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Wed, April 21

Briefs | Trial date set for family of boy starved to death

FLAGSTAFF (AP) – A trial date has been set for the parents and grandmother of a 6-year-old Flagstaff boy who died after being locked in a closet and denied food.

Elizabeth Archibeque and Anthony Martinez, the boy's parents, and Ann Martinez, his grandmother, have pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child abuse.

Anthony Martinez also is charged with two counts of aggravated assault.

The defendants are scheduled to go on trial in August 2022. Coconino County Superior Court Judge Ted Reed set the date during a hearing in the case Friday. Michael Tunink will prosecute the case after Deputy County Attorney Stacy Krueger was appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey to fill a judicial vacancy at the court.

A medical examiner determined Deshaun Martinez died last March of starvation, weighing just 18 pounds – well below average for his age.

His parents initially attributed their son’s malnourished state to a medical condition and to ingesting diet or caffeine pills. Eventually, they told police they kept Deshaun and his older brother in a closet for 16 hours a day and gave them little to eat.

Police said the boys’ confinement was punishment for stealing food while the parents slept.

FBI searches for serial bank robber in Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) – The FBI is looking for whoever is responsible for robbing multiple banks in metropolitan Phoenix. The agency has referred to the suspect as the Piggy Bank Bandit because he or she left with rolls of coins from one of the robberies.

The first robbery happened in December at a U.S. Bank branch in Tempe. The FBI believes the same person robbed five other banks in Mesa, Gilbert and Phoenix, with the latest two on Friday afternoon.

Photos released by the FBI show a person wearing a face covering, black-rimmed glasses and a beanie or hat. The person appears to have a tattoo on the left side of the neck and sometimes carried a backpack.

17-year-old arrested in fatal shooting

TUCSON (AP) – A teenager has been arrested in the Feb. 20 shooting death of a University of Arizona student in a campus parking garage, the Tucson Police Department announced Friday.

The 17-year-old boy was arrested and booked into jail Thursday on suspicion of first-degree murder and drive-by shooting in the killing of Forrest Keys, a department statement said.

Keys, 20, was a sophomore from Philadelphia majoring in communications. According to police, Keys was walking with friends in the garage at about 11 p.m. when a verbal altercation took place between him and people riding in a red Cadillac car. “It started as an altercation and escalated from there,” Magos said.

Man accused in incapacitated woman’s rape contests evidence

PHOENIX (AP) – A nurse charged with sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman who later gave birth at a long-term care facility in Phoenix is asking a judge to throw out DNA evidence that authorities say ties him to the rape.

An attorney for Nathan Sutherland said in a court filing this week that the evidence should be tossed because Phoenix police officers didn’t get a warrant or have probable cause to take his client’s DNA and instead relied on a court order with a lesser standard of proof to gather the evidence.

Sutherland’s lawyer, Edwin Molina, said investigators made a misrepresentation when saying in a request for the court order that 36 male Hacienda Healthcare employees whose DNA was being sought had direct access to the victim. Molina argued police were unaware of the job duties of the 36 men or whether they had contact with the victim and said that investigators worked under the theory that “anybody and everybody could be a suspect.”

The Phoenix Police Department and Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting Sutherland, declined to comment on Sutherland’s request.

The pregnancy was discovered in December 2018 when an employee at the long-term care facility was changing the garments of the then-29-year-old victim and noticed she was in the process of delivering a child. Employees told police that they had no idea the woman was pregnant.

She lived at Hacienda for 26 years, until the child’s birth. Her medical conditions stem from a brain disorder that caused motor and cognitive impairments and vision loss. She was also left with no functional use of her limbs.

Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. He was fired by Hacienda after his arrest and has since given up his nursing license.

Police have said Sutherland’s DNA matched a sample taken from the woman’s son. The victim’s mother is the boy’s guardian.

The surprise birth triggered reviews by state agencies, highlighted safety concerns for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated and prompted the resignations of Hacienda’s chief executive and one of the victim’s doctors.

It led to a lawsuit from the victim’s parents that alleged Sutherland had cared for their daughter on hundreds of occasions from 2012 through 2018, despite promises from the state — which contracts with companies like Hacienda to provide services to people with developmental disabilities — that only women would tend to her.

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