Maricopa Woman Guilty of First-Degree Premeditated Murder

Florence, Ariz. (May 8, 2019) – A jury convicted 34-year-old Kathryn Sinkevitch of first-degree premeditated murder on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Major Crimes Bureau Chief Shawn Jensvold and Deputy County Attorney David Ahl lead the prosecution.

“We are pleased with the jury’s verdict because it is entirely consistent with the evidence presented at trial. The evidence, which was both direct and circumstantial, pointed directly to Sinkevitch and there is no reason to suspect that anyone else killed Michael,” Shawn Jensvold said.

On December 16, 2016, City of Maricopa Police Department received multiple 911 calls of shots fired. When police arrived on scene they discovered 31-year-old Michael Agerter shot in the head and back. Agerter was seated in his car, parked in his garage. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police soon discovered that Agerter was on the phone with his younger sister at the time he was murdered.

Police discovered Agerter had a home surveillance system at his residence. After watching some recorded footage, detectives saw what appeared to be a female subject walking quickly from a white minivan parked across the street from Agerter’s house just after he pulled into his garage. The subject was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and shoes, gloves, and carrying papers in one hand with a bag draped over her shoulder. The subject was outside the views of the cameras briefly, then reappeared and scurried back across the street to the white minivan and sped away. Police ran a background check on Agerter and discovered that he had been in several legal disputes with the defendant, Kathryn Sinkevitch.

Agerter and Sinkevitch were romantically involved until they broke up in March 2016. In April 2016, Agerter was granted an order of protection in Maricopa County Superior Court against Sinkevitch. Records show Agerter made efforts to conceal his new address from Sinkevitch. Police also discovered Michael filed a motion to establish paternity and requested parenting time for his and Sinkevitch’s son, who was born in October. Agerter never saw his son before he was murdered, and the paternity results later confirmed he was the boy’s father.

During the investigation, police tracked Sinkevitch to a residence belonging to her friend and co-worker. Sinkevitch’s gray Mitsubishi Mirage and her co-worker’s white Chrysler Town and Country were parked outside the residence. The van appeared identical to the van seen on Agerter’s home surveillance system. Sinkevitch’s co-worker denied driving to Maricopa during the afternoon of Agerter’s murder. Upon reviewing workplace surveillance video, detectives discovered Sinkevitch was not at work all day as she claimed in an earlier interview. Police confirmed Sinkevitch had ample time to drive to Agerter’s house, commit the murder, and return to work. Police arrested Sinkevitch in Avondale, Arizona on December 21, 2016, after receiving a tip. Witnesses told police Sinkevitch owned a handgun, but a gun was never located.

“We agree with defense counsel’s assessment that the defendant received a fair trial. As reflected by the fact that they deliberated over 2 days before returning a verdict, it is clear that the jurors took their responsibilities very seriously. However, we disagree that any legal errors were committed during the trial that are likely to result in the defendant’s conviction being overturned on appeal,” Jensvold said.

Sinkevitch will be sentenced on June 6, 2019, at Pinal County Superior Courthouse. At that time, she will receive a natural life sentence.

 

Statement from the Agerter Family:

“On behalf of Mike’s friends and family, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to everyone involved in achieving this verdict. From the first officer on site that continuously talked to Mike even though it was clear he was gone, through the ranks to Detective Dennison, Deputy County Attorneys David Ahl and Shawn Jensvold, we thank you. The behind the scenes effort, work and support given by Paralegal Christine Forbes and Victim Advocate Sonia Campos were incredibly invaluable to our family throughout this two-year ordeal. The team spent countless hours away from their families so ours would finally attain peace. Also, to the jurors who were tasked with making the painful decision of enacting justice for Mike. He took every legal precaution to protect himself and was trying to do the same for his child. Domestic violence knows no boundaries. Mike’s attempt to protect the child he never met escalated her aggression towards him, ultimately leading to his death.”

