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domestic violence

Center helps public safety, nonprofits embrace domestic violence victims

After a year in operation, Maricopa Family Advocacy Center has proved its necessity in the community’s efforts to combat domestic assault.

It joined Against Abuse Inc. in assisting survivors of domestic violence. Those who live in Maricopa can seek shelter or medical attention close to home, which has not always been the case.

 

 

 

“Can you imagine getting sexually assaulted and then getting into a car with a stranger?” said Mary Witkofski, founder of the Maricopa Family Advocacy Center. “Victims sometimes decline participating in the criminal justice system due to the amount of travel, or decline in getting that examination.”

Witkofski is programs manager with the Maricopa Police Department. Before the center opened in January 2019, survivors had to turn to law enforcement or travel to the nearest center for medical care and investigative procedures with victim’s advocates – more than 45 minutes away to Eloy, San Tan or Mesa.

The long travel times for treatment is a contributor to unreported cases and women staying with their abusers, according to Dynia Abraham, domestic and sexual violence residential services director for Against Abuse Inc.

“One of the first questions after disclosure that they say is, ‘Where is it? How far? Is this something that takes a really long time?’ because people are in crisis in that moment in time,” Abraham said. “And when those answers were different,’ we would get a lot more, ‘No, thank you, I just want to go take a shower and lay down.’ We don’t see that much anymore. ‘It’ll take 15 minutes,’ and they’ll say, ‘OK.’”

The Turnaround

Dynia Abraham, domestic and sexual violence residential services director for Against Abuse Inc., said her most memorable case at the Maricopa shelter involved a mother and her children becoming self-sufficient while utilizing their resources.

“We had a mom with a few children come into our shelter program, she was married to someone who would not allow her to work or to interact with her children,” Abraham said. “So, her children were at home but she wasn’t allowed to talk to them. She was assaulted, so she came in, we provided domestic violence support group and education for her.

“She was able to get her first job while staying in shelter, her first bank account, driver’s license, she became very independent. She bonded and grew a really deep relationship with her children, she did end up getting employment. After a few months she was able to get an apartment.”

One survivor, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her and her children from re-victimization, provided perspective.

“Because of what happened, our house was destroyed,” she said. “We were homeless, we couldn’t even move back in. Every window was shattered, one of the bullets had hit a water line so the bottom of the house was six inches in water, the ceilings in the bathroom and laundry room had fallen in; it was an absolute disaster.”

The survivor said the exit plan for her family would have looked much different had she had access to a center in town at the time.

“What would’ve been different and really helpful to me and my family is, because our situation involved a crime other than domestic violence, we were taken to the police station,” she said. “I think they would have taken us to the advocacy center and had the police come there, which would have been a lot easier on the kids and I.”

At the police station, the family was provided a change of clothes after the abuser had died on the scene.

“When you’re at the police station, it [is] an open room with fluorescent lights, and we’re not even wearing our (own) clothes, and we’ve been in a physical fight, and it’s uncomfortable,” she said. “Whereas at the advocacy center, we would’ve felt much more comforted. So, it would’ve made a big difference.”

The Maricopa Family Advocacy Center is a program within the Maricopa Police Department.

MPD Officer Donnie Burnias has firsthand experience responding to domestic violence calls throughout the community. He said he gets them every day.

“It’s probably one of the most common calls in the country,” Burnias said. “Everyone lives together, everyone has problems, and sometimes those problems need the police department to intervene.”

Maricopa Family Advocacy Center 2019
Survivors 96
Interviews with minors and vulnerable adults 50
Assaults: physical, sexual, child abuse, elder abuse, strangulation

Against Abuse Maricopa 2019
Adults 220
Children 189
Nights of housing 15,267

Abuse Reports
Daily calls to domestic-violence hotlines nationwide: 20,000
Arizona hotline calls in 2018: 39,000
Pinal County hotline calls in FY 2019: 706
The Arizona Department of Economic Security estimates 10 million people a year are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.

Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence reported 73 domestic-violence-related deaths in the state from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2019. That included an incident in Maricopa that resulted in the deaths of two adults and an unborn child.

“I expect the numbers to go up because the services are there and available,” Witkofski said. “More comfortable reporting, not having to travel, having the center here raises awareness.”

