Maricopa Woman Found Guilty of Murder in Multi-Vehicle Collision

FLORENCE, AZ (February 20th, 2024) - A Pinal County jury has found a Maricopa woman guilty for killing a woman and seriously injuring another man in a multi-vehicle collision that involved the defendant speeding in excess of 70 miles an hour over the limit.

On Friday, February 16th, 2024, a jury found Chelsea Edwards, 20, guilty of 2nd Degree Murder, a Class One Felony; and Aggravated Assault, a Class Three Felony.

In November 2022, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the area of Fanner Drive and Ralston Road in Maricopa in reference to a multi-vehicle collision. One female, 21, was pronounced deceased after being ejected from a vehicle, while another man sustained severe injuries and was airlifted to Chandler Regional Hospital.

The driver of a Chrysler 300, identified as Edwards, admitted to deputies that she had been consuming alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to the crash, and her BAC was determined to be .13. The investigation showed Edwards was traveling 119 mph just before the crash, where the posted speed limit was 45 mph. Edwards slammed into the back of a Ford F-150, causing the truck to veer into oncoming traffic, where it struck another vehicle.

"This tragic case is yet another example of what can happen when you choose to drive impaired," said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. "Our thoughts are with the victim's family and friends and I hope everyone in our communities is ensuring they are safe and sober when behind the wheel."

Edwards is scheduled to be sentenced March 22nd.

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Episode 2 debuts in “Courtroom Chronicles” podcast

(FLORENCE, AZ) - The Pinal County Attorney's Office has released the second episode in the "Courtroom Chronicles" podcast.

This second episode is titled "The Purpose of the Plea; Why Many Criminal Cases Result in a Plea Agreement."

County Attorney Kent Volkmer discusses the role of plea agreements in the criminal justice system and why few cases actually make it to trial.

You can watch and subscribe on YouTube and also listen/subscribe below:
Apple Podcasts:  https://bit.ly/3UD2QxO
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Peoria man indicted for murder in deadly DUI wrong-way crash

FLORENCE, AZ (February 2nd, 2024) - A Peoria man has been indicted for murder in a deadly wrong-way crash that killed a mother and injured her daughter along the US 60 in Apache Junction.

On Saturday, January 20th, around 9:30pm, multiple people began calling 911 to report the driver of a truck driving aggressively, moving in and out of traffic, and then heading the wrong direction, driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of the US 60 near Mountain View Road. Shortly after, the truck collided with an SUV heading in the correct direction.

The driver of the F150 was identified as Adam Parker, 37, of Peoria. The driver of the SUV, Elizabeth McAloon, 28, died from her injuries. McAloon's seven-year-old daughter was also injured in the crash. According to the probable cause statement, a blood draw showed Parker's BAC in excess of 0.23.

A grand jury indicted Parker on the following counts:

  1. Second Degree Murder (13-1104A3) Class 1 Felony
  2. Aggravated Assault (13-1204A2) Class 2 Felony

"This incident shows a tragic and real-life consequence of driving impaired," said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. "Our thoughts are with the victim's family and especially the young child who is now without her mother."

Parker was arraigned Friday in Pinal County Superior Court.

As a reminder, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Vendor Fair Coming to Florence Gardens on February 12th

FLORENCE, AZ - The Pinal County Attorney's Office is hosting a vendor fair to bring resources and vital information to the Florence Gardens community.

The "Roving Retirees Vendor Fair" will take place on Monday, February 12th from 9:00am - Noon. The event will take place at the Florence Gardens Community Center, located at 3830 N. Florence Boulevard in Florence.

The event will feature fraud and senior safety presentations, healthcare information, multiple vendors, a blood drive and prescription drug drop off. You can also bring sensitive documents to shred for free between 9:00am - 11:00am.

 

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PCAO Launches New Podcast Focused on Crime, Cases and Criminal Justice Questions

FLORENCE, AZ (January 29th, 2024) - The Pinal County Attorney's Office is launching a new podcast to help community members better understand the criminal justice system, while also giving insight into why and how certain cases were prosecuted. 

"Courtroom Chronicles with the County Attorney" will be airing on most major podcast platforms, and will also be visible on the PCAO Facebook page and YouTube channel. The series will feature crime, cases and questions with County Attorney Kent Volkmer. Additional guests will also appear.

"I hope this series gives valuable insight to those looking to better understand what we do as prosecutors, including how we evaluate cases, how we make difficult charging decisions and what the true role of a prosecutor is," Volkmer said. 

PCAO will produce two episodes a month, with one featuring a criminal case that has been fully resolved, and another diving into the dynamics of the criminal justice process. PCAO will also take suggestions from the community and answer any questions residents might have.

"Simply, this is a cool opportunity to expand on elements of the criminal justice system that are often of huge interest to our community," said Public Information Officer Mike Pelton. "We hope those who watch or listen find it entertaining, educational and a great opportunity to better understand the inner workings of the process."

