Tags Articles tagged with "murder"

murder

Kathryn Sinkevitch was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for the murder of Michael Agerter at his rental home on Sagebrush Trail in Rancho El Dorado Dec. 16, 2016.

Kathryn Sinkevitch will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Thursday, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin White handed down a “natural life” in prison sentence to Sinkevitch after she was convicted May 7 of the first-degree murder of Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016.

With a sentence of natural life in prison, she is not eligible for commutation, parole, work furlough, work release or release from confinement on any basis.

It is one of the harshest penalties in the State of Arizona, second only to the death penalty.

Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Prosecutors maintain the murder occurred because Sinkevitch did not want to share custody of the child with Agerter and the two were involved in a court battle, including DNA testing. Agerter, 31, was murdered just hours after submitting DNA samples at LabCorp.

After a little more than a day of deliberations, the jury handed down its decision.

Sinkevitch, 35, appeared for her sentencing Thursday morning wearing a maroon jail uniform, with her long blond hair down and pulled back in a pony tail.

The victim’s mother and father, who live in Ohio, spoke to the court before her sentence was announced.

Michael’s father, Mark Agerter, said the murder of his son was one of the most cowardly acts he has seen in his 60 years on the planet.

“For 35 years, I have taught and coached high school kids and had many opportunities to speak. I have prepared a script though it will not be as eloquent or as colorful in vocabulary as he (Michael) might have done,” Mark said.

He said that since Sinkevitch was found guilty on May 7, many people have “congratulated” him on the verdict. He said the word congratulations is not the right word for the situation. He said Sinkevitch’s actions may not have created a circumstance where there could be a winner.

“The end of Mike’s life did not fit the type of person that he ever was,” his father said. “A few days following (his murder), there were comments on social media from Ms. Sinkevitch’s family members that Mike got exactly what he deserved. This is very disconcerting and did not come from someone who knew Mike.”

He said he has never found anyone who knew Michael that would describe his son in any other way than as a true and sincere person.

As his father spoke, Sinkevitch just sat silently and stared at the back of his head.

“There was absolutely no reason that the events that occurred on Dec. 16, 2016, should have ever happened,” Mark Agerter said. “Mike, from a young age, tended not to be fearful of anything. It showed in everything he did from climbing trees that were too tall as a kid to his efforts playing college football.”

Two armed, female sheriff’s office guards stood very close to Sinkevitch as Agerter spoke.

“Mike truly wanted things to be right for his son,” he said. “After all, he loved children. Unfortunately, he was never allowed to meet his son. There is a reason that we must have prisons. Someone who would act in a very unconscionable and cowardly manner to take a life, like the one taken in that garage in Maricopa, Arizona, on Dec. 16, 2016, must not have the freedom to make that decision ever again.”

He thanked the Pinal County prosecutors in the case, led by Shawn Jensvold and David Ahl and Christine Forbes. He also thanked the Maricopa Police Department for all their hard work.

“Kathryn Sinkevitch may have chosen to take Mike’s life, but she will never kill his spirit. His spirit lives on forever. His family will be sure that the little boy that we call Christopher will be the most loved little boy on the planet,” Mark said referring to his grandson, of whom Michael’s parents have custody.

Michael’s mother, Leslie Agerter, also addressed the court.

She told White about her murdered son and his relationships to his siblings

She spoke about her son’s deep relationship with siblings and family. She talked about her son’s many selfless acts of kindness to family, friends and total strangers.

She also spoke about how her daughter was on the phone with Michael when he was murdered.

“She was his friend but most of all he was her big brother,” Leslie said. “She listened to Michael utter his final words and take his dying breath after Sinkevitch ambushed him in his garage.”

She said no one is perfect and Mike was no exception.

“He may not have been perfect, but he was a gentleman,” she said. “At the first incident of violence against him, he should have been out the door. Instead he stayed. He gave me a whole laundry list of reasons why he shouldn’t leave the relationship. They all revolved around her, and him wanting to make sure she could take care of herself.”

Leslie Agerter said at first her son wouldn’t leave Sinkevitch because she didn’t have a job and he was worried she couldn’t support herself. After she got a job, she said Michael stayed in the relationship to make sure she could get to work because she didn’t have transportation.

She said Sinkevitch used her son’s car to get back and forth to work while he stayed home and worked.

“And finally, when he thought she could be self-sufficient, and he was ready to leave, she became pregnant,” she said. “We are left to raise our son’s son. We decided to call him Christopher in honor of one of Mike’s longest valued friendships. Her rights as a parent have been legally terminated. My son is gone. How are we to explain to his son her actions when he is old enough to understand? I hope I am strong enough and given the wisdom when that inevitable day arrives.”

Both the prosecutors and defense attorney Bret Huggins agreed there is little choice but to give Sinkevitch a natural life sentence.

Huggins told the court he had already filed an appeal and asked to be withdrawn as defense council for Sinkevitch. He asked the court to appoint another defense attorney to handle the case in the future.

White asked Sinkevitch to stand and asked if she had anything to say to the court and she only replied, “No.”

The judge then sentenced her to serve the rest of her natural life in prison with credit for already serving 896 days in custody.

A Curious Coincidence

Leslie Agerter said there is an ironic twist to the murder of her son, something she learned after Sinkevitch was convicted of the murder.

“In a roundabout way it brings everything full circle,” she said. “In December of 1984, Mark and I drove his sister to her new home in Houston, Texas. We decided to attend the Blue Bonnet Bowl between TCU and West Virginia. We watched the West Virginia quarterback lead his team to an astounding victory. On that same trip, I discovered I was pregnant with Michael and here today, 34 years later, we stand before that same quarterback who now presides over the state’s astounding victory over Sinkevitch.”

The quarterback of West Virginia at the Blue Bonnet Bowl in 1984 was Judge Kevin White.

 

Arthur Eric Magana (PCSO photo)

It will most likely be months before convicted murderer Arthur Magana, 19, will be sent to prison.

Monday at a hearing in Superior Court, defense attorney David Gregan asked for a status review to be scheduled three months from now. This leaves Magana in the custody of the Pinal County Jail and not in the state prison system.

Magana was found guilty of killing 20-year-old Wyatt Miller. Magana’s friend Gustavo Olivo accepted a plea arrangement in November that resulted in a 25-year sentence.

In a trial, Magana was convicted of first-degree murder Nov. 19 after the jury heard evidence of how he shot Miller 11 times in the back of the head and neck on Nov. 7, 2016. The jury also found Magana guilty of armed robbery as Miller was killed during the theft of four ounces of marijuana.

Magana is accused of killing Miller inside his truck in a rural area of Maricopa, according to court testimony. Magana was just 16 years old at the time but is charged as an adult because it is a felony, which investigators called an assassination of Miller.

Magana was wearing a Pinal County Jail blue prison uniform in court Monday.

When Judge Kevin White asked if Magana’s case would be set for a sentencing hearing soon, Gregan said the defense, “was not even close” to a date.

As the prosecutor did not object, White set the matter for a status review on Sept. 9, at 1:30 p.m.

Family thanks all who helped in 'two-year ordeal'

Kathryn Sinkevitch was convicted of murder Tuesday after a day of jury deliberations.

Despite defense attorney Bret Huggins claims, prosecutors do not believe there are grounds to appeal the conviction of  Kathryn Sinkevitch.

“We are pleased with the jury’s verdict because it is entirely consistent with the evidence presented at trial,” Pinal County Attorney’s Office Major Crimes Bureau Chief Shawn Jensvold said after  Sinkevitch was found guilty of first-degree murder this week.

Immediately after the verdict on Tuesday, Sinkevitch’s counsel made it clear they intend to appeal.

A jury convicted 34-year-old Sinkevitch in the 2016 death of Michael Agerter in Maricopa. Jensvold and Deputy County Attorney David Ahl led the prosecution.