According to Witkofski, law enforcement can respond to a call on domestic violence and then bring the victims to the center, or the victim can call crisis lines and request a victim’s advocate to escort them.

“All the patrol officers work very closely with Mary and the FAC (Family Advocacy Center),” Burnias said. “Anytime the Victim’s Assistance Program or DVRT (Domestic Violence Response Team) needs to go to a residence, we go with them.”

Burnias said the role of local police is de-escalating the situation and assisting the survivor with any criminal law questions.

Many survivors have gone through the advocacy center and have been turned over to Against Abuse for emergency housing after initial investigations.

Against Abuse is a nonprofit organization offering resources for survivors of violence. Against Abuse offers emergency resources like the advocacy center, but also long-term resources to guide survivors back into society.

In fiscal 2017, the Arizona Department of Economic Security recognized Against Abuse in a Programs Fund Report for providing the fourth-highest number of shelter overnight stays for men, women and children.

“It’s a really important resource to have,” the survivor said. “Women and children need a place to go, and there are sometimes men also. But we really, really need it here. Sometimes these women come with the clothes on their back if they’re even lucky to have that.”

Advocates from Against Abuse provide calls to places of employment and landlords, legal advocacy, job interview accompaniment and supervised visitation for children, among several other services.

“Our goal is to provide services, support and education to all who experience the effects of family dysfunction or violence,” said Torri Anderson, an Against Abuse board member.

Anderson has worked on the board 15 years, after identifying the need of domestic violence services in Pinal County with various other members. She said the community has become more empathetic and aware of domestic violence survivors compared to other communities around Arizona.

“Domestic violence is a very serious thing,” Burnias said. “It impacts the whole family. It can get to the point where people’s lives are being lost due to domestic violence. We have to be sympathetic to this family and talk to them and kind of figure out how can we assist them, so that both parties are safe from each other, and give them information about the next step.”


This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa. Joycelyn Cabrera of Maricopa is a student at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at ASU.

Erin Darr (PCSO)

Despite pleas for leniency from family members, a Maricopa mother was sentenced to seven years for abusing a stepchild.

Erin Darr, 36, pleaded guilty to two counts of abusing a child under the age of 15. She admitted to pushing the 13-year-old down a set of stairs and forcing the child to eat vomit. The state had asked for the maximum allowable of 7.5 years and lifetime probation.

Judge Christopher J. O’Neil, saying aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors, sentenced Darr to seven years in prison and 15 years’ probation. She was credited with 86 days behind bars. O’Neil also imposed fines totaling $5,520.

“I know I was wrong for what I did, and there’s not a day that goes by without wishing I would have done things differently,” Darr said.

She told the court she plans to continue taking parenting classes to be prepared when she is reunited with her children. She was a stay-at-home mom to six.

“Your honor, as you see I have a family at home that needs me and teens that need their mom’s guidance and love and presence as well as a husband who needs my support in raising them,” she told O’Neill. “This is why I’m asking for your leniency today in my sentencing, so I may return home to continue raising my children.”

The victim’s grandmother told O’Neil the victim has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and ADHD. Since being in her care, Cindy Miller said, the girl has grown and gained weight and is much healthier. She said her granddaughter just wants the case over and done.

Darr’s father, husband, sister, uncle and cousin spoke on her behalf at the Friday proceedings in Superior Court.

Beau Clute, her father, said Darr was always a “good kid.”

“Contrary to what the court believes or even what Erin says, in my heart I don’t think that this happened,” he said.

Husband Chad Darr, who is the father of the victim, said he had lost his family because of the situation.

“I lost all my children, and I miss every one of them,” he said. “I miss my wife. I know a lot of things could have happened in my house that I had no control over because I was not there. If it did happen, I apologize.”

He called Erin his best friend who helped him be a better husband and father while giving back to the community.

“I need my wife’s help raising our children,” he said. “I need to try to get my family back together.”

Erin Darr’s attorney, Terry Sutton, asked for 3.5 years of jailtime and five years’ probation. He said the court should have been more lenient with Darr because she was a first-time offender with family support.

Sutton conceded the crimes to which Darr pleaded guilty were “horrendous.”

Judge O’Neil agreed on the horrendous nature of the crimes.

