Father’s Sagittarius, brother pleads guilty | Latest news

SHOW LOW – John Russell Thomas, 28, who led police and sheriff deputies in a six-hour manhunt in June 2019, has faced six charges and one felony charge for allegedly shooting his father and brother and assaulting his girlfriend had by choking her early in the morning of June 2019, on the 1000 block of Deer Park Drive in Show Low.

The case came up for an evidence hearing in the courtroom of Navajo County Superior Court Judge Ralph Hatch on Tuesday, and Thomas ultimately pleaded guilty to two cases of attempted second degree murder (of the father and brother) and a charge of aggravated assault against the Girlfriend.

According to Show Low Police, Thomas shot the two men trying to intervene while Thomas allegedly tried to strangle his girlfriend Maria Rosalez at 3:46 a.m. during a domestic argument in a trailer next to an apartment

The two gunshot victims, father Raymond and brother Tyler, were flown to the Valley for treatment and have recovered. On June 11, 2019, a grand jury submitted its indictment on a total of eight points.

Thomas demanded “involuntary poisoning” in his defense through the lawyer Criss Candelaria von Concho. Candelaria once served as the Apache County’s elected attorney.

He planned to provide evidence that Thomas’ drink was fortified by a person who was himself murdered on Show Low during a trip outside Joe Tank Road in March 2020.

Navajo County Deputy Attorney Patrick Zincola is representing the State of Arizona on the case. On Tuesday, Zincola informed the court that the male victims had been shot “several times”.

When a person is involuntarily drunk, it can be assumed that they were not willful, knowledgeable, or reckless in establishing a crime because they did not know what they were doing, and that appears to be what the defense attorney was betting on. In fact, Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled as an evidence hearing to resolve various legal issues before the case went to jury.

Last year, Candelaria petitioned the court for the carpet in the trailer next to the house where the incident occurred to be preserved so that stains from spilled beverages can be examined for drugs. That motion was made for a hearing on August 26th last year, but it turns out that the landlord / owner has already replaced and discarded the old carpet.

In July, a review of court records found that two of the most serious charges were listed as actual “second degree murder” rather than the “attempted second degree murder” that was reported.

During a break in the courthouse, the Independent asked Candelaria whether the father and brother had died and whether the charges had been increased.

Candelaria remarked dryly that he didn’t believe it, considering that the father and brother happened to be in the courtroom, right behind the reporter.

The male victims reappeared on Tuesday, and the friend wrote a letter to the judge about her views on what should happen to Thomas.

The woman’s letter was not read in court on Tuesday, so her position is unknown. But when the judge confirmed receipt of the letter, it was clear that a settlement agreement was in the works.

Thomas is a tall man with a buzz cut. He was one of two prisoners who were brought for a hearing, accompanied by two armed detention officers. His appearance is similar to that of his brother and father. The lawyers showed up on time, but Candelaria was shuttling between two other courtrooms that morning.

When proceedings to change the pleading got underway, Thomas pleaded guilty to the two charges of attempted murder and advocated “no competition” on the asphyxiation charges.

A non-appeal ground means that the defendant would not admit the charges but, on their own grounds, would not dispute the state’s evidence relating to that charge.

The court asked Zincola and Candelaria why they did not contest the third charge, and one of them mumbled something that it was in the interests of justice. An objection of non-appeal leads to a guilty verdict. The other charges are likely to be dropped upon conviction.

In terms of sentencing, the agreement gives the judge a great deal of leeway in the number of years Thomas will spend in prison.

The agreement states that he will not be sentenced to more than “presumed imprisonment” on the charges; That means no more than five years for attempted murder charges and two and a half years for assault. It could also receive less than the expected number of years.

The judge decides whether the years he imposes run consecutively (one term begins only after another ends) or concurrently, which means that while Thomas is serving one sentence on an indictment, Thomas is simultaneously serving the time on the other . Candelaria has reduced this to a range between three years, the lighter sentence for the attempted murder charge if the judgments are all running at the same time, and 12½ years if Thomas receives the presumed sentences for each charge and the judge “stacks” them, like it’s called. There is no chance of parole, but Thomas could receive a 15% discount off the total for good behavior.

Candelaria told the court that they are planning a damage control hearing that could last a few hours. He intended to call the two male shooting victims and one more of Thomas’ brothers, he said. By the way, Hatch won’t be the judge because he’s leaving the bank after a long tenure there. Nobody knows who the new judge will be; Hatch speculated that it might be a retired judge, but in any case, that the sentencing judge will be “qualified,” he said.

The verdict is scheduled for July 22nd.

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