2nd Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk & Family Day

FLORENCE, AZ  (September 19th, 2023)  – The public is encouraged to attend a community trail walk and family day in order to unite in solidarity for victims ahead of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The 2nd Annual Pinal County Domestic Violence Awareness Walk & Family Day will take place on Saturday, September 30th in Apache Junction.

This event will feature a 5k trail walk, as well as resource booths, games, speakers and other activities. This family-friendly event is designed to bring awareness to the impacts and prevalence of domestic violence, as Domestic Violence Awareness Month takes place in October.

“This event is designed to shine a light on the impact Domestic Violence has on our community,” said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. “We need to stand together as a community to say enough is enough.”

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office is partnering with A New Leaf and the Apache Junction Police Department for the event.

What: Domestic Violence Awareness 5k Trail Walk & Family Day
When: Saturday, September 30th, 2023 from 7:00am – 11:00am
Where: Prospector Park (3015 N. Idaho Road, Apache Junction)

This event is open to the public. While it is free to register and attend, a $30 donation provides event swag and goes to support local domestic violence programs.

“I’m asking everyone to come out, show their support for victims, and enjoy a morning coming together as a community to raise awareness of this important issue,” Volkmer said.

In 2022, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, Victim Services Division provided services to more than 2,265 victims of domestic violence.

Those who are interested in registering for the event can do so at TurnaNewLeaf.Org/DVAW2023. A flyer with additional details has also been attached.

2023 Pinal County Domestic Violence Awareness Walk Sponsorship Packet (2)



New Mexico man sentenced to 20 years for attempted murder of construction worker

(FLORENCE, AZ) - A New Mexico man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the attempted murder of a construction worker on the jobsite.

On August 28th, 2023, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Danielle Harris sentenced Michael Tyner, 40, to 20 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Tyner pled guilty to Attempt to Commit First Degree Murder, a Class Two Felony with two prior felony convictions.

In April 2022, the Gila River Police Department responded to the area of Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway reference a shooting. Officers located a man on a construction site who sustained two gunshot wounds to the lower back and leg. Witnesses on scene described the suspect as a man wearing a long sleeve blue shirt and jeans with long hair. The suspect had fled the scene.

During the course of the investigation, officers attempted to pull over a Toyota Tacoma and the driver refused to stop. A vehicle pursuit was initiated, which led through Sacaton and Chandler, coming to an end when the driver of the vehicle collided with a Chandler Police patrol unit near Gilbert and Riggs Roads. The driver, identified as Michael Tyner, was taken into custody. Investigators noted Tyner matched the description of the shooting suspect.

The shooting victim told officers he was working on a job site as a driller when he noticed another man holding a metal pipe with long hair. While the victim thought the man was another worker, that’s when he got shot and suddenly felt pain in his back and fell to the ground. The victim indicated the suspect continued to shoot at him while he was on the ground. The victim indicated he did not know the suspect, who eventually ran away.

Investigators were able to locate a Toyota Tacoma on surveillance video at the construction site. When shown a photo array, both a witness and the victim positively identified Tyner as the suspect.


Next ‘Community Meeting’ set for September in Apache Junction

(APACHE JUNCTION, AZ) - The Pinal County Attorney's Office will join several city officials to discuss a wide range of important topics with residents in Apache Junction at the end of September.

The Pinal County Attorney's Office has been hosting 'community meetings' across Pinal County throughout the year, in order to better connect residents with their local leaders so they can answer questions, provide updates on what is occurring in their neighborhoods, and address any concerns.

On Monday, September 25th, 2023, County Attorney Kent Volkmer will join several city officials to discuss a range of topics, including economic growth, fraud awareness, issues facing our youth as well as drug use and prevention.

What: Community Meeting in Apache Junction

When: Monday, September 25, 2023 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Where: Multi-Generational Center,   1035 N. Idaho Road, Apache Junction

Speakers include County Attorney Kent Volkmer, Mayor Chip Wilson, Vice Mayor Robert Schroeder, Police Chief Michael Pooley, City Manager Bryant Powell, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Serdy (District 5), and Shelly Verley from Standup AJ.

For questions, please reach out to Community Liaison Latisha Joseph at Latisha.Joseph@Pinal.Gov.

Copy of Apache Junction Community Meeting





Maricopa man sentenced to 20 years in prison for multiple felony offenses

(FLORENCE, AZ,  August 21st, 2023) - A Maricopa man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for multiple felony offenses including possession of dangerous drugs for sale, attempted first degree murder and participating in a criminal street gang.

On August 14th, 2023 Pinal County Superior Court Judge Daniel Washburn sentenced Joey Mata, 38, to 20 years flat time in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Mata pled guilty to Attempted First Degree Murder, a Class 2 Dangerous Felony; Participating in a Criminal Street Gang, a Class Two Felony; and Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Sale, a Class Two Felony.

The three cases include the below separate incidents:

In April, 2016 Mata went to another man's residence, waited outside, and shot at him when the victim came out of the house. The victim pursued Mata and they ended up in an alleyway where Mata fired more shots at the victim. Investigators determined the victim and Mata knew each other and Mata was identified as the suspect. (Attempted First Degree Murder).