“Those things may be very difficult for the family and friends and loved ones of Ms. Darr to accept, but those are things Ms. Darr has sought to take responsibility for and for which she stands before the court today,” he said.

O’Neil added Darr failed to provide or call for medical help when the victim was injured and lied to investigators “and enlisted her children to lie to conceal the abuse.”

During her probation after her prison sentence, O’Neil said Darr was to have no contact with the victim and no contact with her children under the age of 18.

Alphonso Ervin (PCSO)

Maricopa police arrested Alphonso Ervin, 46, Sunday afternoon on suspicion of domestic violence assault in Alterra.

Officers were dispatched to a residence on West Sage brush Drive after receiving a call from Ervin’s wife stating he had punched her in the face. Upon arriving, police made contact with Ervin first.

He told police he and his wife were in a verbal argument prior to their arrival regarding his brother “messing up” the blinds on their back patio door, according to the report. He went on to explain that his brother had lived with them for approximately four years, and his wife has multiple issues with him.

Ervin claimed that while they were arguing, he threw a plastic cup of water toward his wife but did not actually hit her with either the water or cup. He told police his wife scratched her own face from her forehead to her chin and claimed he had never touched her or hit her.

Officers identified a scratch under the woman’s eye and a bump with fresh blood on her eyebrow.

The woman’s recollection involved Ervin throwing a whole garlic clove at her, hitting her in the eye and causing the eyebrow injury. Ervin allegedly also threw a jar of pimentos at her, striking her thigh.

When attempting to leave the room, she said, she was slapped in the face by Ervin. Officers were able to observe a garlic clove on the ground as well as the shattered jar of pimentos.

Police determined the injuries to the woman were not consistent with Ervin’s statement. He was placed under arrest for domestic assault and booked in Pinal County Jail.

 

Linda King talks about losing a daughter to domestic violence. Photo by Kyle Norby

For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer and the Maricopa Police Department hosted a kick-off event for the community. The presentations are aimed to help people learn and talk about domestic violence in society.

Events included the donation of $5,000 to the Maricopa Family Advocacy Center, a statistical portion on domestic violence, and a play performed on the subject as well.

“The play was actually written by the family of a lady who was in a domestic-violence relationship that ultimately took her life,” Volkmer explained.

The play is put on by an organization called “Fix the Hurt.” It is a production company founded by John and Linda King, who used to act in the play they created titled, “23 Bruises.” The play is based on the true events leading up to the death of John and Linda’s daughter. After the performance concluded, Linda King opened up the floor to a Q&A segment with the cast and crew.

 

Maricopa Police arrested a woman April 27 on suspicion of domestic violence assault after she allegedly attacked her boyfriend.

According to an MPD probable cause statement, Briana Duvall assaulted her boyfriend after he did not answer his cellphone when she called him. His reason was simple: His battery was dead.

Police were called to the front yard of his residence on West Knauss Drive just after 10 p.m. as she was screaming at him on the front porch. She allegedly struck him on the left side of his mouth with a closed fist and scratched him on the right side of his neck.

The officer answering the call, reported several abrasions on the side of the boyfriend’s neck and a small cut on his lip. Duvall was later located on Butterfield Parkway at Edison Road and allegedly admitted to the assault, according to the probable cause statement.

She was placed under arrest and booked into the Pinal County Jail.

Karla Felix was arrested by Maricopa Police on suspicion of assaulting her boyfriend April 20.

According to a police probable cause statement, Felix was placed under arrest shortly before 7 a.m. after she allegedly admitted slapping her boyfriend “on the face after finding him in bed next to her sister.”

The report continues, “The incident occurred at her mother’s residence, located on North Braden Road. Karla (Felix) continued to try and attack him which caused her to scratch his right arm when he was attempting to defend himself by holding her down.”

The sister told police Karla Felix “became upset with him at Walmart and slapped him twice on the face” about midnight. She told police, while at her mother’s residence Felix came into her room and started an argument with the boyfriend, who was also apparently in the bedroom.

 

Jose Martinez-Romero was arrested by Maricopa Police on April 17 on suspicion of domestic violence assault.

Police responded to a residence on West Nina Street, where a woman told officers her husband, Martinez-Romero, slammed her against a wall and had his hands around her throat.

