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November 2011 Archives

Valley Father and Son Bust Alleged Child Porn Suspect on Flight

Glendale father Kurt Wade's quick-thinking on a flight from Salt Lake City to Boston and his son's assistance may have helped authorities arrest a suspected child pornography user, reports azfamily.com

Wade reportedly saw fellow passenger Grant Smith looking at pornographic pictures of young girls on his laptop during the flight. Instead of ignoring or questioning what he saw, however, Wade sprung into action - snapping a picture of Smith's laptop, alerting flight attendants, and sending the photo to his son in Phoenix and authorities in Boston.

Boyfriend Found Guilty of Murdering Jamie Laiaddee

Despite no body and little physical evidence, Chandler resident Rick Valentini was found guilty of second-degree murder and fraud in the case of missing girlfriend Jaime Laiaddee, reports The Arizona Republic.

The jury announced the verdict on Wednesday after nearly four hours of deliberation.

Laiaddee was last seen in March 2010 but was not reported missing until May. At the time of her disappearance, her boyfriend claimed that she had moved to Colorado to find a new job. Since March, however, she has not made any phone calls or bank transactions and has not sent any texts or emails.

Drug Charges Modified Against Ex-NBA Player Samaki Walker

Former NBA journeyman Samaki Walker got a break in his drug possession case when prosecutors modified charges against him on Friday, reports the Daily Miner.

Walker was originally arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and prescription drugs and destruction of evidence in Kingman, in July. Walker had spent 10 years in the NBA playing for teams in San Antonio, Los Angeles and Miami, but he has no known ties to Mohave County. It was not known at the time of his arrest why he was in the area.

Police: Kingman Father Ran Over, Killed Daughter's Boyfriend

Many young women know what it’s like to have an overprotective father. And many young men know what it’s like to be dating women with those overprotective fathers. For 47-year-old Kingman father Michael Anthony Rivera, however, it probably wasn’t a case of over-protectiveness that made him run over his daughter’s boyfriend, instantly killing him.

Rivera was charged with first-degree murder on Monday after police say he ran over and killed 21-year-old Nickolaus A. Gerencser Jr., according to the Daily Miner. Gerencser was reportedly hit so hard that one of his shoes flew off more than 30 feet away.

Tucson Retailers Post Facebook Photos of Suspected Shoplifters

For local businesses, the holiday season means more customers, longer hours, and the increased threat of shoplifters. But petty thieves beware: store owners are turning to the Internet to help track you down. Frustrated Tucson retailers, for example, have gone on the offensive against would-be thieves and have taken to social media sites like Facebook to assist in their capture, reports the Associated Press.

Industrious retailers have begun posting photos of suspected shoplifters in the hope that someone will recognize them.

Boutique-owner Lauren Baker began posting still photos from surveillance videos in one of her store’s Facebook albums called the “Wall of Shame,” according to The Republic.

Holiday Safety Tips: 'Tis the Season to Be Merry and Safe

The holiday season is our favorite time of the year, but we know it's not all merry and bright. There are would-be Grinches out there ready to make your holiday a not-so-jolly one. Luckily, the Phoenix Police Department has released a few tips to keep you safe and content this year. It's better to be nice than naughty:

Holiday Shopping:

Black Friday aside, holiday shopping can be a dangerous venture in general. To make sure your outdoor shopping experience is a pleasant one, follow these tips:

James Ray Sentenced to Prison for Sweat Lodge Deaths

A little more than two years after three people died from suffocating in a sweat lodge during a "Spiritual Warrior" retreat, the retreat's leader, James Ray, has been sentenced to prison for his role in the sweat lodge deaths, reports The Arizona Republic.

Ray, who was found guilty on three counts of negligent homicide in June, was given two-year sentences in prison for each count. However, the two-year sentences will be served concurrently. Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow told the courtroom that he thought probation should not be awarded given "the aggravating circumstances of emotional harm," according to The Republic.