“The evidence, which was both direct and circumstantial, pointed directly to Sinkevitch, and there is no reason to suspect that anyone else killed Michael,” Jensvold said.

The Agerter family released a statement through the Pinal County Attorney’s Office:

“On behalf of Mike’s friends and family, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to everyone involved in achieving this verdict. From the first officer on site that continuously talked to Mike even though it was clear he was gone, through the ranks to Detective [Michael] Dennison, Deputy County Attorneys David Ahl and Shawn Jensvold, we thank you. The behind-the-scenes effort, work and support given by Paralegal Christine Forbes and Victim Advocate Sonia Campos were incredibly invaluable to our family throughout this two-year ordeal. The team spent countless hours away from their families so ours would finally attain peace. Also, to the jurors who were tasked with making the painful decision of enacting justice for Mike. He took every legal precaution to protect himself and was trying to do the same for his child. Domestic violence knows no boundaries. Mike’s attempt to protect the child he never met escalated her aggression towards him, ultimately leading to his death.”

On Dec. 16, 2016, the City of Maricopa Police Department received multiple 911 calls of shots fired at a home on Sagebrush Trail in Rancho El Dorado. When police arrived on scene they discovered 31-year-old Agerter shot in the head and back. Agerter was seated in his car, parked in his garage.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police soon discovered Agerter was on the phone with his younger sister at the time he was murdered.

Agerter had a home surveillance system at his residence. After watching some recorded footage, detectives saw what appeared to be a female subject walking quickly from a white minivan parked diagonally across the street from Agerter’s house just after he pulled into his garage.

The subject was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and shoes, gloves and carrying papers in one hand with a bag draped over her shoulder. The subject was outside the views of the cameras briefly, then reappeared and scurried back across the street to the white minivan and sped away. Police ran a background check on Agerter and discovered that he had been in several legal disputes with Sinkevitch.

Agerter and Sinkevitch were romantically involved until they broke up in March 2016. In April 2016, Agerter was granted an order of protection in Maricopa County Superior Court against Sinkevitch. Records show Agerter made efforts to conceal his new address from Sinkevitch. Police also discovered Agerter filed a motion to establish paternity and requested parenting time with his and Sinkevitch’s son, who was born in October.

Agerter never saw his son before he was murdered, and the paternity results later confirmed he was the boy’s father.

During the investigation, police tracked Sinkevitch to a residence belonging to her friend and co-worker. Sinkevitch’s gray Mitsubishi Mirage and her co-worker’s white Chrysler Town and Country were parked outside the residence.

The van appeared identical to the van seen on Agerter’s home surveillance system.

Sinkevitch’s co-worker denied driving to Maricopa during the afternoon of Agerter’s murder. Sinkevitch claimed she was at work all day. However, upon reviewing workplace surveillance video, detectives discovered Sinkevitch had left in the middle of the day.

Police confirmed Sinkevitch had ample time to drive to Agerter’s house, commit the murder and return to work. Police arrested Sinkevitch in Avondale on Dec. 21, 2016, after receiving a tip. Witnesses told police Sinkevitch owned a handgun, but a gun was never located.

“We agree with defense counsel’s assessment that the defendant received a fair trial. As reflected by the fact that they deliberated over two days before returning a verdict, it is clear that the jurors took their responsibilities very seriously. However, we disagree that any legal errors were committed during the trial that are likely to result in the defendant’s conviction being overturned on appeal,” Jensvold said.

Sinkevitch will be sentenced on June 6, at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse. With capital punishment off the table, at that time she will receive a natural life sentence.

Kathryn Sinkevitch was convicted of murder Tuesday after a day of jury deliberations.
Michael Agerter

A seven-woman, five-man jury convicted Kathryn Sinkevitch of first-degree murder Tuesday in Pinal County Superior Court.

Sinkevitch was convicted in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016.

Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Prosecutors maintain the murder occurred because Sinkevitch did not want to share custody of the child with Agerter and the two were involved in a court battle, including DNA testing.

Agerter was murdered just hours after submitting DNA samples at Labcore.

After a little more than a day of deliberations, the jury handed down its decision shortly after 4 p.m.

As the verdict came in, Agerter family members let out a loud gasp of relief while Sinkevitch sat and seemed unaffected by the verdict.

She sat and drank water as the jury handed out her fate.

As Agerter’s mother Leslie Agerter left the courtroom, she said, “I’m just glad that it is finally over.” She and her family sat through every day of the long trial.

“Obviously, I am disappointed,” said Sinkevitch’s defense counsel, Bret Huggins. “There are some legal issues that have to be raised. I think we got a really good jury. I think they did a real good job. It is not over yet, but I am very disappointed that the jury saw the case differently than I did.”

Huggins said sometimes circumstantial evidence can be compelling, but he claimed the evidence in this case was not very strong.

“The circumstantial evidence in this case is, ‘We can’t tell who it is, and people are excluded.’ I’m disappointed, but that’s personal. I got a fair trial. My client got a fair trial. We think there have been legal errors made and we want to raise them in the appropriate court,” Huggins said, adding those issues will be in reference to how he believes his client’s constitutional rights were violated.

Judge Kevin D. White set the sentencing date for Sinkevitch as June 6 at 9 a.m.

More to come …

Kathryn Sinkevitch is accused of murdering ex-boyfriend Michael Agerter in Maricopa.

Monday the jury heard closing arguments and received instructions in the murder trial of Kathryn Sinkevitch at Pinal County Superior Court.

Sinkevitch is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Prosecutors maintain the murder was because Sinkevitch did not want to share custody of the child with Agerter and the two were involved in a court battle, including DNA testing.

Agerter was murdered just hours after submitting DNA samples at Labcore.

“The defense wants you to believe it could have been anyone who have committed this murder,” prosecutor Shawn Jensvold told the jury. “The person who executed Michael would have known that he was coming home that afternoon. That person also must have had some severe hatred of Michael. Execution, that’s what happened. It doesn’t make sense that it was just anyone who did this.”

Jensvold said Sinkevitch intended to kill Agerter. “That is the essence of first-degree murder.”

He said it wasn’t just one piece of evidence in this case that showed guilt but a culmination of evidence.

Jensvold discussed motive and Agerter’s unwillingness to be a part of his son’s life in the beginning but later changing his mind.

Agerter even filed for custody, and this angered Sinkevitch, according to Jensvold.

“She was so consumed with hatred for Michael … She decided murder was her only option,” Jensvold said.

The prosecutor also discussed opportunity and knowledge. He said Sinkevitch knew Agerter was to undergo DNA testing and also knew his appointment was at 1:30 p.m. that day. She left from work to murder him just an hour after receiving information about when his DNA tests were to be done, according to Jensvold.

He discussed Sinkevitch’s plan to commit the murder, saying that was why she didn’t use her work identification badge to open doors that day and used a friend’s vehicle to commit the murder.

“Why was Kathryn so careless?” Jensvold asked the jury. “How reasonable was Kathryn’s mindset at this time? The bitterness stayed with Kathryn, and she wasn’t thinking clearly.  A reasonable rational person doesn’t commit murder in the first place. He (Agerter) didn’t want her to know where he lived, and she hired a private investigator to get that information.”

He discussed DNA, soil sample and gunshot residue tests that were inconclusive.

He said the person on video at Agerter’s house was similar in stature to Sinkevitch, and the van in the video was also similar to the one Sinkevitch used that day.

Jensvold said Sinkevitch lied about what she did the day of the murder and said she didn’t take a lunch. She clearly is seen on camera leaving work that day for about three hours.

