PHOENIX — A “record” number of murder cases are being investigated in Maricopa County after a violent weekend led to the killings of six people, according to the county's top prosecutor.
Two people were killed in Mesa on Friday in separate incidents. Another two were stabbed to death on Saturday in Mesa and Phoenix.
And two more people were shot dead on Sunday in the Phoenix area. One of the victims was 15-year-old Elias Longoria from Guadalupe.
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The slayings marked an unprecedented amount of homicide investigations for 2022, according to the office of County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.
Mitchell’s office said on Tuesday that prosecutors normally conduct two or three arraignments for homicide after a typical weekend. This weekend saw double that amount.
It’s become an issue for Mitchell's office because of a shortage of prosecutors coupled with Arizona’s 48-hour window to charge an arrested suspect with a crime.
If the county’s office can’t complete the paperwork within two days, even a homicide suspect must be set free because of their right to a speedy trial.
“To have this number of homicides in a weekend is a significant number for our office, and more importantly for this community,” Mitchell said in a statement.
An FBI report found violent crime cases rose 5.6% across the county between 2019 and 2020. A new report is expected later this year.
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