Man Sentenced to 60 Days, Plus Probation for Animal Cruelty

FLORENCE, Ariz. (April 11, 2019) –  Judge Pro Tem Jack Pritt of the Western Pinal Justice Court found Wayne Miller guilty of 14 counts of Animal Cruel following a bench trial on February 15, 2019.  Miller was sentenced on April 10, 2019, to 60 days jail and three years’ probation and is not to possess any animals during that time period.

During the trial, evidence revealed Miller had 14 dogs locked up at his rural Maricopa property.  Upon executing a search warrant, Animal Control Officers found layers of animal feces, trash, torn furniture, car batteries, and other items littering the property.   Additionally, officers noted there was no drinkable water and food was intermixed with feces and trash lining the floor.  The dogs were aggressive to one another and were clawing their way at the interior walls that led to the outside.  A carcass of one dead dog was food for other dogs on the property.

Deputy County Attorney Chad Heywood prosecuted the case.

“The conditions these animals were kept in was deplorable, and my goal in this prosecution was to make sure no other animals had to suffer the same fate at the hands of this Defendant,” Heywood said.

This was the second animal cruelty conviction for Miller.  His first conviction stemmed from an incident that occurred in October 2017.  He was convicted on his first offense in May 2018.

If you suspect animal cruelty, please contact Pinal County Animal Control at 520-509-3555.  For calls after hours, please contact the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Update: Pinal County Attorney’s Office Statement on Hackney charges

 Pinal County Attorney’s Office Indicts Woman Accused of Child Abuse

 

UPDATE 2: FLORENCE, Ariz. (April 8, 2019) – A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Ryan and Logan Hackney on April 8, 2019.  At this time, Pinal County Attorney’s Office has chosen not to charge Ryan or Logan Hackney. However, the investigation into Ryan and Logan Hackney’s role in the case, if any, is on-going.

 

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UPDATE: FLORENCE, Ariz. (March 25, 2019) – City of Maricopa resident, Machelle Hobson (47), was indicted by a grand jury on Monday, March 25, 2019. The Pinal County Attorney’s Office has charged Hobson with 30 counts for her alleged actions involving five juveniles in the case.

“After a full and fair evaluation of all known facts and all known evidence, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office is confident these charges reflect the criminal actions perpetrated by Ms. Hobson. This office is committed to fairly and impartially administering justice for all those involved,” County Attorney Kent Volkmer said.

Victim 1

One count Kidnapping, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children; two counts of Child Abuse, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children, and two counts of Child Abuse, a class 4 felony;

Victim 2

One count Kidnapping, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; three counts Child Abuse, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; three counts Child Abuse, a class 4 felony;

Victim 3

One count Aggravated Assault, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; one count Kidnapping, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; one count Child Abuse, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; three counts Child Abuse, a class 4 felony; one count Child Abuse, a class 6 felony;

Victim 4

One count Kidnapping, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; one count Child Abuse, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; four counts Child Abuse, a class 4 felony;

Victim 5

One count Child Abuse, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; one count Kidnapping, a class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children felony; three counts Child Abuse, a class 4 felony;

Hobson’s arraignment is set to take place at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse on Friday, March 29th at 8:30 a.m.

 

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Original Press Release

FLORENCE, Ariz. (March 18, 2019) – Pinal County Attorney’s Office is evaluating the child abuse allegations against City of Maricopa resident Machelle Hobson, 47.  We were first alerted to the police investigation and underlying allegations by City of Maricopa Police Department. On March 15, 2019, Hackney, and her two biological children 27-year-old Logan and 25-year-old Ryan Hackney, were taken into custody by local law enforcement.

Pinal County Attorney’s Office takes child abuse allegations very seriously.  We are conducting a comprehensive review of the investigation to determine the most appropriate way to proceed forward with formal charges. While the allegations are highly disturbing and alarming, all three defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

“Children are our community’s most precious resource, and this office is committed to holding those individuals who choose to harm them fully accountable for their actions,” County Attorney Kent Volkmer said.

 

Pinal County Attorney’s Office Statement on Child Abuse Allegations

FLORENCE, Ariz. (March 18, 2019) – Pinal County Attorney’s Office is evaluating the child abuse allegations against City of Maricopa resident Machelle Hobson, 47. We were first alerted to the police investigation and underlying allegations by City of Maricopa Police Department. On March 15, 2019, Hobson, and her two biological children 27-year-old Logan Hackney and 25-year-old Ryan Hackney, were taken into custody by local law enforcement.