The incident began, according to the woman, when she confronted him about cheating on her, according to a police probable cause statement.

The report states when confronted, Martinez-Romero grabbed her and “pushed her up against the bathroom door in the master bedroom.”

After he allegedly choked her, she walked out of the room and called police. An officer noted observing “irritated skin on the upper chest portion” of the woman in the report.

Martinez-Romero told police, she “began slapping him with a sandal and punching him lightly on his left side.”

He told police he grabbed her and pushed her against the bathroom door after being antagonized.

According to the probable cause statement, he was arrested and charged for domestic violence due to the visible injuries.

The 14th annual Seeds of Change Gala to benefit the Against Abuse women and children’s shelter in Maricopa changed things up this year with 1970s style party at Province Saturday. The event, with auctions and games of chance, raised more than $35,000 to maintain and supply La Casa de Paz.

 

A 39-year-old Maricopa man was arrested for child abuse and threatening domestic violence after allegedly striking his daughter numerous times in the legs with a pipe.

The saga began Feb. 20, when the daughter allegedly invited a juvenile male friend over to the house on West Barcelona Drive in Maricopa without permission about 3 p.m., according to the Maricopa Police Department’s statement of probable cause.

The girl’s father caught the boy in her room and kicked him out of the residence, according to the report.

“While the juvenile male was being kicked out of the residence, [the father] slapped [the daughter] across the face,” the report states. “Once the juvenile male left the premises, [the father] went to the garage, obtained a PVC pipe and approached [the daughter]. She was struck numerous times on the side of the knee, the back of the thigh and on her rear-end by the PVC pipe.”

According to the report, the girl’s mother grabbed the pipe and said it was enough.

“After the last hit, she fell to the ground and her dad got on top of her and started strangling her, with two hands around her throat at the time,” the probable cause statement reads. “[The father] then got up and [the mother] reported he kicked her on the back of the leg.”

The girl was sent to her bedroom, “and [the father] came in and broke her cellphone. [The daughter] reported [the father] saying if she tells anyone she is going to get it worse the next time and made comments about killing her,” the probable cause statement reads.

The girl was not interviewed about the attack until Feb. 25, five days later, according to the probable cause statement.

“A medical forensic exam was completed where large hematomas were observed on [the girl’s] legs, rear-end and thigh and bruises on her arms and lower leg,” according to the report.

The Department of Child Safety was contacted and reportedly took custody of the girl.

On Feb. 25, at 8:48 p.m., the father was arrested at his residence, taken to the Maricopa Police Department and informed of his Miranda Rights. He was transported to the Pinal County Jail and booked.

Veronica Cervantez was arrested by Maricopa Police Jan. 26 for domestic violence assault.

According to a MPD probable cause statement, Cervantez was involved in a verbal dispute with her boyfriend about 4:15 p.m. on North Cielo Lane. The dispute was over Cervantez “going out the night before” and him “not knowing what she was up to.”

It eventually turned physical, according to the police report.

“During the argument, property was broken,” the probable cause statement reads. “It is unclear at this point if it was accidental or on purpose due to conflicting statement.”

The boyfriend told police he pushed Cervantez away as she was throwing things at him. During the argument, the man said Cervantez “hit him in the head with the fan in the bedroom,” according to the police report.

The police officer noted in their report the man had a “bump in the back of his head the size of a quarter and a red laceration on the top portion of his forehead.”

Cervantez denied hitting him with the fan and denied he had even pushed her, the report states. She only acknowledged that the two were in a verbal argument.

At 4:40 p.m. officers placed Cervantez under arrest.

“I have probable cause to believe the assault took place from the injuries,” the officer wrote, adding, “and statements made by him.”

Cervantez was booked into the Pinal County Jail.

 

A Maricopa woman reportedly suffered stab wounds and her mother, the suspected assailant, was hospitalized after a possible overdose Saturday.

Residents reported a large gathering of first responders in the Tortosa neighborhood around 3:30 p.m. Maricopa Police Department was called to the scene on the report of “possible domestic violence with injuries.”

A 25-year-old woman was found with multiple stab wounds. She told officers she had tried to intervene when her mother had been threatening suicide with a knife. According to the MPD report, the mother “attacked the daughter with the knife, inflicint injury.” The daughter locked herself in a room and called police.

