Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

In a recent murder case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant successfully appealed his guilty conviction and moved for a new trial. According to the defendant, the trial court made a mistake when it failed to instruct the jury that he was eligible for a certain kind of defense applying to those who act violently in the hopes of preventing a crime from occurring. In the absence of this instruction, said the defendant, his trial was incomplete and unfair. The court of appeals agreed that the defendant was eligible for the crime prevention instruction and reversed the conviction.

Facts of the Case

The defendant shot a man in June 2017 after having heard from others in the community that the man wanted to kill him. A few days before the shooting, the defendant confronted the man about these statements, and the man punched the defendant in the nose with a sharp object.

On the night in question, the man found the defendant in a residential neighborhood. The two individuals began arguing, and the man threatened the defendant by saying, “next time you pull a gun on me, you better shoot me.” The men angrily left the altercation, but the man approached the defendant again a few hours later. The man swelled out his chest, again verbally threatening the defendant. The defendant immediately shot the man once with a shotgun he had in his truck. The man later died from the wound.

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In a recent opinion written by an Arizona appellate court, a defendant appealed a lower court’s denial of his to suppress the physical evidence found in his backpack after a murder. The appellate court affirmed the denial of his motion to suppress, finding that the defendant’s Fourth Amendment protections were not violated since the backpack search was a routine inventory search and that the evidence would have been inevitably found because of a warrant filed by police.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was found with a bloody knife, a store receipt, and a cell phone, which linked him to the murder of a store worker who was attacked in the store’s parking lot after refusing to hand over his car keys. The defendant argued that he acted out of self-defense at a bus station, but the DNA on the bloody knife and on the defendant’s clothes belonged to the store worker and no disturbance was reported at a bus station that night. Surveillance video showed the defendant getting out of the stolen vehicle to enter a store about an hour after the store worker was killed.

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