In January, 2022, while in custody of the Pinal County Detention Facility, a detention officer located a handwritten note, called a 'Kite,' in the pod where Mata and other members of the Arizona Mexican Mafia were housed. The note was a directive from the highest ranking member of the Arizona Mexican Mafia to assault night staff at the jail. The Arizona Department of Public Safety conducted a handwriting comparison and confirmed Mata as the author (Participating in a Criminal Street Gang).

While out on bail for the two prior incidents, Mata was pulled over for a traffic stop by the Casa Grande Police Department in January 2023. During the traffic stop, an officer noticed drug paraphernalia in plain view.  While Mata was detained, officers searched the vehicle and located seven pounds of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and several thousand dollars in cash, among other items (Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Sale).


San Tan Valley woman sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for 2x fatal crash

(FLORENCE, AZ, August 14, 2023) - A San Tan Valley woman has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for killing two people in another vehicle when she crashed into it while driving under the influence.

On August 11, 2023, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Danielle Harris sentenced Janelle Littlebear, 39, to 21 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Littlebear pled guilty to two counts of Manslaughter, both Class Two Felonies.

On August 13th, 2022, Littlebear was driving her Toyota Camry northbound on Gantzel Road in San Tan Valley when she veered off the roadway onto the dirt shoulder before the vehicle traveled back sideways across the northbound lanes, onto the dirt median and collided with a southbound vehicle. The driver and passenger in the southbound vehicle were pronounced deceased and identified as Richard Hanson, 78, and Kathleen Franta, 78.

During the course of the investigation, witnesses indicated Littlebear was speeding prior to the vehicle veering off the roadway. A blood draw conducted on Littlebear at the hospital showed her BAC to be .271, or more than three times the legal limit.

This case was investigated by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.


Arizona inmate sentenced to death for 2014 prison murder

(FLORENCE, AZ) - A jury has sentenced an inmate within the Arizona Department of Corrections to death for the murder of another inmate nearly a decade ago.

On August 1st, 2023, a Pinal County Superior Court jury sentenced Julio Salazar, 41, to death.

A jury previously found Salazar guilty of Premeditated First Degree Murder, a Class One Felony.

On August 16th, 2014, staff at the ASPC-Eyman complex in Florence responded to an incident in the basketball enclosure, and found inmate Lino Flores, 53, lying face up in a pool of blood. The suspect, who was also inside the basketball enclosure, was identified as inmate Julio Salazar, who had blood covering his shoes and socks.

One of the security cameras captured the incident on video. The video shows another inmate placing a ‘shank’ inside a water cooler within the basketball area prior to Salazar’s arrival. Salazar is shown on video removing the item from the cooler and attacking Flores, stabbing him in the head and body while playing basketball. Salazar also punched Flores multiple times in the head, kicked him, stomped and punched his head several times while on the ground, put him in a choke hold and took the prison made weapon and stabbed the victim in the forehead. The assault continued and ended with Salazar stepping on Flores’ face with his entire body weight. Video shows Salazar then dancing around the enclosure. In all, investigators determined Flores was stabbed and stomped hundreds of times over the span of 47 minutes.

An autopsy showed the victim suffered a crushed skull, broken ribs and a fractured larynx, among other injuries. The doctor who performed the autopsy noted the victim’s body was in a condition “similar to a person in a motor vehicle accident.”

The aggravating factors in this case included that the murder was especially heinous or especially depraved, a serious prior felony conviction by the defendant, and that the offense occurred in the State Department of Corrections.

Salazar’s serious prior offenses included a Manslaughter from 2000 and a 2007 Attempted Murder of an Arizona Correctional Officer.

This case is the first time a Pinal County jury has imposed the death penalty in more than 20 years.


6th Annual Law Enforcement Association Golf Tournament seeks players, sponsors

(MARICOPA, AZ) - The Pinal County Attorneys Office is looking for both sponsors and excited players to participate in the 6th Annual Pinal County Law Enforcement Association Golf Tournament.

The tournament is scheduled to take place on Friday, September 8th, 2023 at Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa. Lunch is included in the event.

Money raised during the golf tournament provides training scholarships for law enforcement officers throughout Pinal County. Teams of four are encouraged, however teams of two can be placed accordingly. The event is open to the public.

In 2021, the golf tournament raised more than $10,000 that went toward training opportunities and resources for officers.

If you are interested in playing in the tournament or becoming a sponsor, see the below flyers for additional details. You can also contact Community Liaison Latisha Joseph at Latisha.Joseph@Pinal.Gov.


PCLEA Golf Info


PCLEA Registration


PCLEA Sponsor Levels




Surprise man sentenced to 25 years for luring a minor, child sex trafficking

(FLORENCE, AZ August 1st, 2023) - A Surprise man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for child sex trafficking and luring an underage girl via a social media app to engage in sexual activity as the victim “needed the money to help her mom pay their rent.”