Police took the mother into custody, but she reportedly collapsed while being evaluated by Maricopa Fire/Medical personnel. She had minor injuries, according to MPD, “but is suspected to be overdosed on an unknown medication.”

Both are listed in critical condition at a Valley hospital. MPD continues to investigate the incident.

 

MPD Lt. Steven Judd talks about investigating domestic violence calls during a presentation Oct. 23 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Horton Drive. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Police Department offered tips for identifying potential domestic violence situations, shared resources to help victims and explained the difficult process of removing a victim from an abusive relationship. The special program was Tuesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on DR Horton Drive.

MPD Community Programs Manager Mary Witkofski
MPD Victim Advocate Jim DeVenezia

A Maricopa woman was arrested on domestic violence charges Oct. 20 after two incidents involving her husband.

A Maricopa Police report shows Maria Weber was arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct for a Oct. 20 incident and criminal damage charges from one on Oct. 18.

According to police, on the evening of Oct. 18, Weber used a screwdriver to punch holes in the wall of the bedroom of her estranged husband at his residence on West Ramona Street. She is also said to have set a pillow on fire and dumped oil on a bed.

The second incident occurred on the evening of Oct. 20. Police said Maria Weber was involved in a “verbal argument” with her husband.

“She recklessly threw three baseball-sized rocks at [her husband],” a police report reads. “One of the rocks struck [him] in his left ankle.”

After this, she is said to have begun, “yelling and excessively using her vehicle horn, while in front of [her husband’s] residence.”

Maria Weber allegedly admitted to the crimes to police after her arrest. Her son is said to have provided witness statements against her as well.

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Maricopa City Council marked October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a proclamation by Mayor Christian Price. The entry to City Hall was also lighted in purple symbolic of the event.

Whereas, domestic violence is prevalent throughout the region, and more than 90 people lost their lives due to domestic violence in Arizona in 2017, with at least 53 deaths occurring within the Maricopa Association of Governments region; and
Whereas, every 44 minutes in Arizona, one or more children witness domestic violence, and up to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse their children, according to an Arizona Department of Health Services report; and
Whereas, the trauma and suffering caused by domestic violence destroys families, threatens the safety of neighborhoods, and weakens the ability of communities to thrive; and
Whereas, the City of Maricopa works collaboratively with community agencies to effectively address, prevent, and eradicate domestic violence; and
Whereas, the City of Maricopa is dedicated to ensuring the safety of domestic violence survivors and holding abusers accountable; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christian Price, Mayor of the City of Maricopa, do hereby proclaim the month of October, 2018, as DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH in the City of Maricopa.

Dated this 2nd day of October, 2018

A glow stick party is planned this month as part of Domestic Violence Awareness.

The Maricopa Police Department rolled out a youth-led intervention group on Oct. 3 at City Hall.

Mary Witkofski, Community Programs Manager with the police department, said MPD is the first law enforcement agency in the nation to implement the program as part of the Valley-based group Bloom365.

The MPD BloomCrew is made up of five local youth facilitators and eight adult mentors. The group provides peer-to-peer counseling, education and advocacy to teens while also promoting “smart choice in friendships and dating,” Witkofski said.

Mayor Price introduced the group during a city council meeting last week after he proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Witkofski recognized Against Abuse Inc. and Eve’s Place as long-term service providers.

The BloomCrew will kick off its first community event Oct. 21 with a glow-stick party for children 10 to 13 years old inside Copper Sky Recreation Center from 3 to 6 p.m. The free event will feature games about healthy relationships, prizes, food and music DJ’d by the Be Awesome Youth Coalition.

According to a report by Bloom365, 1 in 3 teens will experience dating abuse.

Maricopa Community Alliance Against Substance Abuse Program Director Priscilla Behnke, said tweens are not too young to learn about domestic violence.

“It’s really the time they are coming into their own,” Behnke said. “They are starting to develop autonomy and they want relationships outside that nuclear family and if they don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like they are not going to start adopting healthy relationships.”

The MPD BloomCrew will visit Sequoia Pathway Academy junior high students on Oct. 23 and will later attend a youth girls’ symposium for junior high students in the Maricopa Unified School District on Oct. 25.

