Shayla Brattin, a.k.a. "Batgirl," Arrested as Accomplice in Murder of Church Janitor

Categories: Death Valley

Shayla Brattin.
Shayla Jeanne Brattin, nicknamed "Batgirl," is the second person to be arrested in connection with the June 24 murder of a Glendale church janitor.

Police listed the 23-year-old woman as homeless in court records, though most of her Facebook selfies appear to have been taken in a home. She's accused of -- and reportedly confessed to -- a key role in a crime scheme that climaxed with the senseless shooting death of 72-year-old Mark Woodruff.

The robbery was of the scarier variety: A group of punks desperate for drug money spotted the elderly man at a gas station and tailed him home, where one of them shot the victim.

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Phoenix Police Count 125 Murders in 2013, Two Fewer Than Last Year

Categories: Death Valley

Image: Ken kcdsTM via flickr
Phoenix police counted 125 murders in 2013, two fewer than last year.

The preliminary figure released today at the request of New Times shows the city hasn't had the large reductions seen last year in many other major U.S. cities. New York City, for example, experienced 20 percent fewer homicides last year over the year before.

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Fewer Line-of-Duty Deaths Among U.S. Cops in 2012, FBI Reports

Categories: Death Valley

robbplusjessie via Flickr

Though 95 law enforcement officers who died during a cop-related accidents or while chasing down some criminal activity during 2012, there were 125 deaths in 2011. And there were 128 intentional or accidental deaths in 2010.

Arizona made the unfortunate list in 2012 with the death of William "Bill" Coleman, a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy who was gunned down on January 8, 2012.

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Michael Helms, 16, of Mesa Kills Mom as Friend Watches; Stepdad Escapes Attack

Categories: Death Valley

Michael Roy Helms and Christian Lee Blakely
A 16-year-old boy described by a classmate as a "giant teddy" allegedly beat and choked his mom to death on Saturday morning, then attacked his stepdad.

Michael Roy Helms and his accomplice, 17-year-old Christian Lee Blakely, were being held on $1 million bonds and charged as adults by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Blakely's accused of watching his friend kill Helms' mother, Tina Helms Spencer, then helping clean up the blood and dispose of her body in a backyard shed.

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Two 15-Year-Old Kids Accused of Unrelated Murders Lived a Mile Apart From Each Other

Categories: Death Valley
Tex Texin via Flickr

This year, two Valley 15-year-olds have been accused of murder, in two completely separate incidents.

The two suspects, Ladajianna Mosely and Leonard Moreno, lived about a mile apart from each other.

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Leonard Moreno, Age 15, Arrested in Shooting Death of MCSO Jail Officer Jorge Vargas

Categories: Death Valley
Photo by Matthew Hendley
Left to right: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Police Chief Daniel Garcia, and City Councilman Michael Nowakowski.

The accused killer of Maricopa County Sheriff's Office jail guard is just 15 years old.

Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia announced the arrest this afternoon, saying Leonard Moreno, a 15-year-old, drug-dealing gangster, is the one accused of shooting Officer Jorge Vargas outside his home last month.

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Alexis Urbina, 17-Year-Old Boxing Champ, Killed in Phoenix

Categories: Death Valley
Alexis Urbina's Twitter
Alexis Urbina (right), after his youth championship fight in April.

A 17-year-old national boxing champion who was training for the 2016 Olympics has died.

Phoenix police say Alexis Urbina-Ochoa's death is currently being treated as a homicide, although the autopsy results still aren't in.

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Rajneesh Saini of Tempe Shot 3-Month-Old Son to Death Before Committing Suicide, Cops Say

Categories: Death Valley
Alan Cleaver via Flickr

Police believe a 25-year-old Tempe resident fatally shot his 3-month-old son before committing suicide.

Rajneesh Saini was at a family gathering at a home in Chandler when he went out to his vehicle and committed the murder/suicide, police believe.

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Adrienne Salinas Case Not Obvious Homicide, But Location of Body a "Big Concern," Police Say

Categories: Death Valley

Adrienne Salinas' remains were found August 6 in Apache Junction.
The Adrienne Salinas death investigation isn't necessarily a homicide case, as police had indicated yesterday, Tempe police say this afternoon.

Investigators saw no obvious signs of foul play during their preliminary look at the 19-year-old Tempe woman's remains, which were found in Apache Junction last week, says Sergeant Mike Pooley, police spokesman. But, he adds, it's too early in the investigation to say what happened to the woman, whose body was badly decomposed.

The fact that she was found in a wash is a "big concern," Pooley says.

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Barry Jordan, Accused Pervert Whose Bad Driving Killed an 11-Year-Old, Found Guilty but Insane

Categories: Death Valley

Maricopa County Superior Court
Barry Jordan, at a recent court hearing.
Barry Jordan, the accused pervert whose red-light-running spree in 2011 resulted in a crash that killed an 11-year-old girl, has been found guilty but insane.

The decision by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dawn Bergin means that Jordan will be incarcerated at the Arizona State Prison for a term yet to be set. He'll be under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board, which may decide at some point that Jordan is no longer a danger to anyone and release him. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 30.

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