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Friday, April 23, 2021

Press Releases

National Crime Victims' Rights Week in Yavapai County

 - The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office announces National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to raise awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights and introduce the community to the important resources and services available.

Two Dewey-Humboldt Men Found Guilty of Attempted First Degree Murder

 - On Friday, March 26, 2021, a Yavapai County Jury found Bruce Dale Moore, 69, of Humboldt, and Dwight William Elia, 50, of Dewey, guilty of Attempted First-Degree Murder, three counts of Aggravated Assault, and two counts of Disorderly Conduct.

Mayer Man Found Guilty of Multiple Sex Offenses with Minor

 - On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, Jerad Lee Halterman, 30, of Mayer, was found guilty by a Yavapai County jury of three counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor, and one count each of Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation and Aggravated Luring of a Minor.

Cottonwood Man gets 33 Years Prison for Sexual Assault

 - On February 17, 2021, the Honorable Thomas Kelley sentenced Humberto Antonio Moreno, age 36, of Cottonwood, to 33.5 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Mr. Moreno pled guilty on January 27, 2021, to three counts of Sexual Assault, and one count each of Attempted Sexual Assault, Kidnapping and a dangerous Aggravated Assault.

Cruz Second Degree Murder Case Dismissed

 - The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office filed today in superior court a motion to dismiss the second-degree murder charges against Cecilio Cruz. Two weeks ago, a mistrial was declared in the case after a Yavapai County jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict after ten hours of deliberation.

County Attorney’s Office to Dismiss Pending Marijuana Charges Included in Proposition 207

 - On November 3, 2020, voters in Arizona approved Proposition 207, an initiative that decriminalized personal possession and use of marijuana in an amount less than one ounce and limits personal cultivation of marijuana by a person age twenty-one (21) and older. The effective date of Proposition 207 will be in approximately 30 days. The County Attorney’s Office will begin implementing the will of the voters immediately.

Prescott Valley Man Sentenced to Prison for Fentanyl Drug Sales

 - Jeffrey Richard Wagner, 28 years old of Prescott Valley, was sentenced today to 10 years flat time in the Arizona State Prison by the Honorable Krista Carman of the Yavapai County Superior Court. Wagner pled guilty on October 23, 2020, to two counts of Possession of Narcotic Drugs for Sale (Fentanyl and Heroin) with one prior historical conviction, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Misconduct Involving Weapons.

Transient Man Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Assault and Other Crimes

 - On Friday, October 30, 2020, the Honorable Krista M. Carman of the Yavapai County Superior Court sentenced Sterling Austin Hinckley, 24, to the Arizona State Prison for a total of 12 years. Hinckley pled guilty on September 25, 2020, to Sexual Assault, Trafficking in Stolen Property, Forgery, Possession or Use of Narcotic Drugs, and Misconduct Involving Weapons from two separate cases.

Cottonwood Man Found Guilty by Jury of Drug Sales

 - On Thursday, October 22, 2020, David Alexander Bremner, 54, of Cottonwood, was convicted by a Yavapai County jury of Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Sale, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Spiritous Liquor in Motor Vehicle.

Hughes Awarded State Bar Criminal Justice Award

 - The Arizona State Bar has announced its 2020 Award Winners, awarding to Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Bill Hughes the Michael C. Cudahy Criminal Justice Award. This award is presented annually to a criminal law prosecutor who has worked tirelessly to advance the principles of criminal justice by representing the public’s interest with integrity, fairness, tenacity, creativity, brilliance, and, above all, professionalism. Mr. Hughes will receive the award at the State Bar Annual Convention in December.

Camp Verde Man Sentenced to Prison for Second Degree Murder

 - On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, the Honorable Michael Bluff of the Yavapai County Superior Court sentenced Jesse Michael Etienne, 21, of Camp Verde, Arizona, to the Arizona State Prison for 16 years. Etienne was found guilty of Second Degree Murder by a Yavapai County Jury on January 31, 2020 and pled “no contest” to the charges of Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, both class six felonies, prior to the trial commencing.

Jury Finds Prescott Man Guilty of Aggravated Assault, Other Charges

 - On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, Richard James Brannan, 41, of Prescott, was convicted by a Yavapai County jury of Aggravated Assault, Criminal Trespass, and Resisting Arrest. The trial judge, the Honorable Krista Carman, found Brannan guilty of the additional offense of Criminal Damage.