Suspected Sword Stabbing, Chandler Woman Arrested for Assault

Chandler woman Pamela Haas has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault after she allegedly stabbed her husband with a sword during an argument, reports ABC15 News.

Haas maintains that she only stabbed her husband, Louis, to protect herself. Pamela reportedly told police that her husband had punched her several times in the head and stomach before she grabbed the mounted sword. She then stabbed him in the arm.

Peoria Registered Sex Offender Tied to Child Prostitution

A Peoria man who is reportedly a registered sex offender on probation was arrested on Tuesday on child prostitution allegations, reports The Arizona Republic.

Al Maurice O’Neil is accused of pimping out a 14-year-old girl for more than a month. The 32-year-old was arrested on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor, child prostitution and misconduct involving weapons. He is being held without bond.

O’Neil allegedly found the girl through a third party and forced her to prostitute herself at a Phoenix apartment. She was also allegedly taken to Las Vegas by 28-year-old Tiffany Burt for prostitution purposes.

'Don't Tase Me Bro': Controversy Over Scottsdale's Taser Continues

It’s been more than four years since a University of Florida student gained infamy with four immortal words: “Don’t tase me, bro!” before being tasered by university police. Yet, the controversy over allegedly Taser-happy police lives on.

A new study on police overuse of Tasers and news media reports investigating the stun gun’s use are keeping Scottsdale’s TASER International Inc. under the spotlight, reports CBS News.

A recently-released National Institute of Justice study found that some police are resorting to their Tasers to subdue suspects “way too fast.” The report spurred investigations by news programs “60 Minutes” and “Nightline” into the use of the stun guns by officers.

Avoiding Road Rage this Holiday Season

‘Tis getting to be the season to be merry. Well, unless you are stuck in traffic and the jerk in the Mercedes just cut you off.

With the holidays approaching, there will likely be more traffic on the road and more stress from holiday festivities. Drivers should be cautious about the potential damage holiday road rage can bring. As the recent shooting of a man by a Scottsdale criminal attorney reveals, it could lead to deadly actions.

David Appleton may make his career defending suspects as a criminal attorney, but he may not be able to defend himself after authorities arrested him for second degree murder. Authorities say Appleton shot 50-year-old Paul Pearson in a road-rage driven shooting, reports the ABA Journal.

Game and Fish Worker Arrested in Underage Sex Bust

A 45-year-old former Game and Fish Department employee from Payson was allegedly caught attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl over the Internet during an underage sex bust, reports The Arizona Republic.

Authorities from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office say Travis Foster believed he has been chatting with a 13-year-old girl since early August. Detectives have been monitoring his conversations with the decoy. Foster allegedly went into explicit detail with the fake teen about the sexual acts he would like to perform, as well as exposing his genitals on a live webcam.

Warning: Growing Cold Could Equal Growing Car Thefts

With temperatures predicted to drop into the 60s over the next couple of weeks, Phoenicians who hate the cold may be tempted to wait inside their homes while they warm their cars up before jumping into the ice boxes. However, with the decrease in temperatures comes an increase in car thefts, most likely due to unattended idling cars, reports ABC15 News.

Flagstaff police are warning Arizonans in general to not let their cars become easy targets. Every year, they see a spike in car thefts around the winter season. In the current year alone, 19 cars have been swiped since temperatures began dropping in the past two months. Oftentimes, victims only let their guard down for only a moment.

"[They] run in, grab a cup of coffee, and by the time they come back out, they are holding a cup of coffee in their hand, but no vehicle," a Flagstaff police officer told ABC15.

Marijuana Worth $1.5m Found in Watermelon Pot Bust

You may have heard about pot brownies before, but you probably never heard about a pot watermelon.

Customs and Border Protection officers say they found 3,000 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $1.5 million in a shipment of watermelons on Monday, reports azfamily.com.

Authorities say a 44-year-old Mexican man driving a Volvo truck was trying to get the shipment into the United States through the Mariposa Commercial Port. Unfortunately for the man, the truck was subjected to an X-ray examination which noticed an anomaly in the shipment. After a more thorough inspection, officers discovered 128 bundles of a different kind of green plant.

