with breezes of 10-15 mph. Tonight, the temperature could drop to 40 degrees.

Tuesday is forecast to be sunny with a high near 65 with winds gusting as high as 20 mph. The night is likely to be clear with a low around 39.

Wednesday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 69 and calm winds. The overnight low will likely be around 40.

Thursday has a sunny forecast during the day with a high near 73. The nighttime low will again likely fall to 40.

Friday, the high may be near 72 under sunny skies, while the overnight low will be around 43 under partly cloudy skies.

From this distance, the weekend looks to have some clouds but warmer temperatures in the mid-70s.

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As the ballot-counting continues statewide, Democrats made some gains on Republicans. Two of them overtook their opponents, at least for the time being.

U.S. Senate and superintendent of public instruction have been the tightest races since election night. In the former, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema trailed Republican Martha McSally until Thursday afternoon. Sinema currently leads by just over 2,000 votes. In the latter race, Democrat Kathy Hoffman trailed early but has moved past Republican Frank Riggs by almost 12,000 votes.

(Projected winner in purple)

U.S. Senate
Kyrsten Sinema (D) 48.9%
Martha McSally (R) 48.8%

U.S. House of Representatives District 1
Tom O’Halleran (D) 53.3%
Wendy Rogers (R) 46.7%

Doug Ducey (R) 57.4%
David Garcia (D) 40.6%

Secretary of State
Steve Gaynor (R) 50.8%
Katie Hobbs (D) 49.2%

Attorney General
Mark Brnovich (R) 53%
January Contreras (D) 47%

State Treasurer
Kimberly Yee (R) 55.3%
Mark Manoil (D) 44.7%

Superintendent of Public Instruction
Kathy Hoffman (D) 50.3%
Frank Riggs (R) 49.7%

Under clear skies, crews continue the paving of Plainview Street, a new connector between Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and Honeycutt Road.

Veterans Day weekend is all set to be sunny and mild in Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service.

Today‘s high is expected to reach 77 degrees F with calm breezes. Tonight, the low is expected to be around 51.

Friday is forecast to be sunny with a high near 78 and winds around 10 mph. The overnight low should be around 51 under clear skies.

Saturday‘s parade will likely see sunny skies, a high near 77 and winds of 5-10 mph. The nighttime low will be around 48.

Sunday, Veterans Day, is expected to be sunny with a high near 76. The night will likely be clear with a low around 44.

The coming week is expected to be a carbon copies, though clouds may move in mid-week.

Arthur Eric Magana is scheduled for trial next week in the death of Wyatt Miller.

The trial of Arthur Magaña, 18, on a charge of first-degree murder is set to begin next week with jury selection, but the judge had to rule on an important issue Wednesday in an evidentiary hearing.

Homicide Detective Joe Bonucci took the stand in Pinal County Superior Court to talk about the night Magaña was arrested after the shooting death of Wyatt Miller, 20. That was Nov. 7, 2016, exactly two years before this week’s hearing.

In pre-trial paperwork, Magaña’s counsel had filed a motion to suppress statements, claiming a Miranda warning violation during interrogation. Judge Kevin White asked to hear the detective’s account of that night during Wednesday’s hearing before ruling on the matter.

Two days earlier, Magaña’s one-time co-defendant, Gustavo Olivo, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after reaching a plea agreement with the Pinal County Attorney’s Office. Olivo admitted to second-degree murder and armed robbery but said Magana was the gunman.

Magaña is charged with murder and armed robbery.

Wednesday, Miller’s father and Magaña’s mother attended the hearing.

Prosecutor Patrick Johnson asked Bonucci detailed questions about the night of the arrest in an effort to disprove the defense’s claims. Bonucci was the case agent and on-call detective. According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, a report of shots fired was logged at 7:30 p.m. and deputies arrived shortly after.

At 8 p.m., Bonucci was called by his supervisor and sent to the scene on a rural road south of Maricopa. While en route, he was informed there were two locations being investigated. Miller’s body had been found in a Chevy pickup truck on Cardinal Road “a hundred yards or so from the nearest residence,” and two suspects had been found at a home on Oak Road.