In September, over half of the 96 contacts MPD Victim Assistance Program had with victims were “domestic and family violence related,” according to the most recent weekly report by City Manager Gregory Rose.

To contact a victim advocate call 520-316-6800.

Lasa Andres (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man has been arrested for assault and criminal damage spawning from an alleged domestic violence incident on Aug. 24, during which he reportedly cut open a mattress looking for his girlfriend’s supposed lover.

Maricopa Police Department arrested Andres Lasa, 41, around 5:30 a.m. after his live-in girlfriend called police when he allegedly became violent and began accusing her of cheating on him, an MPD report says.

Lasa’s girlfriend said she was awoken in the early morning hours by Lasa when he allegedly began accusing her of infidelity, according to the report. After waking her and arguing while she lay in bed, Lasa reportedly lifted the mattress throwing his girlfriend from the bed causing her to hit the wall.

According to the report, his girlfriend claimed Lasa hit her several times in the face, “once with a closed fist, and several times with open-hand slaps.”

Lasa then allegedly started “cutting into the mattress with a kitchen knife in an attempt to find the person [she] was having an affair with,” the report says.

After his girlfriend warned Lasa that she would call police, he allegedly fled the residence on foot and was later found hiding in a “dirt farm field” not far from the residence.

If convicted of the two crimes, both class 2 misdemeanors, Lasa could face up to eight months in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Lasa is being held on a combined bond of $7,700 at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence.

Angelica Gonzalez (MPD photo)

A Maricopa woman was booked on multiple charges stemming from a domestic incident Aug. 20 after allegedly hitting her live-in boyfriend and throwing a vacuum at him.

According to Maricopa Police Department report Angelica Gonzalez was arrested for assault Sunday morning around 6:30 a.m. after allegedly striking her boyfriend with a “closed fist” leaving a 5-6-inch scratch and a one-inch “fresh, bleeding wound” near his left shoulder blade.

Gonzalez allegedly admitted to the assault during both “an initial interview as well as a in custody interview under Miranda [sic],” the report says.

During the incident, the report says, Gonzalez also allegedly committed criminal damage after breaking a vacuum cleaner by throwing it at her boyfriend.

The report alleges Gonzalez stated, “she may have caused the damage to the vacuum cleaner but could not remember.”

Additionally, the report alleges she committed disorderly conduct by “engaging in a loud fight” that disturbed children in the home, causing them to wake up and witness the alleged assault.

In a Coherence Control Screening test, a standard test given to victims of alleged domestic violence, the report says, the victim admitted Gonzalez has threatened violence against him in the past and has manipulated him in multiple other ways.

The report alleges the victim said Gonzalez has “made him have sex or preform sex acts” against his will, has access to his money, restricts his ability to visit family, limits his access to vehicles and makes “humiliating remarks” towards him. The victim also allegedly stated he has attempted to leave Gonzalez twice and there were “negative results for leaving,” the report says.

Gonzalez was booked into the Pinal County Detention center on charges of assault (class 1 misdemeanor), disorderly conduct (class 1 misdemeanor) and criminal damage (class 2 misdemeanor). If convicted, Gonzalez could face up to 16 months in jail for the combined charges.

Jeremy Osife (2014)

A Maricopa man was arrested on strangulation charges after allegedly choking his girlfriend during a domestic violence incident Sunday.

A Maricopa Police Department report states Jeremy Dean Osife, 40, was taken into custody by MPD around 7 p.m. Aug. 13 when officers who had responded to the home for an unrelated incident were informed of the alleged strangulation.

The incident, the report stated, took place when Osife and his girlfriend began to argue and then retreated to an upstairs bathroom to “argue away from the kids.”

Osife then allegedly prevented his girlfriend from leaving the bathroom by placing his hand on the front of her neck and shoving her, causing her to break a ceramic bowl as she attempted to stay on her feet.

The daughter of Osife’s girlfriend took photos of the marks left on her neck by the alleged choking.

When questioned, Osife allegedly denied becoming physically violent with his girlfriend, though he could not explain how she received the marks on her neck.

Osife has been charged with aggravated assault involving strangulation, a class 4 felony. If convicted he could face 4-8 years in prison.