“Consider all the evidence in light of reason, common sense and experience,” Jensvold told the jury. “This can’t just be anyone. The real question is to flip it around – who else could it be besides the defendant? Who else had the motive? No one that we know of. None of the evidence has suggested that in any way. Who else had the opportunity? Who else knew specifically where Michael was going to be after returning from Labcore at 1:30? Who else would be so consumed with their hatred of Michael and self-absorbed to the point that they were willing to execute Michael and leave his family with a picture like this that they have to remember him by?”

He said normal people participate in the legal process when they have a custody problem like this.

“You don’t just go out and execute them in their garage,” Jensvold said in closing.

The defense then had their turn at closing arguments.

“This case is a circumstantial case. There is no direct evidence. There is no direct witness against Kathryn Sinkevitch,” defense attorney Bret Huggins said in his closing arguments.

Huggins said DNA is the gold standard of evidence and two DNA experts testified Sinkevitch’s DNA was not found anywhere on any evidence in the entire case.

Huggins said investigators never tested the van for gunshot residue, only two pieces of clothing that were in the van and only three microns of gunshot residue were found. A micro is 1/20 the size of a human hair he said.

Huggins said the state clearly has not proven their case against Sinkevitch.

The DNA that was found on a hair in the van didn’t match Sinkevitch, Huggins noted.

Huggins said there was no forensic firearms information available in the case. He said the soil samples in the case don’t match. He said they don’t know what size shoe made a shoeprint at the murder scene.

Huggins maintained that Sinkevitch didn’t drive the van seen at the murder scene in videos.

“Is that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, is it?” Huggins asked the jury.

Huggins also questioned the credibility of the witnesses in this case.

“Some witnesses are just not credible,” Huggins said.

He said the case against Sinkevitch doesn’t fall together. Huggins concluded that Sinkevitch has been left with the burden to prove she didn’t commit the murder but in fact it is the state’s burden to prove she did it.

“Who caused the death of Michael Agerter?” Huggins said.

Huggins cautioned the jury to maintain their individual judgment about the case and not to be swayed by the thoughts of other jury members during deliberations.

“Too often juries become a committee of one,” Huggins said. “You get 12 people in there, a foreman is chosen and everybody else quits having any participation. The jury system doesn’t work that way. We need all of you to participate.  We are entitled to your individual judgment.”

While giving the state’s final rebuttal, prosecutor David Ahl said there is no distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence.

“There’s no dispute the defendant owned a gun, yet no gun was ever found in her apartment,” Ahl said. “None of this evidence proves that Kaythryn Sinkevith wasn’t the shooter.”

He said there is no reasonable doubt who killed Agerter.

“There is no real possibility that it was someone else on Dec. 16 who jumped from that van to kill Michael Agerter,” Ahl told the jury. “For that to be true that it was someone else, Kathryn Sinkevitch would have had to have left work in Bridgett Hopkins’ van for no reason whatsoever after not clocking out, despite having her own car there. Just under an hour after leaving work her phone would have had to go dead. In this period, with her cellphone turned off for two hours, Michael Agerter was murdered. Michael Agerter was murdered just over an hour after she turned off her cellphone.”

Ahl said Sinkevitch had the motive and opportunity to kill Agerter.

“She planned it out and tried to hide her tracks,” Ahl said. “After it was over you have her telling lies that she was at work all day. You have her searching her computer on how to turn off 911 tracking on her phone. This defendant was not ready to share her child with its father because it would make her life more difficult.”

About 3 p.m. Monday, Judge Kevin D. White gave the jury their final instructions and sent them to deliberate Sinkevitch’s fate after three of the 15 jurors were selected as alternates and physically excused.

Soil samples were part of the evidence gathered at the crime scene in 2016.

Tuesday, Kathryn Sinkevitch’s first-degree murder trial entered its fourth day with the testimony of geologist forensics examiner Jody Webb from the FBI Crime Lab.

Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Webb has 21 years’ experience as an FBI geologist forensics examiner.

One of her co-workers performed soil comparison test around Agerter’s house. The co-worker could not testify Tuesday due to illness, so the FBI sent Webb who works with her and also validated these test results.

The FBI analyzed three items, a driver’s side floor mat from a vehicle believed to be used by Sinkevitch during the commission of the murder and soil from a two shoe prints at the scene of the murder.

The whole floor mat from the suspect van was sent to the FBI to be tested.

The soil samples from the floor mat and the shoe prints were compared and tests concluded the soil was different on the mat than both of the soil in the shoe prints at the scene.

The soil makeup of the two shoeprints were also different when tested by the FBI lab. Webb said it is very possible for the samples to be different and still taken in the same area.

Persecutors showed Webb a video showing a suspect wearing a dark hoodie going into the garage and walking across the areas that were tested when Agerter was murdered in the garage.

The soil samples were taken three days after the murder.

Under cross examination, defense attorney Bret Huggins noted that the soil samples don’t match and are eliminated as the source of the soil on the floor mats. Webb, the FBI analyst, agreed.

The soil samples were eliminated, she said.

Michael Agerter was killed at his home, and prosecutors believe the van used belonged to Kathryn Sinkevitch's friend.

On Tuesday, Kathryn Sinkevitch’s friend, Bridget Hopkins, testified at her first-degree murder trial.

Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Prosecutors claim Sinkevitch used Hopkins’ Chrysler Town and Country minivan during the commission of the murder.

Hopkins said the white minivan was her sole vehicle at the time of the murder, and her only means of transportation. It was seized as evidence in the case by Maricopa Police on the day of the murder, and Hopkins has not been allowed to use or even see the vehicle since that day.

Hopkins maintains if Sinkevitch did use her van in the commission of murder, it was without her knowledge.

Hopkins said she first met Sinkevitch in October 2015 when they were in the same company training group at the mortgage company where they both worked.

They started out as just co-workers but then became friends by April 2016, she said. She added they had conversations about Agerter after he and Sinkevitch broke up.

Hopkins told the court, “it was not a peaceful breakup” and Sinkevitch knew she was pregnant. She said Agerter didn’t want to be involved with the child at first.

Hopkins said she hung out with Sinkevitch a “couple times a week,” usually at Sinkevitch’s apartment. She said she and Sinkevitch were also thinking about getting a place together to save money.

On the day of the murder, Hopkins said she drove her van to work. She saw Sinkevitch at her desk later in the morning and said Sinkevitch was “staying at her desk for lunch.” Hopkins said she went to Wendy’s for lunch.

Hopkins said her keys and an employee badge were in her purse and said Sinkevitch never asked to borrow her van that day and she didn’t know if she borrowed it or not.

Hopkins said there was nothing unusual about the van when she got in it and left for home at 5 p.m. on the day of the murder.

Hopkins told the court, Sinkevitch came over to her house in Mesa that evening about 6:30. They cleaned the backyard and were getting ready to have a bonfire when the Maricopa Police showed up 30 to 40 minutes later.

Sinkevitch was taken into custody, locked in the back of a police car for several hours in Mesa and transported to Maricopa for questioning that evening. Early the next morning, Sinkevitch came back to Hopkins’ house after being released from Maricopa Police Department about 2 a.m.

Hopkins told the court they went to bed, and Sinkevitch got up early the next morning and went home to get a few things.

She said only later did she find out that Sinkevitch was not being truthful about not leaving the office the day of the murder. Sinkevitch drove her to work on Monday and Tuesday following the murder, but Sinkevitch didn’t work Tuesday.

Hopkins said police showed her the videos of Sinkevitch leaving the mortgage company and the white van at the murder scene.

She said police also pressured her into having a phone call with Sinkevitch, telling her they would name her as an accomplice.

Prosecutors showed Hopkins photographs of her van Tuesday at the trial. Her black hoodie was on the passenger side floorboard in the photographs. Hopkins wore the hoodie outside when she left the day of the murder for lunch, according to the company’s video recordings.

Under cross examination by defense council and redirect by the prosecutors, Hopkins said police pointed their guns at her and her children the night of the murder, when they were clearing the house in Mesa, and this upset her.

Hopkins also said it was not her walking across the street to Agerter’s house from the white van in the video.

Scene of the murder on Sagebrush Drive in Rancho El Dorado Dec. 16, 2016.

 

Anthony Daniels, a former co-worker of murder suspect Kathryn Sinkevitch, told a Pinal County Superior Court jury she sat and cried the afternoon the murder occurred after she returned to work.

Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Daniels worked at a mortgage company in Tempe in the support department with Sinkevitch. They worked together about two years before the murder, he said Tuesday as he testified at her trial. He was the second of her former co-workers to testify about her behavior the day of the murder in what has so far been a circumstantial case.

Daniels said he communicated with Sinkevitch daily at work.

He said she was very close to co-worker Bridget Hopkins and they would have lunch together. Sometimes he would also get involved in the conversations between them as he sat near Sinkevitch.

He said Sinkevitch was good at her job and was a diligent worker, adding she spoke about her child and how she was going through a custody dispute with the child’s father.

On the day of the murder, Daniels said Sinkevitch behaved normally in the morning. He said she mentioned that the father of the baby had to take paternity tests and said Sinkevitch joked about borrowing his baby for the DNA tests.

He said he went to lunch at noon the day of the murder, and Sinkevitch was not there when he got back a 1 p.m. He said she had an extended lunch that day, but he didn’t know when she did return. He also didn’t know when she left.

He thought she was probably gone a couple hours.

He said she was very quiet when she returned from lunch and was crying. Hopkins, he said, came over to talk with her.

Daniels said Sinkevitch had cried before at work but not often. He told the jury Sinkevitch just sat there and cried that afternoon, which was unusual behavior.

Kathryn Sinkevitch (PCSO)

 

A former co-worker of Kathryn Sinkevitch testified Monday overhearing her say “it would be better” if the victim in her first-degree murder trial “wasn’t around.”

Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Jared Cook, now living in Show Low, said he worked at the mortgage company where Sinkevitch was employed at the time of the murder. He was a loan processor but switched to join the support team and worked directly with her.

He told the jury he often heard Sinkevitch talking to her friend Bridget Hopkins about Agerter, the father of her child.

He said Sinkevitch would tell Hopkins, “It would be better if he wasn’t around.” He claimed the two had conversations like this almost daily and sometimes they appeared to be quite serious and it would “make him uncomfortable at times.”

He said he talked to Sinkevitch about shooting guns once at work, and Sinkevitch said she owned a gun.

The day of the murder, he recalled, Sinkevitch and Hopkins were talking a lot in the morning and then she was gone for a while. Cook said Sinkevitch didn’t say where she was going when she left for lunch but said she was gone “two or three hours.”

Cook added a normal lunch break was 30 minutes on a Friday because they were so busy “trying to get work done before the weekend.”

He said when she returned the afternoon of the murder, she was quiet, which was unusual for her.

 

9mm or 40-caliber? Prosecutors questioned witness over handgun in murder case.

 

A man who briefly dated murder suspect Kathryn Sinkevitch took the witness stand in the first-degree murder trial as it entered its fourth day Monday.

Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Nathan Trotter, of Surprise, said he met Sinkevitch on Plenty of Fish, an Internet dating website and application. After knowing each other online for about a week, in early November 2016 they met in person at a bowling alley. He said she had her infant child with her.

“We saw each other a few times after that,” he said.

They were just getting to know each other and were intimate, he told the jury. The relationship lasted until mid-December.

“It kind of fizzled out,” he said.

Trotter said Sinkevitch talked about the “father of her child” and said they were going through a custody battle. He said it affected his willingness to see her again after a while.

“It was a lot more drama than I was willing to get involved with,” he said.

They also talked about guns one day at her house. He said guns are “a hobby of his.” Trotter is also ex-military and was in the U.S. Army infantry.

The day he went to her house, he saw a pistol sitting on the living room coffee table when he entered her home. He picked it up and “cleared it” to make sure it was safe.

There was a round in the chamber and more bullets were in the magazine, he testified.

He said it was a “gray-colored, lower-end” handgun. He said it he believed it was a 9mm handgun, and he carries a 40-caliber handgun. When questioned by prosecutors, he said it could have been a 40-caliber gun.

Prosecutors have not located the murder weapon in this murder case, but it was determined to be a 40-caliber handgun.

Kathryn Sinkevitch (PCSO)

 

Monday, Kathryn Sinkevitch’s first-degree murder trial entered its fourth day with the testimony of Matthew St. Clair of the Phoenix Police Department Trace Evidence Section of the crime lab.

Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

St. Clair positively linked gunshot residue to two black hoodies found in vehicles investigators believe were used by Sinkevitch in the commission of the murder. St. Clair analyzes gunshot residue, foot prints and tire tracks, etc., for criminal investigations.

When analyzing gunshot residue, he examines compounds in the bullet’s primer. The primer creates an explosion and expels particles, which are left on hands, clothing and fabric. The compounds are unique to the primer.

“If we find these particles on hands, they have been using a firearm recently,” he said.

St. Clair tested one of the black hoodies in this case July 20, 2017. He sampled the left and right pocket, cuffs and sleeves of the hoodie to test.

He said he found numerous particles on the right and left side of the hoodie but only one “characteristic particle residue” that was directly linked to gunshot residue on the garment.

“This hoodie was in the vicinity of a firearm when it discharged or touched something with GSR on it,” since the hoodie’s last thorough cleaning, St. Clair said.

A second black hoodie was tested July 24, 2017. There were some residue particles on the right and left but not as many as on the other hoodie, St. Clair testified. It had similar particles on it.

Under cross examination, St. Clair said he can’t determine what type of gun left the residue and can’t determine caliber of the weapon. He admitted only “characteristic particle residue” directly linked to a gunshot was found on each hoodie.

Kathryn Sinkevitch (inset) is accused of murdering Michael Agerter at his home on Sagebrush Trail in 2016.

The second day of Kathryn Sinkevitch’s first-degree murder trial opened with the testimony of Maricopa Police Sgt. Daniel Rauch.

The day was filled with police officers telling the jury about their investigation into the murder of Michael Agerter. During testimony of a Maricopa Police detective, photographs of the murder victim were openly shared to the jury and the victim’s family.

Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016.

Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

The initial call of shots fired that day came across radio at 2:28 p.m. Police also were told about a white van leaving the murder scene. Rauch testified how he saw a white van at Honeycutt Road turning south on Hartman right after the call came in. He stopped the vehicle with two female occupants in it.

He said the van was stopped based on the description of the suspect van from the murder scene, and he didn’t believe the two women were involved in the shots-fired call.

He then went to the scene of the crime. He was part of the team who cleared the house.

Rauch said he observed at least one video camera on the outside of the house when he arrived at the scene and he noticed a digital video recorder during a search of the house.

He discovered the victim was involved in a custody issue with Sinkevitch during initial stages of the investigation.

Defense attorney Brett Huggins suddenly asked for a sidebar in chambers just 15 minutes into Rauch’s testimony, and Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin D. White removed jury. The court was recessed while attorneys from both sides talked.

The sidebar discussion was over linking the Bridgett Hopkins van to Sinkevitch via a license plate reader. The license plate reader linked a van belonging to Hopkins, Sinkevitch’s friend, to the area of the murder. Police believe the van was used in the murder and still have it in the impound lot.

Judge White placed a limit on the prosecution’s questions regarding the license plate reader.

After the jury was returned to the courtroom, Rauch said he got information about Hopkins’ van in Mesa and Sinkevitch’s cellphone information.