Pinal County Attorney’s Office takes child abuse allegations very seriously. We are conducting a comprehensive review of the investigation to determine the most appropriate way to proceed forward with formal charges. While the allegations are highly disturbing and alarming, all three defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

“Children are our community’s most precious resource, and this office is committed to holding those individuals who choose to harm them fully accountable for their actions,” County Attorney Kent Volkmer said.

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Grant Funds Will Support Crime Victim Awareness

FLORENCE, Ariz. (February 7, 2019) – The Office for Victims of Crime has selected Pinal County Attorney’s Office for a grant to bring awareness to the public about crime victims’ rights and other services available in the community. As an applicant for the 2019 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Community Awareness Projects, PCAO was granted up to $5724.00 for community projects proposed in our application. Pinal County Attorney’s Office was one of 92 projects selected among nearly 200 total applicants. The Victim Services Division has twelve victim advocates who answer questions, offer support, and accompany victims to court. Additionally, we work diligently within the community to establish relationships by attending monthly meetings in the county and statewide offering assistance and resources whenever possible. Our office plans to use the grant money to host awareness events on topics like victims’ rights, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, fraud, substance abuse, bullying, and suicide prevention.

In 2017, Pinal County Attorney’s Office victim advocates served nearly 930 victims and provided more than 25,700 services to victims of abuse.  It is important that if you are a victim of crime your voice be heard and therefore the Arizona Constitution affords crime victims specific rights. PCAO strongly encourages victims’ of crime to know their rights and the services that are available to them.

For more information regarding victims’ rights, victim compensation, and additional services available to victims please refer to our website at: https://pinalcountyattorney.org/.

News Release for Crime Victim Awareness Grant Funds

Why PCAO will have a presence at the 54th legislative session

FLORENCE, Ariz. — On Monday, January 14, 2019, the Arizona legislature held its opening ceremony.  Arizona Representative (R) David Cook invited both Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb to the 54th legislative session.  During the ceremony, Governor Doug Ducey made his fifth State of the State speech to attendees.

We will have representatives from Pinal County Attorney’s Office at Arizona’s 54th Legislative session to listen and answer questions on laws that may have an impact on Pinal County.  We asked County Attorney Kent Volkmer to explain why it is important for PCAO to have a presence during the 2019 legislative session.

 

Pinal County Man Sentenced to 280 Years for Child Pornography

sentence, jury, prison, child pornography, conviction, Pinal County, Pinal County Superior Court, Michael Huntoon,

Michael Huntoon gets 280 years in prison for child pornography

January 17, 2019

FLORENCE, Ariz. – A jury found 40-year-old Michael Huntoon guilty of ten counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and dangerous crimes against children.

At sentencing on January 9th, the court imposed a presumptive sentence of 28 years for each of the ten counts against him.  In total, Huntoon was sentenced to 280-years in prison.

“This office is committed to putting predators behind bars and keeping our communities safe.  Sentences like these ensure that Mr. Huntoon and those like him will never perpetrate another crime on another child,” Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer said.

In 2015, Phoenix and Chandler Police Departments uncovered Huntoon’s actions while they were proactively investigating on a peer-to-peer file sharing network known for the distribution of child pornography.  On the file-sharing network, they discovered downloadable images and videos exploiting children.  After close examination, detectives discovered the source of the information came from Huntoon’s computer.

The Phoenix Police Department, with the assistance of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, searched Huntoon’s Apache Junction residence.  During the search, law enforcement seized a laptop, cell phone, and tablet belonging to Huntoon.  Detectives from the Phoenix Police Department forensically analyzed those devices which resulted in the discovery of thousands of images of minors, as young as five-years-old.  Law enforcement officers arrested Huntoon on October 28, 2015.

“Cases like these are built by the seamless collaboration of multiple jurisdictions and police agencies.  By these agencies working together, men like Mr. Huntoon are systematically identified, prosecuted, and held accountable for their crimes against our most vulnerable,” Volkmer said.