On July 31, 2023, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Daniel Washburn sentenced Joel Disanto, 47, to 25 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections, followed by lifetime probation.

DiSanto pled guilty to Aggravated Luring of a Minor, a Class Two Felony; and Child Sex Trafficking, a Class Two Felony and Dangerous Crime Against Children.

In October, 2022, the mother of a 15-year-old went through her phone and discovered sexually explicit images of her daughter that were being sent through Snap Chat. The victim’s older sister also searched the victim’s cell phone and found a text message indicating the victim had sex with a male in his 40s. During a forensic interview with the victim, she disclosed that she had met a number of men on Snap Chat who sent her sexually explicit material, and that she had been communicating with a subject by the username ‘Daniel Donkey.’ The victim indicated the person behind the username wanted to meet with her in order to engage in sexual activity, and offered to pay her. According to law enforcement, the victim noted that “she needed the money to help her mom pay their rent.”

The victim disclosed that in September 2022 she met with “Daniel Donkey” in Casa Grande and engaged in a sex act with him after making it clear she was 15 years old.

During the investigation, the Casa Grande Police Department obtained a search warrant for the Snapchat account, which helped to identify the account’s creator as DiSanto. DiSanto’s physical characteristics also matched the description provided by the victim. DiSanto was already listed as a sex offender and a sexually violent predator.

Investigators located sexually explicit material on DiSanto’s Snapchat account. The geolocation of his phone also provided details helping to corroborate the victim’s account.



PCAO selected as model site for national program designed to improve behavioral health outcomes

(FLORENCE, AZ August 1st, 2023) - The Pinal County Attorney's Office Adult Diversion Program has been selected as a model site for a national program designed to improve behavioral health outcomes.

PCAO has been chosen as one of the 10 inaugural programs that will serve as model examples for the national Criminal Justice-Mental Health Learning Site Program. PCAO will be serving alongside 9 other sites that are leading the way with innovative practices, aimed to improve outcomes for people with behavioral health needs in the criminal justice system. The selected sites are:

1️⃣ Pinal County Attorney’s Office Adult Diversion Program, Pinal County, AZ (Program Type: Prosecutor-Led Diversion)

2️⃣ California State University San Bernardino FAITHS Throughcare Program, San Bernardino, CA (Program Type: Jail-Based Treatment)

3️⃣ Boulder County’s Community Justice Services, The Behavioral Health Assistance Program, Boulder County, CO (Program Type: Jail Reentry Program)

4️⃣ Bonneville County Mental Health Court, Bonneville, ID (Program Type: Specialty Court)

5️⃣ Lancaster County Department of Community Corrections, Lancaster, NE (Program Type Court-Based Diversion)

6️⃣ Bronx EAC Mental Health Court, Bronx, NY (Program Type: Specialty Court)

7️⃣ Downtown Austin Community Court, Austin, TX (Program Type: Specialty Court)

8️⃣ Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network Behavioral Justice Center Division, Waco, TX (Program Type: Jail-Based Diversion)

9️⃣ Virginia Department of Corrections Community Corrections, Richmond, VA (Program Type: Specialized Probation for People with Mental Health Needs)

🔟 The Washington Corrections Center for Women’s Mental Health Department, Tumwater, WA (Program Type: Prison Reentry Program)

PCAO will be sharing expertise and knowledge with other criminal justice and mental health agencies and organizations.


PCAO attorney named ‘Felony Prosecutor of the Year’

(FLORENCE, AZ  July 31, 2023) – The Pinal County Attorney’s Office is honored to recognize one of its prosecutors, named as the Felony Prosecutor of the Year.

Patrick Johnson, lead capital attorney at PCAO, was named 2023 Felony Prosecutor of the Year by the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council.

“I am proud to win this award because it is a reflection of the hard work that our team puts into cases,” Johnson said. “I am fortunate to work with dedicated professionals that sacrifice on a daily basis to work for Justice. Barbara Marvel, William Wallace, Herb Padilla, Traci Borquez, and Julie Jaramillo make a fantastic team that puts in countless hours to make sure we are doing the right things for the community.”

Johnson is assigned to the Major Crimes Bureau within PCAO. This past Winter, Johnson secured a guilty verdict in a complex prison death penalty case that involved first-degree murder along with the jury findings of capital aggravators. The case took more than a decade to get to trial and underwent significant pre-trial litigation, multiple changes in defense teams and nearly a dozen prosecutors prior to Johnson taking over the case. The defendant lived in multiple locations, including American Samoa, with the victim coming from Hawaii, requiring Johnson to track down witnesses from the mainland and Hawaii, while also having to coax them into coming to Florence for the trial.

“Pinal County is fortunate to have a prosecutor like Patrick,” said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. “He is an extremely talented and skilled litigator that comes to work every day focused on holding our most violent offenders accountable. We are pleased that his dedicated service and incredible efforts are being recognized statewide.”

Johnson has been with the Pinal County Attorney’s Office since 2013.

The Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council, created in the 1970s, coordinates and provides training and education to prosecutors throughout Arizona.