Tyler Miller (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man was arrested after an alleged domestic violence incident when the victim was denied access to her phone, forcing her to use a computer and social media to call for help.

According to a Maricopa Police Department, at approximately 1 p.m. on July 9, Tyler Miller, 25, allegedly entered a verbal altercation that became physical. During the altercation, the victim was tackled to ground, causing abrasions on her feet, and placed in a “rear choke hold,” the report states.

Miller allegedly released his hold after approximately five seconds, but continued to closely monitor her actions the rest of the day, preventing her from leaving the residence.

The victim reported to MPD officers that Miller also allegedly held a “stun gun” to her face as she walked around the house to check on their child and use the bathroom.

Around 10:30 p.m., while Miller was smoking a cigarette outside, the victim reportedly used Facebook to contact a friend who then contacted MPD.

When officers arrived at the residence there was no immediate answer at the door, according to the report. A few moments later, officers heard a female scream come from inside the home. The officers made entry and found the victim in a locked room, the report said.

Miller had fled the home prior to MPD entering. However, he was later apprehended when police received calls that a man fitting his description was knocking on a neighbor’s door around 2 a.m. seeking medical attention for a shoulder injury.

After his arrest, Miller allegedly admitted to fleeing the house when MPD showed up. He also admitted to taking the stun gun with him and leaving it in an unknown backyard.

Miller is currently being held at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center on a $2,500 bond.

In all, Miller was charged with a total of four crimes as a result of the incident including unlawful imprisonment, aggravated assault with strangulation, assault and threatening.  If convicted, the charges carry a punishment of 4-10 years.

Hezekiah Turner. PCSO photo

A Maricopa man was arrested on aggravated domestic violence charges June 27 after an alleged violent incident took place involving a family member.

A Maricopa Police report shows Hezekiah Turner, 20, was booked on charges of disorderly conduct and criminal damage after a verbal argument with a family member allegedly turned violent.

Turner, who in the past 15 months had been charged in three other domestic violence cases, allegedly began screaming and then punching multiple holes in the walls of a family member’s home, according to the report.

He then purportedly threw multiple items across the house, the report said, causing his family member to fear for their safety.

Upon reviewing Turner’s criminal record, police decided to additionally charge him with aggravated domestic violence, his fourth DV charge since April 2016.

“Due to Hezekiah being arrested for domestic violence more than three times in 84 months he is also charged with aggravated domestic violence, which is a Class 5 felony,” the police report stated.

In Arizona, a class 5 felony concerning repetitive dangerous offenses can result in five to eight years in prison.

Turner is being held at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence on a $2,500 bond.

 

Other Maricopa arrests:

Thomas William Clark, 67, was arrested by a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy June 30 on multiple charges. He was taken into custody in the 50000 block of West Val Vista Road.

Charges include possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime, possession of dangerous drugs for use, possession of dangerous drugs for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mauro Padilla Jr., 33, was arrested by PCSO on July 4 at 7 p.m. on Padilla Road. He is charged with criminal damage and disorderly conduct.

A woman has died after being stabbed in what is suspected to be a domestic violence incident in Maricopa.

The woman’s husband is in the custody of Maricopa Police Department for questioning. Neither has been publicly identified as the investigation continues of a “suspicious death.”

According to Officer Daniel Rauch, several 911 calls came into MPD around 6:30 p.m. Saturday primarily from Maricopa Meadows.

Neighbors reported hearing screaming and seeing a man striking a woman repeatedly. Rauch said the woman reportedly was stabbed with a knife or a sharp object. More information is expected Monday.

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Tessa Milne talks about surviving with domestic abuse.

Maricopa Police Department responds to 50-70 domestic violence calls a month, and Chief Steve Stahl calls them among the most dangerous. The community has resources to respond to and help prevent these issues, which were discussed throughout the month of October.

Michael J. Davis (PCSO photo)

Maricopa Police officers arrested a man on an assault charge after a violent domestic altercation on the morning of Oct. 21 only to later discover that he was wanted for allegedly shoplifting beer from a convenience store the night before.

Thursday night, MPD responded to a report of shoplifting at the Good to Go Gas Station on John Wayne Parkway. The unidentified subject reportedly took two 18-packs of Budweiser beer and fled from the store on foot. Officers searched the area but were ultimately unable to track down the beer bandit, or recover the stolen merchandise.