Report child exploitation to the Arizona Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at 623-466-1835.  Additionally, you can file a report online on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Cybertipline or call your local police agency.

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County Attorney announces Anti-Drug Poster Contest winner

FLORENCE, Ariz. (12/5/2018) – The 28th Annual Pinal County Attorney’s Office Anti-Drug Poster Contest wrapped up at the Central Arizona College in Coolidge on Wednesday.   County Attorney Kent Volkmer announced the top three winners of the poster contest at the ceremony.

Sixth-grade students in Pinal County were given a month to create a poster with an anti-drug theme.  The students had one month starting in September to create a design that educates and engages Pinal’s youth on the importance of being drug-free.

Nearly 1000 students handed in their poster during the contest this year.  After receiving all the submissions, PCAO selects the top 40 posters.  Three Pinal County Superior Court judges decide which posters make the top ten and select the three best poster ideas.  Volkmer congratulated the top-ten students at a pizza party after they make the final round.

What’s at stake?  The Pinal County Attorney’s Office gives the Grand Prize winner’s class an educational field trip.  The Grand Prize winner also gets their poster printed on t-shirts and students who made it to the top 40 receive those t-shirts.  Second place winner has their idea put on notebooks, and the third prize poster idea goes on a bookmark.

 

Grand Prize Winner:

Legacy Traditional School

Second Prize Winner:

Mary C O’Brien Elementary School

Third Place Winner:

Eduprize School

Jury convicts murderer in death of 20-year-old shot eleven times

Arthur Magana gets murder conviction

FLORENCE, Ariz. (November 19, 2018) – A Pinal County Superior Court jury returned a verdict against a man charged with murdering another man outside the City of Maricopa on November 7, 2016. 

A jury convicted Arthur Magana of first-degree felony murder and armed robbery. 

In 2016, 16-year-old Arthur Magana and 17-year-old passenger Gustavo Olivo met 20-year-old Wyatt Miller.  Miller picked up the two juveniles in his truck and drove to a dirt road.  Magana was riding in the back seat of Miller’s truck when he fired eleven shots from the back seat striking Miller in his head, back, and neck.  Magana and Olivo, who took four ounces of marijuana, fled to a nearby house.  Deputies tracked footprints that led from the truck to a house where they located the suspects.  Detectives found marijuana, a gun, and bloody clothing at the scene.  Arthur Magana and Olivo were both arrested by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. 

“Today, a jury of his peers held the defendant accountable for his vicious, execution-style murder of Wyatt Miller.  The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office along with the Pinal County Attorney’s Office worked collaboratively to bring justice for Mr. Miller and his family.  It is my sincere hope that with this conviction Mr. Miller’s family receives some measure of closure and can begin the long healing process,” County Attorney Kent Volkmer said.

A sentencing date has yet to be determined, but December 17, 2018, is set for the next hearing date.  

 

PCAO trains with ASU experts on domestic violence app

FLORENCE, Ariz. (December 10, 2018) – Pinal County Attorney’s Office and Arizona State University’s School of Social Work Survivor Link teamed up for a two-hour training on the myPlan app.  ASU experts trained roughly 25 PCAO staff, law enforcement and victim advocates on the myPlan app to enhance their interaction with survivors of domestic abuse.

MyPlan app is a personalized safety planning tool for survivors of domestic violence.  The app was developed to help women create a safety plan in dangerous situations of intimate partner violence.  It combines a danger assessment measuring the lethality and the severity of abuse and a decision aid to encourage survivors to reach out for help.

During the event, Pinal County Attorney’s Office Victim Services and Family Advocacy Center staff went through abuse scenarios.  Staff members used these scenarios to learn how to navigate the app and to understand how the tool might be useful for women who are in abusive relationships.  According to ASU Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Megan Brown, 28.8% of women report having experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

“Over and over survivors say they are more comfortable sharing their story with the app first,” Brown said.

In 2017, victim advocates provided services to 25,755 people in our county according to Pinal County Attorney’s Office.