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Category Archives: 63-65 Homicide Victories

NOT CHARGED | VEHICULAR HOMICIDE/VEHICULAR AGGRAVATED ASSAULT NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. S. (DMC No. 7422) (Peoria Police Department Investigated): Mr. S. was accused of exiting a private drive and striking a second vehicle that was travelling at a high rate of speed.  The passenger in the second vehicle was treated for injuries, flown to the hospital and later died.  Mr. S. was subsequently investigated for DUI due to unsteadiness on his feet and an odor of alcohol.  During the pendency of a civil lawsuit, filed by the decedent’s family, we were able to show that Mr. S. had been blocked by a fence from having a clean view of the street he was pulling onto.  In addition, we were able to show that the victim’s vehicle did not have its headlights on.  This was done by examining the filaments of the broken headlights.  Because they were not burned out, this proved that they were not actually “on” at the time of the accident.  Ultimately no criminal charges were brought against Mr. S.   He was originally facing potentially Manslaughter/Negligent Homicide charges along with Aggravated Assault Dangerous charges.  He could have spent decades in prison.

 

NOT CHARGED/REDUCED | VEHICULAR 2ND DEGREE MURDER NOT CHARGED/MANSLAUGHTER and AGGRAVATED ASSAULT (dangerous) REDUCED to NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE (non dangerous) with 1 YEAR in PRISON (7 months of actual time) – State v. Mr. F. (DMC No. 11880) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2011-007282): Mr. F. was travelling on the southbound 101 in Scottsdale when another vehicle engaged an SUV in “road rage” in front of him. The original vehicle slammed on its brakes, causing Mr. F. to swerve to the right, striking the SUV. The SUV flipped and the driver subsequently died at the scene. The original vehicle took off and was designated a “phantom vehicle” by Mr. F. and several witnesses. During the course of the investigation, Mr. F. was discovered to have marijuana and a pipe on his possession. He admitted to smoking marijuana hours earlier. Blood was drawn which was revealed the presence both “active” and “inactive” marijuana metabolites. We submitted various documentation to the County Attorney’s Office and Attorney General’s Office before the case went to Grand Jury. They were originally seeking 2nd Degree Murder charges, but the Grand Jury only returned charges based on Manslaughter. During the course of vigorously defending the case, we had the County Attorney’s Office removed for “conflict”, and the Attorney General’s Office took over the case. We eventually negotiated a reduced plea to Negligent Homicide (Non Dangerous), with a stipulated 1 year in DOC. The actual amount time that Mr. F. will spend in prison is only 7 months. He was originally facing a potential 10 to 22 years on the 2nd Degree Murder and 7 to 21 years on the Manslaughter.

NOT CHARGED/REDUCED | FELONY MANSLAUGHTER NOT CHARGED/MISDEMEANOR MANSLAUGHTER REDUCED to PROBATION with 100 HOURS of COMMUNITY SERVICE – State v. Ms. R. (DMC No. 6107) (West Mesa Justice Court CT2006-002295/Salt River Police Department DR2005-06294): Ms. R. had been driving near McKellips & Alma School Road in Mesa, when she made a u-turn. Another vehicle had been coming through the intersection and struck her. The driver of that vehicle died. As police contacted her, she had indicated she had drank 3 ounces of wine several hours prior, and had taken some prescription medication two days earlier. They subsequently had her sign a contract that voluntarily give blood, and we then became involved. We were able to prove with an “accident reconstruction” and blood analysis that she was not impaired, and that the accident was not her fault. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to file the felony manslaughter charge. She was, however, charged with “misdemeanor manslaughter”. We were able to have that reduced to 100 hours of community service. She was originally facing 7 to 21 years in prison, and ended up with no felony on her record and not having to do jail time.

4 COUNTS of AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DANGEROUS DISMISSED and 1 COUNT of SECOND DEGREE MURDER REDUCED to MANSLAUGHTER with 10.5 YEARS in PRISON – State v. Mr. B. (DMC No. 4121) (Maricopa County Superior Court 2012-017982): Mr. B. and his friends had issues with another group of people regarding a laptop computer. The other group of people came over to Mr. B.’s house were pounding on the door and broke a window. As they were driving away, Mr. B. fired a gun at the car and struck and killed a female passenger (who was a mother of a small child). The other four people in the car were alleged victims of aggravated assault dangerous. Mr. B. was facing a potential of 82 years in prison, and we were able to convince the Prosecutor to drop the 4 counts of aggravated assault dangerous and reduce the second degree murder to manslaughter. He was sentenced to the presumptive term of 10.5 years in prison, in which Mr. B. was released after 9 years (for good behavior).