Police requested a pinging of her phone to find her from her cell phone provider. Sinkevitch was in Tempe, based on the pings, Rauch said. A team of law enforcement officers drove from Maricopa to Tempe to find Sinkevitch, but her location kept changing.

Sinkevitch was finally located in the area of Hopkins’ house in Mesa, based on the cellphone pings. Officers found Sinkevitch’s vehicle in Hopkins’ driveway, along with the van they believe to be used in the murder, Rauch said.

He said officers put together a plan to capture Sinkevitch in the house, as she was already a suspect at the time. Officers had their guns drawn but not aimed at the suspects when they came out of the house in Mesa, he testified.

Officers detained Sinkevitch to conduct an interview with her, and she was placed in a patrol car after being handcuffed, according to Rauch. She was in the vehicle “for a couple of hours” in handcuffs. She was then taken to the Maricopa Police Department for interrogation.

Rauch said additional search warrants were drafted a few days later to locate Sinkevitch after she was let go. At that point, she was wanted for the murder.

Detective Michael Dennison, a Maricopa Police detective for seven years, testified he was called to the murder scene about 10 minutes after the initial call came in.

He said Agerter was found dead of gunshot wounds. He was slumped over the wheel of his Lexus with the motor running in the garage of his house. Dennison also said Sinkevitch’s name came up as a potential suspect within 15 minutes during a background check of the victim.

Dennison was at the victim’s house for eight to nine hours investigating.

He said there was a DVR in the house, and he viewed the footage from four cameras set up around the house.

He explained the video showing a woman, wearing a hoodie, running in front of the house, into the garage, stay for 10 to 11 seconds and then leaving. The video also shows a white minivan drive away after the shooting.

He said the camera angles were from above and did not recorded the face of the person running into the garage.

He said two 40-caliber shell casings were found in the garage during the investigation.

Dennison said he later viewed an interview with Sinkevitch. She told police she was at work all day and didn’t even leave for lunch.

Dennison said surveillance video from her work contradicts Sinkevitch’s statements of not leaving the building. She is allegedly seen leaving at 12:30 or 12:45 and returning three hours later, about an hour after the murder occurred.

The video from the mortgage company where she worked was also used to get a search warrant of her apartment.

During a search, investigators didn’t find a shoe that fit a shoe print found at the murder scene. The shoes Sinkevitch had on when she was first arrested at Hopkins’ place were also examined. The pattern did not match the print found, but the shoe was the right size, he testified.

No shoes matching the print at the murder scene were found.

Dennison attended the victim’s autopsy, and then also examined data related to Sinkevitch’s cellphone. The data traces the cell phone as it moves.

Her cellphone’s historical data information showed Sinkevitch leaving from work at 12:30 the day of the murder, he said. It tracked her to a location near her apartment in just 15 minutes. It was at that location until 1:30 when the phone was apparently turned off. The data continues missing until 5 minutes before Sinkevitch returned to work at the mortgage company.

Police searched Sinkevitch’s vehicle and discovered two license plates that were not associated with her vehicle or Hopkins’ van. Dennison said the plates were from an area near Sinkevitch’s apartment but did not say if they were stolen.

Prosecutors showed images of the crime scene, including photos of the victim dead in the car. Dennison said two of three gunshots fired hit the victim. One round hit the pillar between the front and rear door. Family members began weeping when seeing the pictures.

Dennison said Sinkevitch’s cellphone disappeared from data collection at 1:13 p.m. that day. He testified that he drove suspected routes he believes Sinkevitch could have driven in the commission of the murder. He drove 27 miles from Sinkevitch’s apartment to Agerter’s house in 35 minutes. He left Sinkevitch apartment at 1:07 p.m. and arrived at 1:42 p.m. during the test on Jan. 12, 2017.

In another test, the following day, Dennison said he tried another route and made the trip in 45 minutes and it was 26 miles.

Dennison also made a test trip from the mortgage company where she worked to Sinkevitch’s house. He made the trip in 10 minutes. His test trips between the mortgage company and Agerter’s house took 47 minutes at 31.8 miles.

He said Sinkevitch was “very capable” of getting from work to her house to Agerter’s house and back to work during the time she left work on the day of the murder. Dennison said he never broke the posted speed limits on the roads he tested.

Dennison examined the ADOT traffic patterns on the day of the murder, and there were no recorded traffic problems on the routes during the timeframe involved.

Maricopa Police Detective Mario Palacios testified he arrived at the scene at 4:15 p.m. that day, and other detectives brought him up to speed.

He spoke with a potential witness in the neighborhood. He viewed the home security video and noted seeing a female walking up to the house wearing a dark hoodie and tan pants. She was gone for 10-11 seconds and was then seen leaving in a hurry on the video. He said part of a white van was visible across the street. When the van took off, he said, it is wasn’t possible to see who was in the van.

Prosecutors then showed the video to the jury.

Palacios said on the day Sinkevitch was arrested, he searched Hopkins white van and found a dark hoodie in the van.

Kyle Sobotik, Sinkevitch’s supervisor at the mortgage company, testified Sinkevitch worked for the support team, helping loan officers with problems.

He said Sinkevitch was a very good worker and he had no issues with her. He also said it was unusual for her to be gone for an extended time when she was supposed to be at work.

Sobotik said Sinkevitch “didn’t seem all with it” the Monday following the murder, which occurred on Friday. He said she “kind of looked like a ghost.”

He said he checked her emails from that Friday, the day of the murder, and found more than a two-hour gap, and “that wasn’t like Kathryn. It kind of stood out.”

He said she also didn’t clock out for lunch that day.

Under cross examination, Sobotik said he didn’t see anything “strange” on the day of the murder in the office but he added he wasn’t looking for it.

Roy Rankin, a co-worker of Sinkevitch, was a member of the sales support staff when the murder occurred.

On the day of the murder, Rankin said he sat next to Sinkevitch and said they interacted with each other all the time. He said she was very knowledgeable and kind of “carried the workload of the team.”

Rankin said Sinkevitch talked about her ex-boyfriend, Agerter, and the custody of the baby. She told Rankin that Agerter was getting a DNA test and added, “she wasn’t very happy about it.”

Rankin said Sinkevitch asked him if he knew anyone who had a baby she could borrow for the DNA tests. Later under cross examination he said she did not think she was joking and, “if I would have had a baby, I think she would have taken me up on it.”

Rankin said Sinkevitch was late back from lunch on the day of the murder and kept to herself after she got back. He said she was clearly distracted that afternoon.

At 5 p.m. when the office closed for the day, Sinkevitch left right away. He said she normally would stay and make sure all the work was done for the day.

The trial will reconvene Friday at 10:30 a.m.

MPD personnel at the scene of the crime in 2016.

 

Kathryn Sinkevitch is accused of murdering ex-boyfriend Michael Agerter in Maricopa.

The jury was seated Tuesday and opening arguments took place before Judge Kevin D. White Wednesday morning in Pinal County Superior Court in the first-degree murder trial of Kathryn Sinkevitch. 

Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately, but had an infant son together 

The 15-member jury, including alternatesis made up of eight women and seven men.  

After lunch, Maricopa Police officer Andy Leach described the murder scene to the jury and explained how officers cleared the house after finding Agerter’s body in his vehicle. He said one of the neighbors had multiple activations on their Ring doorbell and recorded video between 2 and 3 p.m. that day.  

The officer was emailed copies of the videos. One was recorded at 2:27 p.m. and when he was asked what it showed, Sinkevitch’s defense attorney Brett Huggins objected. Defense and prosecution attorneys went into chambers to discuss the objection away from the view of the jury.   

The objection was over the prosecutor asking if the video showed a white minivan driving in front of the neighbor’s house. White overruled the objection after the behindclosed-door discussion.  

The officer said he did see a white minivan on the video drive in front of the house at 2:27 p.m. Prosecutors believe Sinkevitch was driving that minivan. 

The prosecution team showed photographs of the murder scene to the jury and the location of several shell casings in the garage where Agerter was murdered. The photographs also showed a digital video recorder that was installed in the house. 

Huggins had no cross examination of the Maricopa Police officer for the defense. 

The prosecution also called Sarah Marie Cooley, who worked with Agerter at Wells Fargo. 

Cooley said she communicated via text with Agerter the morning he was murdered. She met him for lunch that day and arrived at his house at 11 a.m.  

They ate and talked a while and he told her he was going to have DNA tests that afternoon to determine if the child Sinkevitch gave birth to was his child. She said he seemed frightened of taking the medical tests.  

Cooley said she was supposed to meet up with him that evening and talk about the test. She also provided Sinkevitch’s name to officers at the scene of the murder as she went there when she couldn’t locate him. 

The defense had no cross-examination questions for Cooley. 

The next witness to take the stand was Maikayla Lyon, a neighbor. She told the jury she heard some gunshots the day of the murder 

I heard three loud bang, bang, bangs,” she said. 

After hearing the shots, she then saw a white van drive past in front of her house at a high rate of speed. She said the shots she heard clearly sounded like gunshots from a handgun. 

“I ran out to the street as the van flew by,” she said. 

She said the large side passenger door of the van was open and the inside of the van was dark. She tried to get the license plate number on the van, but it was going too fast. 

She also said she didn’t know the victim or the suspect in the case. 

Under cross examination, defense attorney Huggins got her to say it was a Ford or Chevy minivan she saw. The van police believe Sinkevitch used was a Chrysler. 

Under redirect questioning by prosecutors, the witness admitted she probably could not tell the difference between a Chevy, Ford, Chrysler or Honda minivan. 

Doug Schamberg, who oversees IT operations where Sinkevitch works, took the stand next 

He spoke about RFID badges, which employees use to enter the building, and the surveillance cameras in the building.  

Schamberg discussed company records detailing when Sinkevitch and Bridgette Hopkins were in the building based on the RFID badges opening security doors. He said there was also surveillance video recorded on the day of the murder showing Sinkevitch entering the building using a RFID badge at 3:20 p.m. but her badge was not the one used to open that door, according to the company’s computer system, at that time.  

His testimony indicated Sinkevitch was out of the building at the time of the murder that day and had ample time to return to the office in Tempe.  

Video footage from the surveillance camera at Agerter’s home showed a school bus driving past the house before a figure entered camera range from across the street. It was apparently a female in a hoodie that obscured her identity. 

The person left camera range by walking into the garage. A few moments later, the person left quickly, crossing the street and getting into a white caravan, which left the scene. 

The trial will resume Thursday morning and it is expected to continue through May 6.  

Kathryn Sinkevitch (PCSO)

Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin D. White decided the constitutional rights of murder suspect Kathryn Sinkevitch were not violated during the investigation to arrest her.

The decision comes down less than a week before her murder trial, which is set to begin on Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Florence.

Bret Huggins, attorney for Kathryn Sinkevitch, moved to suppress a phone call that police recorded in connection with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter in December 2016.

At an April 10 evidentiary hearing White listened to a defense motion to suppress an audio recording, claiming it was in violation of the suspect’s Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendment rights.

Sinkevitch is accused of shooting Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Judge White made several decisions at the evidentiary hearing on April 10, including precluding any reference to an abortion of the child the two had together and the victim’s drug use and toxicology reports as he did have a medical marijuana card.

White approved evidence in the case related to the defendant’s and victim’s relationship history, the defendant’s knowledge of the victim’s address by hiring a private investigator to find him, paternity tests and protection orders.

White also approved the defense council’s motion for 100 additional hours of a defense investigator’s time.

 

Kathryn Sinkevitch is accused of murdering ex-boyfriend Michael Agerter in Maricopa.

 

At a Wednesday evidentiary hearing in a Maricopa murder case, Pinal Superior Court Judge Kevin D. White listened to a defense motion to suppress an audio recording, claiming it was in violation of the suspect’s Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendment rights.

Bret Huggins, attorney for Kathryn Sinkevitch, moved to suppress a phone call that police recorded in connection with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter in December 2016.

White took the motion under advisement as Sinkevitch’s case is set for trial later this month

Sinkevitch is accused of shooting Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

March 4, Huggins motioned to suppress the audio recording between Sinkevitch and her friend after the murder.

“On Dec. 16, 2016, after work, Kathryn Sinkevitch was invited over to the home of her friend Bridget Hopkins,” Huggins wrote in his motion to suppress. “Bridget lived with her husband and children at a residence in Mesa… Kathryn arrived there and was visiting inside the home.

“Police surrounded the house and arrested Sinkevitch and locked her in the back seat of a patrol car.

“This activity by the police was not supported by either an arrest or search warrant from any court,” Huggins wrote in his motion.

Sinkevitch was taken to the Maricopa Police Department from Mesa and locked into an interrogation room with a video camera running for several hours, according to files.

About 2:30 a.m., according to the motion, Sinkevitch “told police she was tired and needed to sleep. The detectives pushed on. Detectives gave Kathryn her Miranda rights. Kathryn told the police clearly, ‘lawyer, I want a lawyer.’”

Huggins continued, “At no time did police take Kathryn to a magistrate in Maricopa County prior to removing her to Pinal County. At no time did police make any effort to get Kathryn a lawyer.”

According to the motion, Maricopa Police influenced her friend Hopkins into recording a telephone conversation between them by threatening “to charge her as an accomplice to the homicide” if she did not assist them.

“At the police direction, Bridget sent a message to Kathryn asking her to call back,” according to the motion. “When the requested return call came back, police directed Ms. Hopkins to answer on speaker as they recorded and monitored the conversation. Indeed, Bridget conducted the conversation as she had been directed by police to do, in order to obtain incriminating information against Kathryn.”

Huggins maintains that police obtaining this “incriminating information” in this manner was in violation of Sinkevitch’s rights after she made a request for counsel, and an attorney was not present when the conversation was recorded.

Huggins asked the court to conduct a voluntariness hearing as he challenges Sinkevitch’s willingness to give a statement to police. He accused the police of overreaching their authority by using her friend to conduct the questioning.

“In assessing voluntariness, the court must consider the totality of circumstances to determine whether the statements were or were not the product of a rational intellect and free will,” the motion reads.

According the Huggins, the court must decide if Miranda warnings were given and waived by Sinkevitch, in addition to proving that her statement to police was voluntary.

“When a person asks for counsel, police may not question him about any matter until an attorney is present. In this case, Ms. Sinkevitch requested counsel, yet she was not provided with a lawyer. Instead, police sought to get around the express request through subterfuge and buy (sic) using her friend,” Huggins’ motion to suppress reads.

Judge White made several decisions at the evidentiary hearing, including precluding any reference to an abortion of the child the two had together and the victim’s drug use and toxicology reports as he did have a medical marijuana card.

White approved evidence in the case related to the defendant’s and victim’s relationship history, the defendant’s knowledge of the victim’s address by hiring a private investigator to find him, paternity tests and protection orders.

White also approved the defense council’s motion for 100 additional hours of a defense investigator’s time.

The first-degree murder trial of Sinkevitch is scheduled to begin on April 23.

Marcos Martinez. (PCSO photo)

Marcos Martinez, 24, was found competent to stand trial on March 20, as Judge Lawrence Wharton found him mentally competent after reviewing Arizona State Hospital evaluation reports.

Martinez is accused of murdering his 62-year-old grandmother, Vicky Ten Hoven. She was found dead from multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma in her Maricopa home on Jan. 28, 2018.

Prosecutors have until May 31 to determine if they will seek the death penalty against Martinez.

He is scheduled to appear in Pinal County Superior Court on May 24 for a status review and he remains in the Pinal County Jail pending the posting of a million-dollar bond.

Kathryn Sinkevitch is accused of murdering ex-boyfriend Michael Agerter in Maricopa.

Attorneys for Kathryn Sinkevitch moved to suppress a phone call police recorded in connection with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter in December 2016.

Sinkevitch is accused of shooting Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately, but had an infant son together. Agerter was reportedly attempting to gain parental rights to the child, who was 1-month-old at the time of the murder.

March 4, defense attorney Bret Huggins motioned to suppress the recording, claiming it was in violation of Sinkevitch’s Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendment rights. Sinkevitch was initially taken into custody by U.S. Marshals.

“On Dec. 16, 2016, after work, Kathryn Sinkevitch was invited over to the home of her friend Bridget Hopkins,” Huggins wrote in his motion to suppress. “Bridget lived with her husband and children at a residence in Mesa… Kathryn arrived there and was visiting inside the home.

“Police surrounded the house and arrested Sinkevitch and locked her in the back seat of a patrol car.

“This activity by the police was not supported by either an arrest or search warrant from any court,” Huggins wrote in his motion.

Sinkevitch was taken to the Maricopa Police Department from Mesa and locked into an interrogation room with a video camera running for several hours according to the motion.

About 2:30 a.m., according to the motion, Sinkevitch “told police she was tired and needed to sleep. The detectives pushed on. Detectives gave Kathryn her Miranda rights. Kathryn told the police clearly, ‘lawyer, I want a lawyer.’”

Huggins continued, “At no time did police take Kathryn to a magistrate in Maricopa County prior to removing her to Pinal County. At no time did police make any effort to get Kathryn a lawyer.”

According to the motion, Maricopa Police influenced her friend Hopkins into recording a telephone conversation between them by threatening “to charge her as an accomplice to the homicide” if she did not assist them.

“At the police direction, Bridget sent a message to Kathryn asking her to call back,” according to the motion. “When the requested return call came back, police directed Ms. Hopkins to answer on speaker as they recorded and monitored the conversation. Indeed, Bridget conducted the conversation as she had been directed by police to do, in order to obtain incriminating information against Kathryn.”

Huggins maintains that police obtaining this “incriminating information” in this manner was in violation of Sinkevitch’s rights after she made a request for counsel, and an attorney was not present when the conversation was recorded.

Huggins asked the court to conduct a voluntariness hearing as he challenges Sinkevitch’s willingness to give a statement to police. He accused the police of overreaching their authority by using her friend to conduct the questioning.

“In assessing voluntariness, the court must consider the totality of circumstances to determine whether the statements were or were not the product of a rational intellect and free will,” the motion reads.

According the Huggins, the court must decide if Miranda warnings were given and waived by Sinkevitch, in addition to proving that her statement to police was voluntary.

“When a person asks for counsel, police may not question him about any matter until an attorney is present. In this case, Ms. Sinkevitch requested counsel, yet she was not provided with a lawyer. Instead, police sought to get around the express request through subterfuge and buy (sic) using her friend,” Huggins’ motion to suppress reads.

The attorney requested the court to hold an evidentiary hearing and to suppress the recording between Sinkevitch and Hopkins. The next hearing scheduled in Sinkevitch’s case is April 10.

Abdullatif Aldosary was recharged with a 2012 murder. PCSO photo

A man who stands accused of killing a former coworker in Maricopa was recharged with first-degree murder on Jan. 24.

Abdullatif Aldosary, 53, allegedly killed Orlando Requena, of Casa Grande, on Nov. 27, 2012, at a train-offloading area on Cowtown Road. Aldosary and Requena were coworkers at Arizona Grain, though they reportedly had not had contact for six months prior to the murder.

He is being held on a $1 million bond after his Friday arraignment.

Aldosary originally was charged in July 2013 with the first-degree murder of Requena and the Nov. 30, 2012, bombing of a Social Security building in Casa Grande, but those charges were dismissed earlier this month, along with a 2015 charge of attacking a corrections employee with bodily fluids.

In July 2018, state prosecutors moved to have him civilly committed to a mental institution. Aldosary was ordered to be evaluated at an inpatient treatment facility by Pinal County Superior Court Judge Joseph Georgini. An appeal was lodged in September.

In December, a special hearing was scheduled to evaluate Aldosary’s treatment after an appeals court determined that Georgini’s order forcing Aldosary to take medication was not proper. The hearing was cancelled just before the state motioned to drop Aldosary’s charges.

Charges against Aldosary were officially dismissed Jan. 14 without prejudice, giving prosecutors the ability to re-indict him in the future if he proved not to be a danger to himself or others.

Jan. 16, Aldosary was again indicted by a Pinal County grand jury on three charges, the first-degree murder of Requena, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against Jesse Montijo and misconduct involving a weapon by a prohibited possessor.

In 2014, Aldosary was found guilty in federal court of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and was sentenced to five years in a federal prison.

He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 6 and remains in Pinal County Adult Detention.

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

Jose Valenzuela stands accused of two counts of first-degree murder for the June 21, 2015, shooting deaths of Tina and Michael Careccia.

The trial for Valenzuela, 40, is set to begin April 24, but both sides are scheduled to sit down for a Jan. 24 settlement conference in an attempt to work out a plea agreement. It is a death-penalty case. Pinal County Superior Judge Christopher J. O’Neil said Monday, during a status hearing, he had expectations that some orders may need to be entered to allow some witness interviews.

At issue are defense interviews with Valenzuela’s wife and son.

Defense attorney Bobbi Falduto said she believes Gary Husk, special prosecutor in the case, had a stand of “wait and see how it goes” in the settlement conference before allowing defense attorneys to interview the family members. An attorney for the son told O’Neil she thought it was best not to interview the son in the event the settlement conference was successful.

“The state is not aware of any circumstance whereby the minor child or his mother has declined to be interviewed. An order at this point would be a bit premature,” Husk said.

O’Neil suggested Husk go ahead and arrange the interview with the child, but Falduto did not agree, saying the mother and the child are state witnesses.

“However, they are potentially mitigation witnesses – this is a capital trial – for us,” Falduto said. “There are some factual issues that we would have to ask both witnesses. Mr. Husk has asked to be present … however in our interest we have a constitutional duty to do everything we can to avoid a death penalty … We need to conduct an accurate investigation … In order to do that, we have to do it unfettered by not having the state present during this interview.”

She said it does not matter who arranges the interview. She said the mother has refused an interview with her and they have specifically avoided talking to her defendant’s son.

“So that we wouldn’t be involved in any type of a tainting,” she said. “Our side, the defense team, has the constitutional right to do that.”

Husk objected to the idea.

“There is no place in the rules that allow for defense to have independent interviews of the state witness. I think it is very telling that the mother of the child has refused to be interviewed,” Husk said.

Again, O’Neil directed Husk to arrange the interviews for the state with the mother and son. The judge also said the interviews should focus on the factual issues of the case and that both sides be present.

O’Neil said if there is no plea arrangement reached at the Jan. 24 conference, both parties should meet and confer if any follow up interviews are necessary.

If they cannot agree on additional interviews, he asked the attorneys to bring the matter to the attention of the court by filing briefs. O’Neil also ordered that the son’s name be redacted from any court document, transcript or record.

As things were winding down Monday, suddenly Falduto said she had concerns with the number of times attorneys from the prosecution have spoken with the son, a minor child.

“Psychologists indicate that multiple meetings on an issue like this with a minor child could lead to the possibility of a tainting that witness and the facts as they remember them,” Falduto said. “It seems to be some discourse if it is two or three (meetings) or five or six. I would like to have the documentation of when those meetings were, if we can’t find out what happened during those meetings.”