Listen/Watch/Subscribe: 

Audio/PodBean: https://bit.ly/42gn2HE
Apple Podcasts: https://bit.ly/49cYp0N
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Man Sentenced to 218 Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse of Foster Child

FLORENCE, AZ (January 26th, 2024) - A former foster parent has been sentenced to 218 years flat time in prison for the sexual abuse of a child in his care.

On January 26th, 2024, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Jason Holmberg sentenced Francisco Medina, 53, to 218 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

A jury found Medina guilty of six counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor under the age of 15, all Class Two Felonies and Dangerous Crimes Against Children, and Molestation of a Child, also a Class Two Felony and Dangerous Crime Against Children.

"I hope this outcome gives the victim some small amount of closure and helps her in healing," said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. "I can't fathom what she's had to deal with, but I admire her strength and courage to hold her perpetrator accountable."

In 2020, the Tucson Police Department spoke to the victim, who is now an adult, related to past reports of sexual abuse by Medina when the victim and Medina lived in Casa Grande. The victim disclosed that she was a foster child in Medina’s care from 1996-1997, when she was around the age of eight or nine. The victim told investigators Medina entered her room at night on multiple occasions and sexually abused her.

Medina is already serving multiple life sentences in the Arizona Department of Corrections related to more than a dozen counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor of varying degrees in Pima County. That case also involved a separate child in Medina’s care.

“Medina committed the worst kind of betrayal. Rather than providing comfort and love for these little girls entrusted to his care, he repeatedly sexually abused them,” said Deputy County Attorney Lauren Deakin.  “The strength and courage they demonstrated by coming forward to law enforcement and then testifying during two trials - here and in Pima County - is admirable. My prayer is that the trial process has been empowering for both survivors, and that they know just how loved and supported they are.”

At sentencing Friday, the victim addressed the court and detailed the significant emotional hardship she has endured as a result of the abuse. She called Medina “pure evil” and credited the support of family and friends.

Medina’s sentence will run consecutively to his sentence in Pima County.

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Pinal County Victim Compensation Program in search of new Board Members

(FLORENCE, AZ) - The Pinal County Victim Compensation Program is in search of new Victim Compensation Board Members.

The Board meets one time per month, generally on the third Thursday of each month.  The public meetings are virtual and last between one to two hours on average.  The Board makes all eligibility and award decisions for Pinal County’s Victim Compensation Program, in accordance with applicable laws and rules.

The Board members are appointed for a three year term, which can be renewed.  They will go through training with the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) and receive additional training as required or needed.

Potential new members would need access to a computer, internet, email, and be able to read the supporting documentation.  They will reside in Pinal County.  They will be reading what could be perceived as graphic and/or upsetting details of crimes committed in Pinal County.  They will be able to maintain a thorough understanding of the program rules and have the ability to read and comprehend Board packets. They will be expected to follow strict rules of confidentiality due to the sensitive nature of the information.

If you are interested in an unpaid volunteer opportunity to help victims of crime, please apply at: https://www.governmentjobs.com and search Crime Victim Compensation Board Member.

If you would like more information, please call 520-866-6805.  We can also be reached at victimcompensation@pinal.gov

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First Citizens Academy of Year Set for February 16th

(FLORENCE, AZ) - The Pinal County Attorney’s Office is now accepting registrations for the first Citizens Academy of the year.

The Citizens Academy will take place on Friday, February 16th  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: Friday, February 16th, 2024 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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

PCAO held three Citizens Academies in 2022 and three in 2023 and received very positive feedback. We hope those who attend this year find it a fun and educational experience.

Those who are interested in registering for the February 16th Citizens Academy can do so HERE.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from PCAO!

FLORENCE, AZ - The Pinal County Attorney's Office wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Please ensure you are staying safe while spending quality time with family and friends over the holidays. Designate a sober drive if you plan to drink and help make sure others are doing the same.

PCAO staff enjoyed meeting residents from across the county at dozens of events throughout the year. Watch the below video featuring County Attorney Volkmer to see many of the highlights from 2023!

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Maricopa man sentenced to 18 years in deadly rollover crash

FLORENCE, AZ - A Maricopa man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the death of a woman who was in his vehicle when it crashed at a high rate of speed.

On November 21st, 2023, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Danielle Harris sentenced Christian Galindo, 25, to 18 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections, followed by five years of supervised probation.

Galindo pled guilty to Manslaughter, a Class Two Felony and Aggravated Assault, a Class Three Felony.

In February 2022, a Department of Public Safety trooper spotted a speeding vehicle northbound along State Route 347. Initial estimates put the vehicle at traveling more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. The trooper headed in the vehicle’s direction and eventually came upon the vehicle which had undergone a rollover crash. Galindo was in the driver’s seat and had sustained injury. One of the passengers in the vehicle, Vanity Chavez, 19, was transported to Chandler Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced deceased. A blood draw on Galindo at the hospital showed he was impaired and had alcohol in his system.

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