Bonucci testified no deputies interrogated Magaña or Olivo at the scene. He said one teen was placed in a PCSO vehicle while the other was placed in an Ak-Chin Police vehicle during the preliminary investigation. Eventually, both were placed in a PCSO posse vehicle, and an investigation team member placed a digital recorder in the vehicle. Bonucci said the suspects, who were 16 and 17 at the time, were not questioned in the car, either.

The detective said they later found the digital recorder to have been tampered with or the batteries removed.

Magaña and Olivo were taken to PCSO in Florence, arriving at 3:13 a.m. Bonucci said they were taken to the second floor and placed in separate interview rooms across the hall from each other.

Having learned on the trip back to Florence that the teens were under age 18, Bonucci said his team employed juvenile protocol, which included contacting a legal guardian for each before interrogation. In Magaña’s case, his mother arrived and was soon taken to the interrogation room to be with her son.

It was at that point, Bonucci testified, Magaña was read his Miranda rights. He opted not to answer questions without an attorney, he said.

Meanwhile, Olivo was allowed to have a phone conversation with a sister who was not his legal guardian. Bonucci said Olivo answered some questions before also invoking his Miranda rights, and the interview stopped.

Bonucci testified the teens were placed in one interview room where they could be monitored by video and audio while the investigative team tried to work out whether to book them into juvenile detention or adult detention.

“We knew they would be remanded and charged as adults,” he said.

During the disagreement among the authorities (the teens were eventually booked into juvenile detention), Magaña and Olivo apparently had a conversation while they waited. Bonucci said investigators did not talk to them, they were not interrogated, questioned, coerced or threatened, but they were recorded.

“It’s an interview room,” Bonucci said. “The interview room is recorded.”

What was said during that one-on-one conversation in the interview room was at the heart of the motion to suppress.

White ruled the situation was not a Miranda issue and several statements made during that conversation could be used as evidence during the trial. The judge disagreed with the defense counsel’s argument that the teens’ conversation took place in an “ad hoc continuation of the interview” and should have been part of the invocation of Miranda rights.

White also said there was no “custodial interrogation” and no indication Olivo “was acting as an agent of the state” or trying to make Magaña make incriminating statements.

Jury selection is scheduled for Tuesday. White said he is confident the trial will be finished by Nov. 21.

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Kyrsten Sinema (left) and Martha McSally

With 88 percent of all precinct’s reporting, Republican Martha McSally retains a slim lead over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the race for U.S. Senate.

Several of the majority-Democrat Apache County precincts remain outstanding as ballot-counting continues. McSally leads Sinema 49 percent to 48 percent.

In Congressional District 1, Democrat Tom O’Halleran leads Republican Wendy Rogers 53 percent to 47 percent. That district also awaits the results from Apache County.

The governor’s race was called early as incumbent Doug Ducey took a huge lead over Democratic challenger David Garcia, 58 percent to 40 percent.

With no incumbent in the secretary of state race, Republican Steve Gaynor has a lead over Democrat Katie Hobbs, 51 percent to 49 percent. Incumbent Attorney General Mark Brnovich was also easily holding off Democrat January Contreras 53 percent to 47 percent, and Republican Kimberly Yee had an easy 56 percent to 44 percent lead over Democrat Mark Manoil in the race for treasurer.

But the race for superintendent of public instruction remains too close to call. Republican Frank Riggs leads Democrat Kathy Hoffman by just 10,508 votes, or 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent.

The Republicans are leading the Democrats in the race for two seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission. Incumbent Republican Justin Olson is the favorite with 756,000, and fellow Republican Rodney Glassman carries at least 29,440 votes more than the top Democrat, Sandra Kennedy.



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With just 15 percent of precincts reporting statewide, state Rep. Vince Leach has a sizeable lead in his first attempt at the state Senate in District 11. He leads Democrat Ralph Atchue by more than 5,000 votes.

District 11 is in parts of Pinal and Pima counties. Only 11 percent of Pinal precincts have reported and only early ballots have been counted for Pima.