'Dream Girls' Strippers Involved in Mary Jane Business?

Stripping must not be a lucrative business in Bullhead City. Several "Dream Girls" strippers and the manager of the club were arrested on suspicion of selling marijuana at the business, reports The Arizona Republic.

Bullhead City Police Department officers claim manager Mohammed Omar Mahfouz was selling marijuana from his vehicle that was parked outside of the club. During a search of the vehicle, authorities reportedly discovered marijuana, a digital scale and a handgun. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, sales of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and misconduct involving weapons, according to police.

AZ Parents into Illegal Chicken Pox Parties and Mail Order Diseases?

Medical and law enforcement authorities are becoming increasingly concerned with a Facebook trend involving parents, chicken pox parties and mail order diseases, according to KPHO.

Parents in certain states, including Arizona, are reportedly connecting with each other through the social media site to obtain live viruses to infect their children with instead of resorting to vaccines. In addition to chicken pox, some members were reportedly searching for samples of measles, mumps and rubella. The viruses are reportedly sent through the mail by parents who send their infected children’s saliva, used lollipops and clothing.

Prescott Valley Man Allegedly Robbed for Friend's Bail

If you know someone who has been arrested for a crime, the next steps are fairly standard: booking, bail determination, and if he or she qualifies, posting bail. There are many right ways to help a friend post bail, but there's one very wrong way to do it - committing a crime to help pay for it.

As unbelievable as the motive sounds, police say they arrested a Prescott Valley man for allegedly robbing and assaulting two men for the money to bail his friend out of jail, reports ABC15 News.

Both victims and witnesses report that 31-year-old Brandon Abraham physically assaulted and attempted to rob them of $600 in cash and valuables. However, Prescott Valley police responded in time to catch the suspect. The police report stated that Abraham needed the money and items for bail for his friend.

Prescott Track Coach Guilty of Sex with a Minor, Probation Likely

A one-time volunteer track coach at a Prescott high school pleaded guilty to sexual conduct with a minor and aggravated assault on Monday, reports The Daily Courier. Due to a plea deal with prosecutors, however, he will likely get three years’ probation in exchange for his guilty plea.

Elisha Humes, a former Chino Valley High School track coach, allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student. The amorous couple was caught having sex in his car by a Prescott police officer patrolling Heritage Park in March.

“The sexual activity between Humes and the girl appears to have been going on for a couple of weeks,” Prescott Police spokesman Lt. Tim Fletcher said.

St. Gregory's PE Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex with a Minor

A Phoenix elementary school physical education teacher pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor on Wednesday, reports the Associated Press. The relationship allegedly began when the girl was 13-years-old.

The 32-year-old teacher, Carl Mosher, was originally arrested in February on four counts of sexual conduct with a minor. In an apparent plea bargain with prosecutors, Mosher pleaded guilty to one count of sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

Baseline Killer Case: Mark Goudeau Found Guilty of Murder

After a week of deliberation, the jury in the Baseline Killer case decided Mark Goudeau was the man who terrorized Phoenix women in 2005 and 2006 and found him guilty of first-degree murder, reports The Arizona Republic.

The jury reportedly found him guilty on 67 different counts, including nine counts of murder, sexual assault and sexual abuse, child molestation and armed robbery. He was originally charged with 74 felony counts, some of which were thrown out before they went to the jury for lack of sufficient evidence. The jury found Goudeau not guilty on just four of the counts involving kidnapping, armed robbery and attempted robbery.

Arizona Authorities Make 'Massive' Drug Smuggling Ring Bust

Arizona authorities announced on Monday that they have made significant busts in one of the biggest drug smuggling rings in Arizona history, reports The Arizona Republic.

Authorities including officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department stated that they, along with the assistance of around two dozen law enforcement agencies, have seized more than 30 tons of marijuana and over 100 weapons and arrested 76 people thus far in the “massive” drug bust dubbed Operation Pipeline Express. The suspects are allegedly tied to the notorious Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico.