More Than 70 Teens Attend Elaborate Youth CSI Summer Camp

(FLORENCE, AZ) - After watching deputies swarm to a mock crime scene, and the 'defendant' later put on 'trial' in a real courtroom, one of the student jurors admitted the experience far exceeded his hopes.

"It was really fun," said Damien, a student about to enter the 8th grade. "I wasn't expecting any of it."

The 3rd Annual Youth CSI Summer Camp, hosted by the Pinal County Attorney's Office in partnership with the Poston Butte High School STEM program, saw record attendance this June. More than 70 teens attended the four-day camp.

"This camp actually helped me plan out exactly what I [want] to do, where I want to go," said student Sincerity.

The camp this year expanded to four days, adding a career fair, where students were able to meet with dozens of agencies and organizations. The camp also included a day spent on forensic science & fingerprinting, another day with a mock crime scene at Poston Butte High School, and then two mock trials with real judges at Pinal County Superior Court.

"I think the trial was my favorite part," Sincerity said. "Hearing everybody's testimony and seeing where it's going."

The mock crime this year featured a botched burglary, which ended with a staff member fatally 'shot.' Evidence at the scene, and related testimony, tasked the student jurors with figuring out who was involved, and ultimately if the 'suspects' were guilty of homicide.

The Youth CSI Summer Camp is geared towards teens with an interest in criminal justice, giving them an in-depth look at the many different roles, from first responders and investigators, to the court and trial process.

"Quite frankly, this is one of the coolest events we've been able to provide to the community," said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. "I hope the students find it beneficial, fun and helpful as they consider their future aspirations."

Given the record attendance, this year featured two separate, but similar, mock crime scenes, and subsequently two separate 'trials.' This allowed as many students as possible to take part in processing evidence, acting as jurors, and also getting paired up with the prosecution, defense and the judges during the court process.

"Learning new things that I didn't know was actually pretty awesome," Sincerity said.

The massive four day camp, which is free, comes with significant partnerships throughout the community. The Pinal County Attorney's Office would like to thank Poston Butte High School, AMR Arizona, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Apache Junction Police Department, Rural Metro Fire, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Fuller and Judge Holmberg, the Pinal County Medical Examiner's Office and all the agencies which participated in the career fair.

For Damien, who was a vocal participant during jury deliberations, the experience was better than he thought when his mother signed him up.

"I thought it was going to be more boring," he said. "It was super fun."

And, educational.

"Almost everything I learned was new," he said.

Registration is not yet open for the 2025 camp, but updates will be forthcoming.

 

Mock Crime Scene, Trial to Headline Massive Youth CSI Summer Camp

FLORENCE, AZ (June 3rd, 2024) - With a mock crime scene, mock trial and career fair, the Pinal County Attorney's Office will host its 3rd - and largest - Youth CSI Summer Camp for high school students this week.

The Youth CSI Summer Camp gives high school students an in-depth look at various roles and aspects in the criminal justice system. The goal is to expose the students to as many different areas as possible as they ponder career aspirations. Roughly 80 students are slated to attend.

"Quite frankly, this is one of the coolest events we've been able to provide to the community," said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. "I hope the students find it beneficial, fun and helpful as they consider their future aspirations."

The four-day camp is held in partnership with the Poston Butte STEM Academy.

Beginning Tuesday, students will learn forensic science and how to conduct fingerprinting. They will also be broken down into assigned roles for the week, as a mock crime will take place that involves real law enforcement officers, K-9 officers and EMTs, among other investigative personnel. A mock trial will feature real attorneys acting as both prosecution and defense, as well as real judges at Pinal County Superior Court. The students will act as the jury, be paired with attorneys, and be involved in processing the 'crime scene.'

One day will also feature a career fair, where students can better discuss and interact with various agencies. Tuesday – Thursday will be held at Poston Butte H.S. with two mock trials taking place Friday at Pinal County Superior Court.

Media wishing to attend one of the days should contact Public Information Officer Mike Pelton at Michael.Pelton@Pinal.Gov.

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Alleged Human Smuggler Sentenced to 22.5 Years in I-10 High-Speed Crash While Fleeing Law Enforcement

FLORENCE, AZ (May 16th, 2024)  –  A Pinal County Judge has sentenced Timothy Broyles, 33, to more than 20 years in prison for seriously injuring two people and endangering others in a high-speed crash while fleeing law enforcement along the I-10.

This week, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Jason Holmberg sentenced Broyles to 22.5 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

“Dangerous decisions lead to dire consequences,” said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. “I am just relieved that no innocent civilians or law enforcement personnel were injured in this case and the driver was held accountable for his choice to endanger the public.”

Broyles pled guilty to two counts of Aggravated Assault, both Class 3 Felonies; Unlawful Flight from Law Enforcement, a Class 5 Felony; and two counts of Endangerment, both Class 6 Felonies.

"Smuggling in Pinal County does not pay," said Sheriff Mark Lamb. "We will hold you accountable." 

In February, 2023, the deputies with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office attempted a traffic stop on a Red GMC traveling along I-10. The vehicle did not stop and instead sped up and began changing lanes. The deputy initiated a pursuit and followed the vehicle as it weaved through traffic at speeds up to 90mph. At one point, the GMC crossed over the median and began driving into oncoming traffic, driving westbound on the eastbound side of the interstate at speeds near 90mph. Traffic was having to swerve to avoid striking the GMC. During the pursuit, the GMC lost control and rolled into the median. Two passengers were ejected and sustained serious injuries. Two other passengers were also in the vehicle and suffered minor injuries.

Broyles was identified as the driver and told deputies he did not stop because he was scared and did not want "to lose his load of people," according to the incident report.

Broyles also admitted to using fentanyl and had to have narcan administered by EMS.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy County Attorney Stephen Bridger.

 

 

 

 

Next Citizens Academy Set for June 22nd

(FLORENCE, AZ) - The Pinal County Attorney’s Office is now accepting registrations for the next Citizens Academy in June.

The Citizens Academy will take place on Saturday, June 22nd from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The PCAO Citizens Academy is an immersive experience designed to give attendees an in-depth look at how charging decisions are made and the role of prosecutors in the criminal justice system.

“This is an excellent opportunity for folks to come, see what we do as prosecutors and how we navigate difficult charging decisions,” said County Attorney Kent Volkmer.

The Citizens Academy features detailed presentations from the County Attorney and another prosecutor in the office, a chance to see the evidence and review several cases prosecuted by PCAO, take part in Q & A, use a shooting simulator to experience the type of encounters law enforcement are often presented with, and tour the county jail.

“We try to make this as in-depth an experience as possible to give those who attend an accurate reflection of how our office works and dispel any rumors about the criminal justice system,” Volkmer said.

What: Citizens Academy

When: Saturday, June 22nd, 2024 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Where: PCAO Office (971 N. Jason Lopez Circle, Florence, AZ)

Those who are interested in registering for the June 22nd Citizens Academy can do so HERE.

 

Orange Building Photo Job Fair Flyer (14)

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PCAO Marks National Fentanyl Awareness Day

FLORENCE, AZ (May 7th, 2024) - The Pinal County Attorney's Office encourages all families to have tough conversations about the dangers and prevalence of fentanyl, as the powerful synthetic opioid is increasingly ravaging communities across the country.

Tuesday marks National Fentanyl Awareness Day, an opportunity to raise awareness about the drug, which is often found mixed into other pills and substances, and can lead to fatal overdoses. This also affects unsuspecting youth who take pills obtained or purchased on social media, unaware it contains fentanyl.

"Fentanyl is destroying our communities and it is as important as ever to have conversations with your loved ones, especially your children," said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. "We are committed to holding dealers accountable, but this is a collective community effort to reduce both supply and demand for this dangerous drug."

The prevalence of fentanyl is rapidly increasing across the country. The Pinal County Attorney's Office charged only nine fentanyl drug cases back in 2019, with that number surging to nearly 600 in 2023.

The Pinal County Attorney's Office has seen a sharp uptick in the number of fentanyl drug cases charged in each of the past five years:

2023: 582

2022: 300

2021: 150

2020: 52

2019: 09

Recently, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb joined County Attorney Volkmer on the 'Courtroom Chronicles' podcast to discuss fentanyl, and you can see that conversation below.

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Few Spots Remain For Youth CSI Summer Camp in June

(FLORENCE, AZ) - There are still a few open spots for the 3rd Annual Youth CSI Summer Camp in June.

The Pinal County Attorney's Office is working with several partners to once again bring the popular experience to students aged 13-18 this June. The Youth CSI Summer Camp is an immersive experience that allows students to see the various roles in the criminal justice field. Students will take on an interactive role in learning forensic science, fingerprinting, investigating a mock crime, questioning witnesses and participating in a mock trial at Pinal County Superior Court. There will also be a career exploration fair.

The camp runs from Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 - Friday, June 7th, 2024 and is free to attend. See the below flyer for times and locations.

For additional questions and to register, contact Community Liaison Latisha Joseph at Latisha.Joseph@pinal.Gov or 520-866-6627.

 

 

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Free Document Shredding in Florence on Saturday, May 4th

(FLORENCE, AZ) - The Pinal County Attorney's Office is sponsoring a free document shredding event in Florence on Saturday, May 4th.

The document shredding will also include the ability to properly dispose of old or unused medication, thanks to the Florence Police Department which will be on hand.

This event is a good opportunity to shred and dispose of sensitive information, such as old tax records or medical documents.

When: Saturday, May 4th, 2024

Where: Kassie Kennaugh - Allstate at Anthem (3281 N. Hunt Highway, Florence)

Time: 9:00am - 11:00am

Suggested donations include toiletries such as tooth brushes or shampoo that will go to benefit Pinal County abuse shelters.

 

 

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Woman Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of 3-Year-Old Girl

FLORENCE, AZ (April 25th, 2024)  - A Pinal County Superior Court Judge has sentenced Shawn Main, 53, to life in prison for the murder of a three-year-old girl.

On Thursday, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Daniel Washburn sentenced Main to life plus an additional 17 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Washburn previously found Main guilty of First Degree Felony Murder; Child Abuse, a Class Two Felony; and two counts of Child Abuse as Class Four Felonies.

“Children are the most vulnerable in our community and it’s a tragedy this young girl’s life was cut so short,” said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. “Those who abuse children need to be held accountable. Our thoughts are with the girl’s siblings who will go through life without their sister.”

This trial took place as a bench trial, meaning the judge, not a jury, made the determination of guilt or innocence.

On November 19th, 2015, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office responded to Banner Casa Grande Medical Center reference a death investigation of a three-year-old girl named Tiana. Deputies advised Tiana had injuries across her body in addition to an extremely severe diaper rash.

Detectives spoke with the woman who was with the child, identified as Main. Main and her wife were also living with another woman in Maricopa and were trying to adopt her four children, which included Tiana. Main claimed the girl had repeatedly fallen and that is how the severe injuries occurred. During interviews with investigators, Main made conflicting statements about what took place. The state argued that blunt force trauma was the cause of death, with a dozen impacts to the victim's head and face, and that the injuries were not at all consistent with a child falling on their own.

During sentencing, several statements were read on behalf of Tiana’s juvenile brothers, who described how her death has affected them and recalled Tiana as a child who loved Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty. Deputy County Attorney Shawn Jensvold told the Court, “Had Ms. Main demonstrated just an ounce of human decency…none of this would have happened.”

Main addressed the Court and did not accept responsibility, but in reference to the guilty verdicts told the judge, “I couldn’t believe you got it so wrong.”

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Record Turnout for April’s Citizens Academy

FLORENCE, AZ - The Pinal County Attorney's Office had a record turnout for April's Citizens Academy.

41 Pinal County residents attended the April 20th event, which marked the second PCAO Citizens Academy of the year. Attendees heard from County Attorney Kent Volkmer, a deputy county attorney from the Trial Bureau, had the chance to review real cases prosecuted by the office, use a shooting simulator and tour the county jail.

The Citizens Academy is an opportunity to educate the community on the criminal justice process and answer questions from the public. We appreciate everyone who attended and invested their time in learning more about the county attorney's office.

The next Citizens Academy is set for June 22nd.

 

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Free Shred Event in Maricopa this Saturday

(MARICOPA, AZ) - A free community shred event and food drive is coming to Maricopa this Saturday, courtesy of the Pinal County Attorney's Office and the City of Maricopa Senior Advisory Committee.

The shred-a-thon is a great opportunity for residents to get rid of sensitive documents, such as old business or tax records and medical information.

A food drive, which encourages canned goods and non-perishable items, will go to benefit F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank.

The shred event and food drive will take place from 9am - 11am at Copper Sky Regional Park (44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) on Saturday, April 20th.

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