REDUCED | 2 COUNTS of SECOND DEGREE MURDER and 1 COUNT of AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DANGEROUS REDUCED to AGGRAVATED ASSAULT NON DANGEROUS with 4.5 YEARS of PRISON – State v. Mr. M. (DMC No. 7863) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2006-009509): Mr. M. and two other friends were challenging another car to a drag race on the I-17. Mr. M. was in the passenger seat, and when both cars got side to side, Mr. M. hung out of the window with a baseball bat and struck the other car. After he got back into the car as both vehicles were travelling 100 mph, they collided. The other vehicle went off the roadway and two of the three passengers were killed. Mr. M. was subsequently charged with 2 counts of second degree murder and 1 count of aggravated assault dangerous. We were able to convince the Prosecutor, by using an accident reconstruction expert, that Mr. M. was not the causal factor in the crash. In exchange for dismissing both counts of second degree murder and reducing the aggravated assault dangerous to a non dangerous, we secured an open range offer in which Mr. M. was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. He was originally facing a potential of 59 years in prison.

REDUCED | MISDEMEANOR VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER (A.R.S. 28-672) REDUCED to probation with zero days in jail – State v. Mr. R. (DMC No. 10402) (Surprise Municipal Court TR11-00425): Mr. R. made a left hand turn in front of a vehicle that contained two passengers.  A 93 year old woman died due as a result of that collision.  Mr. R. was cited under ARS 28-672 “causing death due to a moving violation”, and faced up to 6 months in jail.  Although witnesses claimed it was Mr. R.’s fault, we were able to show the prosecutor that it may have been the other driver’s fault.  Ultimately, they offered a plea with restitution and 160 hours of community service with no jail time.

FIRST DEGREE MURDER (2 Counts) REDUCED to Second Degree Murder – State v. Mr. B. (DMC No. 7131) (Maricopa County Superior Court No. CR2005-141941): Mr. B. and 2 others went to the home of a methamphetamine dealer and his girlfriend under the rouse of borrowing some items. Once they were there, they robbed the 2 victims at gunpoint and shot them. Although Mr. B. was initially facing the Death Penalty, we were able to convince the State to not seek death with our first degree murder defense. We were also able to raise some defenses in the case which resulted in securing a plea to 2 Counts of Second Degree Murder with a sentence of 13 years on each count. Although Mr. B. admitted to being the shooter and firing 12 rounds of ammunition, there were still some significant questions as to the reliability of his confession. Even without death being on the table, most people convicted in Arizona of a double homicide are given a minimum of a natural life sentence, whereas Mr. B. will be free at age 44.

NOT CHARGED | MURDER –  Mr. C. had been in alleged dispute with a competing rap artist when that individual was found stabbed to death inside his car at a local mall. Various people indicated that the most likely person to have done this was Mr. C. We contacted the detective (who had been very harassing to our client), and indicated that he was not to speak with Mr. C. anymore as he was invoking his 5th Amendment Rights. Over the years, detectives have executed various warrants for hair, saliva and blood samples. None of these have ever revealed any evidence that Mr. C. was involved in this murder. He has never been charged with any crime.

Location – Tempe Police Department

(Gila County Superior Court No. 97-675CR): Mr. A. and numerous co-defendants were charged with meeting the victim at a casino and then going back to his residence where they shot to death with a shotgun and robbed him. We were able to present numerous issues showing that Mr. A. did not know this crime was going to turn into a homicide. Additionally, the State’s physical evidence fell apart when they were attempting to match a footprint on a door to Mr. A. We eventually negotiated a plea agreement to Burglary with 3.5 years in prison. The shooter received 25 years to life.

REDUCED | Vehicular Manslaughter and Aggravated Assault Ms. C was accused of traveling 80 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone with barbiturates in her system when an accident occurred taking the lives of two people and injuring three others. We were able to show that there was a faulty drug analysis and were not barbiturates in her system. In addition, by performing an accident reconstruction, along with analyzing the “black box” (data recorder) in her vehicle, we proved that her speed was not 80 miles per hour. After numerous plea negotiations we finally obtained a plea for Negligent Homicide, which involved probation and two years of jail (with work release). Her original exposure was as high as 42 years in prison.

Maricopa County Superior Court No. CR2004-014836

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