The following day at approximately 6:20 a.m. MPD made contact with Maricopa resident Michael J. Davis in reference to a domestic violence report. Davis was taken into custody and photographed by the MPD after being charged with assault. He was then transported to the Pinal County Detention Facility for booking.

Later Friday morning, surveillance footage of the convenience store from the night before was obtained and compared to the photos taken of Davis. Police determined Davis was the man being sought for allegedly stealing the brew and thus an additional accusation of shoplifting was made.

Total value of the beer was said to be $27.98, an amount well under the $1,000 floor for felonious theft. However, theft of anything less than $1,000 is a Class 1 misdemeanor in the state of Arizona, a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Davis could face additional punishment if also found guilty of assault, a crime that carries a potential incarceration period of as little as one month to as much as 15 years, depending on the of severity of the crime.

By Ethan McSweeney

Maricopa police arrested a man near a local fast-food restaurant on June 8 on charges of assault, threatening and possession of drug paraphernalia after he allegedly threatened to “shoot everybody up.”

Around 8:21 p.m., the Maricopa Police Department responded to a domestic violence call between Martreze Tamayo, 23, and a girl at the McDonald’s on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway in front of Wal-Mart, according to an MPD report.

The girl told police that she went to the McDonald’s to confront Tamayo about money he owed her, according to the report. During the argument, the girl said, Tamayo grabbed her wallet out of her car and threw it at her, hitting her on the side of the forehead.

Another witness told police that she saw Tamayo throw the wallet at the girl’s forehead.

Tamayo then told the girl, “I am gonna come to Casa Grande and shoot everybody up,” as he was walking away, according to the report.

MPD later found Tamayo on the west side of the Wal-Mart building. Police found a marijuana grinder, which “contained small amounts of green plant residue,” inside a black bag Tamayo had in his possession, the report read.

Police arrested Tamayo, and he was subsequently booked into Pinal County Jail pending charges.

Christina Tull (center), president of CAC-Maricopa Student Leadership, with Scott Gillum and Cassandra Holcombe explains the Clothesline Project.

Student Leadership at Central Arizona College – Maricopa is in the middle of a project to bring awareness to domestic abuse.

In April, the students hosted the Clothesline Project, bearing witness to domestic violence. Through May 12, they will be collecting items for the Against Abuse shelter in Maricopa.

In this video, members of Student Leadership explain the project and their organization.

Domestic violence is a focal point for the Maricopa Police Department.

One of the Maricopa Police Department’s focuses is to limit and prevent domestic violence.

According to MPD Sgt. Leonard Perez, the department tries to prevent domestic violence before it occurs, but also holds violators accountable when it happens.

“We have to address the underlining problem because you can’t arrest away your problems,” Perez said. “We like to address prevention before it happens, and we like to focus on domestic violence.”

Over the last week, three Maricopa residents were arrested for domestic violence incidents.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Jonah Walker and Misty Rivers were arrested for a domestic altercation. According to the police report, the couple began a verbal argument when Rivers became upset with Walker, and the dispute resulted in both parties receiving minor injuries.

According to the police report, “After making contact with both Jonah and Misty it was discovered Misty was the primary aggressor in the situation by escalating the verbal argument into a physical assault leaving scratch marks on (Walker’s) face. Misty had red marks and scratches on her face along with a bloody nose.”

Walker reportedly hit Rivers with an open hand out of self defense. Rivers then fled to a neighbor’s house, and both individuals were arrested near their home on Sheridan Road.

Walker was accused of assault per domestic violence for “going beyond the point of self-defense,” and Rivers was accused of assault per domestic violence for being the “primary aggressor.”

On Thursday, Jan. 28, MPD officers responded to another domestic violence call. David Haycraft was arrested, accused of aggravated domestic violence and assault after reportedly biting a woman who was trying to have him evicted.

According to the police report, “[The victim] said they began to argue, and the argument became heated and she was pointing her index finger at David as she yelled. She said David lunged at her and tried to bite her finger and when she pulled away, David lunged again and grabbed her and bit her in the face on the left cheek.”

Haycraft reportedly has a history of domestic violence and was booked on aggravated domestic violence and assault.