Husk objected immediately saying there are no records and there is no information to share. He said it was just part of the investigation.

“Counsel is now asking the state to produce documents that don’t exist,” Husk said.

Three more times Falduto asked the court to determine if the son is a tainted witness because he talked to members of the state prosecution team on many occasions.

Husk told the court Falduto, “was all over the map on this allegation” and he called it a “fishing expedition.”

O’Neil denied Falduto’s request and reminded attorneys of the Jan. 24 settlement conference and scheduled a status hearing for Feb. 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Arthur Eric Magana (PCSO photo)

 

It took less than one hour Monday for a Pinal County jury to find Arthur Eric Magaña guilty of killing 20-year-old Wyatt Miller.

Magana was convicted of first-degree murder after shooting Miller 11 times in the back of the head and neck on Nov. 7, 2016. The jury also found Magaña guilty of armed robbery as Miller was killed during the theft of four ounces of marijuana.

Magaña, now 18, is accused of killing Miller inside his truck. The alleged murder took place in a rural area of Maricopa, according to court testimony.

Magaña was just 16 years old at the time of the murder but is charged as an adult due to the gruesome nature of the murder.

Magaña’s murder and armed robbery trial began Wednesday and was handed to the nine-woman, three-man jury Monday afternoon just after 2 p.m. The jury took under an hour to return the guilty verdicts. 

The jury was brought back into the courtroom at 3:45 p.m. to hear sentencing instructions and decide Magaña’s fate in the second phase of the trial.

Judge Kevin White said the jury will only determine the aggravated circumstances and not Magaña’s sentence. White will be the one to determine the 18-year-old’s sentence.

The state called two witnesses in the second phase of the trial including Maxine Medlock, Wyatt Miller’s mother.

“I’m not sure where to begin. Wyatt was the love of my life. He had such a good spirit. A loss of a child is so painful. The pain never goes away. Wyatt had his whole life ahead of him… I’m upset I have to live the rest of my life without him,” she said.

The state also called Travis Miller, Wyatt’s father. “We, as parents, aren’t supposed to bury our children,” he said. “My life has changed 180 degrees.”

The defense called no witnesses in the second phase.

The jury left the courtroom at 4:15 to determine if the first-degree murder charge would be enhanced due to aggravating circumstances. Attorneys were told to wait in the hallway as the jury decided.

The jury returned at 4:46 to hand down their aggravating circumstances endorsement.

Magana’s fate then rested in the hands of Judge White. He ordered Magaña held without bond and set sentencing for Dec. 17.

 

Arthur Eric Magana (PCSO photo)

Closing arguments began in Arthur Magaña’s murder trial Monday afternoon in Pinal County Superior Court, and the jury began deliberation within an hour.

Magaña, 18, is accused of killing 20-year-old Wyatt Miller by shooting him 11 times inside his truck on Nov. 7, 2016.

The alleged murder took place in a rural area of Maricopa during the theft of four ounces of marijuana, according to court testimony. Magaña was just 16 years old at the time of the murder but is charged as an adult due to the gruesome nature of the murder.

Magaña’s murder and armed robbery trial began Wednesday and was handed to the nine-woman, three-man jury Monday afternoon just after 2 p.m.

State opened closing arguments.

“What is the value of a life,” said prosecutor Patrick Johnson. “For this defendant, life is cheap. It was just the cost of doing business.”

Gustavo Olivo was also involved in the crime and has already pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and armed robbery.

“He (Magaña) fired 11 rounds into the back of his head, and Wyatt didn’t even see it coming. He took the cowards way out and never gave him a chance,” Johnson said in closing arguments.

Officers trained in tracking followed footprints to a house where the defendants were located, according to Johnson.

“They made it pretty easy for them… They led officers right to themselves,” Johnson told the jury.

Investigators smelled marijuana after entering the house and found the four ounces of marijuana, allegedly taken from Miller. More evidence was found in the freezer and their shoes matched the prints. Blood was also found on their shoes, according to Johnson.

“This isn’t a self-defense case,” Johnson said. “This is not a case where someone has no other choice but to use lethal force.”

Johnson said the 9mm semi-automatic HK handgun used in the murder was purchased by Magaña’s mother. He added that blood on Magana’s clothing matched Miller’s DNA.

“He never realized he had Wyatt Miller’s blood on him,” Johnson told the jury.

Johnson called the crime a planned armed robbery and execution.

“His body tells you what happened. Of the 11 wounds, not one was in the face. Wyatt Miller never saw it coming,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Magana also bragged about the murder and “was proud of what he did. He was the one who pulled the trigger 11 times and killed Wyatt Miller… Not only killed him he executed him…it was a cowardly execution.”

Defense attorney David Gregan reviewed the “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” statute with the jury. He said Olivo and Miller knew each other, and that Olivo is the one who went around the vehicle and grabbed the marijuana after the alleged murder took place.

“The state wants to convince you that this was a planned robbery,” Gregan said. “But that’s not the case.”

He said it wasn’t a planned robbery because they didn’t take everything and didn’t have a plan of escape from the scene.

“The evidence you saw at trial dictated that something happened out there,” Gregan said.

Gregan told the jury to realize Magaña was just 16 years old at the time and was defending himself.

“Something happened out there before the shooting. What it was, we do not know… no one knows for sure,” Gregan said.

Gregan said there was a second 9mm gun inside the vehicle that was not tested by investigators. The untested gun raised uncertainty, according to Gregan.

During the State’s rebuttal, Johnson said, “We know exactly what happened before the shooting because he (Magaña) told us… He executed him by shooting him in the back of the head 11 times.”

Johnson said the two made posts on Facebook before the incident indicating this was a planned armed robbery and Magaña bragged about the murder on videotape while in custody.

Johnson called Magaña the mastermind behind the armed robbery and execution and that Miller’s life had value and meaning even if he was a drug dealer.

“Wyatt Miller’s life had more value than four ounces of marijuana,” said Johnson.

Judge Kevin D. White read jury instructions and sent the jury to begin deliberations on the two charges, first-degree murder and armed robbery.

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.

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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miguel Figueroa. PCSO photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shawn Main. PCSO photo

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Medical examiner testifies in homicide of Maricopa toddler

Homicide detective testifies in death of 3-year-old

 

Miguel Figueroa. PCSO photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Marcos Martinez is accused of the brutal murder of Vicky Ten Hoven. (photos PCSO/Facebook)

The man accused of killing his grandmother earlier this year will undergo a mental examination to determine his competency to stand trial.

Pinal County Superior Court Judge Dwight Callahan ordered Marcos Jerell Martinez to a “full Rule 11 examination” in court Wednesday morning.

Martinez, with a full beard and long hair, appeared in a brown jumpsuit for his hearing May 2, but his cooperation with counsel has apparently been an issue.

Callahan recently approved a motion by the defense team to visit with their client at the door of his jail cell after concerns were filed that Martinez repeatedly “denies or refuses” to meet with attorneys, according to court documents filed in April.

The first-degree murder suspect submitted to a rule 11 pre-screening in March where a doctor recommended a full examination.

The state and the public defender’s office both nominated psychologists to fulfill the order.

Those results are expected to be reviewed in court June 27 at 9 a.m.

After the mental examination review hearing this summer, attorneys for Martinez are expected to file a motion to remand the case to a second grand jury for a new probable cause determination.

A grand jury indicted Martinez in February of premediated first-degree murder, punishable by death or life in prison, after the Maricopa Police Department forwarded additional charges of tampering with evidence and unlawful use of means of transportation in the same case. Martinez is held in the Pinal County Detention Center on a $1 million secured bond.

Martinez stands accused in the Jan. 28 blunt-force trauma death of Vicky Ten Hoven in Rancho El Dorado.


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.