Maricopa County Attorney’s Office officials said a weekend of violence in the East Valley and Phoenix hit a record high for 2022 with six homicides.
Among the crimes were brutal killings in Mesa where a man was stabbed up to 70 times at a city intersection and another in which a driver hit the victim with his car, returned to drive over him and them stomp on his head.
Typically, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office receives submittals from law enforcement for two to three homicides to review for charges that occur over a weekend, according to a release.
“These are six families who are grieving, six loved ones who were unexpectedly taken, and every case has a different set of facts and evidence that must be reviewed by our office,” County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said. “A victim in one of these homicides is a 15-year-old teenager.”
Other weekends throughout the year have seen higher than normal numbers but not as significant as this past weekend, officials said.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, violent crime across the country went up by 5.6% between 2019 and 2020. New numbers for violent crime are expected to be released this fall.
According to the release, prosecutors have to review evidence and make a charging decision within 48 business hours of a suspect’s arrest.
“Without charges, the suspect may be released back into the community. A homicide prosecutor carries anywhere between 10 and 12 cases but currently carrying heavier caseloads due to a prosecutor shortage in the office,” the release stated.
“These six homicides are roughly half of a case load for one prosecutor. To have this number of homicides in a weekend is a significant number for our office and more importantly for this community,” Mitchell said.