Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

In a recent Arizona murder case, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his conviction and sentencing for second-degree murder. In the appeal, the defendant argued on many counts, challenging the lower court decision through the Arizona separation-of-powers doctrine, disputing evidence introduced at trial, filing motions to suppress evidence, disputing jury instructions, and arguing that his sentencing was also improper. The appeals court denied his appeals and affirmed both his conviction and his sentence.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion in May of 2015, the defendant, a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, lived with his wife and twenty-month-old step-daughter at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma. On May 18, his wife spent time playing with the daughter, and neither she nor their neighbor observed any injuries on her. Photographs taken by the defendant’s wife that day also do not reveal any evidence of injuries to her daughter. That night when the defendant picked up his wife, she was upset that he did not bring her daughter because she did not like leaving her daughter alone. The defendant told her during the ride home that he had spanked the daughter because she had been misbehaving. When they arrived home, the defendant’s wife went directly to bed, while the defendant checked in on the daughter before going to sleep.

The next morning, when the wife went in to see her daughter after the defendant had left for work, she found her “laying halfway off the bed with her head on the floor.” Her daughter’s body was cold and stiff. She saw marks that resembled burns and called 911. When paramedics arrived on the scene they were unable to resuscitate the daughter, who had no pulse. She was then transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. The defendant was subsequently interviewed and investigated by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents as well as the Yuma Police Department. During his interviews with the NCIS agents, the defendant made several incriminating statements and signed a waiver relieving them of the need to advise him of his constitutional rights.

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Late last month, an Arizona Court of Appeals ruled on a defendant’s appeal of his conviction for aggravated assault against a police officer. In writing its decision, the court considered the defendant’s argument that his trial result should be overturned due to unfair testimony offered by a police officer on the stand. Ultimately, the court disagreed with the defendant’s contentions, and the original verdict was affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police were responding to a report of theft in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store when they spotted the defendant in this case. The defendant matched the description of the suspect they were looking for, so they approached him to investigate the situation. As soon as the officers approached, the defendant began running away, at which point one officer took the defendant by the arm and reached for his handcuffs.

Subsequently, the defendant swung his elbow back towards the officer and pushed the officer away. The officer fell to the ground, and the defendant continued to run. The officer was later treated at the hospital and diagnosed with a head injury as a result of the incident.

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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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