That being said, Republicans have opened a gap over Democrats in the District 11 House race. Incumbent Mark Finchem and Constable Bret Roberts both have more than 27,000 votes while Democrats Hollace Lyon and Marcela Quiroz trail with 22,500 and 21,300, respectively.

Also in early results, the District 4 constable race is leaning heavily Republican in the bid to replace Roberts, with Glenn Morrison outpacing Democrat Andre LaFond 58 percent to 42 percent.

Other local and county races were noncompetitive. Republican Lyle Riggs remains justice of the peace with no competition. Republican Amanda Stanford also had a walkover for re-election as clerk of the Superior Court for Pinal County.



A three-vehicle collision injured motorists and stopped traffic on Smith-Enke Road Tuesday night.

None of the injuries was life-threatening.

The collision occurred after 8 p.m. between the intersections of Porter Road and DR Horton Drive. One vehicle reportedly swerved into oncoming traffic.

A second traffic incident occurred around the same time at the intersection of John Wayne Parkway and Edison Road when a vehicle went into a ditch. No injuries were reported.

Gustovo Olivo, 19, was sentenced to 25 years behind bars. PCSO photo

Travis Miller and Maxine Linette Medlock spoke emotionally of the dreams they had for their son Wyatt Miller in court Monday.

Gustavo Olivo, 19, was sentenced to 25 years in prison and seven years probation for his part in Wyatt’s death two years ago. The sentencing by Judge Kevin White came after a plea deal in Pinal County Superior Court.

Travis Miller placed a photo of his son on the counsel table for White to see because “I wanted to put a face on the victim.”

Wyatt Miller was 20 years old when he was killed Nov. 7, 2016. “I had plans, I had goals, I had dreams that included my two sons,” Travis Miller said.

Olivo, wearing an orange PCSO sweatshirt, mainly stared ahead or at the floor as the father spoke.

“I think you are an evil, selfish coward,” Miller told him.

Olivo and Arthur Magana, 18, are accused of planning the murder that involved shooting Wyatt 11 times. Magana has a hearing set for Wednesday before the same judge.

“It is so devastating and heartbreaking to lose a child,” Medlock said.

Miller said the family is getting a little bit of justice with the sentence of Olivo and hopes for more in the case against Magana.

“This is only a part of the nightmare,” he said.

In his plea, Olivo admitted to planning and participating in the murder of Wyatt Miller but said Magana was the gunman. The seven years of probation is attached to the second charge of armed robbery. Travis Miller said Olivo could have stopped the murder at any time but did not.

Miller said he hopes Olivo takes advantage of the programs in “big boy prison” and comes out a better man. He said the last thing society needs is another uneducated felon back in the community.

Judge White said though he considered Olivo’s age of 17 at the time of the murder and his remorse in his sentencing, it was not enough to override the aggravating factors or harm done to the family. White noted the investigation report that stated the defendants laughed after Wyatt was shot in the back of the head.

The night Wyatt was killed, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of shots fired at around 7:30 p.m. on West Cardinal Road in an unincorporated area south of Maricopa. Wyatt Miller was soon found dead in a Chevy truck. Money and other property had been taken. Deputies followed two sets of footprints to a home on South Oak Road, where the teens were arrested. They were indicted Nov. 16.

In early court hearings, Olivo and Magana appeared together, but their cases were severed in April this year. Olivo’s extended family members were in court as were several members of Wyatt Miller’s family to hear Wyatt’s parents.

“He was fixing to move to Texas,” Medlock said of her son. “He had goals and things he wanted to make changes on. So much has been taken away from our family.”

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Don’t expect clouds anytime soon in Maricopa. According to the National Weather Service, this week will see clear skies, calm winds and mild temperatures.

Today will be sunny with a high near 83 degrees F. The overnight low will be around 54.

Tuesday is expected to be sunny with a high near 84. The nighttime low will be around 54.

Wednesday is also a near duplicate, with sunny skies and a high of 81 followed by a clear night with a low around 54.

Thursday will likely be sunny with a high near 80. The overnight low will be around 50.

Friday is expected to be even cooler with a high near 77 under sunny skies. The nighttime low will be around 49.

That leads into a Veterans Day weekend that is forecast to have lots of sun but also the possibility of clouds.