Arizona Experiencing Increase in Methamphetamine

 - Arizona is experiencing a devastating increase of sellers and users of methamphetamine due to increased production of the drug and declining costs, according to a new report just released by the Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership (ASAP). Between 2015 to 2019, the retail price of meth decreased 58% while during the same period, federal, state, and local law enforcement saw a 342% increase in methamphetamine seizures. Fatal overdoses involving methamphetamine have also risen.
See Also:  Methamphetamine - AZ Data Trends, Interdiction, and Statewide Prevention

Intoxicated Driver Who Caused Collision Given Four Months in Prison

 - On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the Honorable Thomas K. Kelley of the Yavapai County Superior Court, sentenced Peter Timothy Bihari, 67 years old of Prescott, to four months in the Arizona State Prison, followed by 5 years probation. Bihari pled guilty on July 28, 2020 to one count of Endangerment and one count of Aggravated Driving Under the Influence.

Meth Fueled Attack Leads to Prison

 - Honorable John D. Napper of the Yavapai County Superior Court has sentenced Tyler Lee Sherman, 29 years old of Prescott, to 18 years in the Arizona State Prison. Sherman pled guilty on July 14, 2020, to Unlawful Imprisonment and 3 counts of Aggravated Assault.

Cordes Lakes Man Sentenced to 70 Years in Prison for Child Sex Crimes

 - This morning, the Honorable Krista M. Carman, sentenced Mercury J. Merritt, 34 years old of Cordes Lakes, to the Arizona State Prison for 70 years. Merritt pled guilty on July 27, 2020, on the charges of two counts of Child Molestation, five counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Under the Age of 15, and four counts of Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Under the Age of 15.

Prescott Woman Sentenced to Prison for Charges Stemming from Murder of her Mother

 - The Honorable John D. Napper of the Yavapai County Superior Court has sentenced 48-year-old Tara Lynn Aven of Prescott to 17 years in the state prison. Aven pled guilty on June 1, 2020, to the charges of Hindering Prosecution in the First Degree Involving Murder, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, Theft, and two counts of Forgery.

Massage Therapist Given 24 Years Prison for Sexual Assault

 - A massage therapist working in the Sedona area has been sentenced to 24 years in state prison by the Honorable Michael Bluff of the Yavapai County Superior Court. Aaron Orrico, age 49 of Rimrock, AZ, was sentenced on May 14, 2020, for three separate counts of Sexual Assault.

Cottonwood Man Sent to Prison for Domestic Violence Charges

 - Honorable Michael Bluff of the Yavapai County Superior Court has sentenced a 38-year old Cottonwood man to five years in prison for acts of domestic violence. On June 1, 2020, Ryan Christopher Wheeler was sentenced to the state prison on charges of Aggravated Assault, Criminal Damage, and Resisting Arrest.

Charges Dismissed Against Two Men Hauling Hemp and Marijuana On Interstate 40

 - On March 25, 2020, a narcotics detective with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on I-40 near Ash Fork on a vehicle driven and occupied by two Oregon men, driver Christopher Tinsley, age 43, and passenger Gordon Peppers, age 52-year old. During the traffic stop, Tinsley and Peppers stated they were transporting hemp to Texas from Oregon. At the conclusion of a roadside investigation, Tinsley and Peppers were arrested on charges of illegal possession and transportation of over 400 pounds of marijuana.

Drugs, Weapons and High Speed Chase on Route 66 Land Man in Prison

 - Cody Wayne Stangl, 31 of Phoenix, was sentenced to 3 years in the Arizona state prison by Honorable Thomas Kelly of the Yavapai County Superior Court on May 28, 2020. Judge Kelly accepted Stangl’s plea of guilty to Misconduct Involving Weapons, Forgery, Possession of Dangerous Drugs, and Unlawful Flight From Law Enforcement, all felonies.

County Attorney Announces Outstanding Employee Awards

 - Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney, has announced the winners of the annual outstanding employee awards. “All of the employees in this office are top-notch, making these annual selections a very rewarding but tough process,” said Polk. “This past year, our office handled some horrific crimes. Yavapai County is truly fortunate to have so many dedicated folks working hard to keep our communities safe.”

Rimrock Man Sentenced to Prison for Selling Fentanyl

 - A Rimrock man, arrested on April 13 in Cottonwood by PANT (Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking) for possessing a large number of fentanyl pills with intent to sell, has been sentenced to 3 years prison.

County Attorney Receives #10,000 For 3rd Annual Arizona Drug Summit

 - The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office has been awarded $10,000.00 from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to support the upcoming 3rd Annual Arizona Drug Summit. The two-day Summit will be held in Phoenix on September 14-15, 2020.

Walk With Me, Be Drug-Free Event Converted to Virtual Walk

 - MATFORCE announces that the Walk With Me, Be Drug-Free event, previously scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2020, at Mortimer Farms, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. In its place, MATFORCE invites the public to take a virtual walk on Saturday, April 4.

"Walk With Me, Be Drug Free" Event

 - Matforce invites the public to Mortimer Farms on Saturday, March 28, 2020, for a free family-friendly event. 

Rimrock Massage Therapist Found Guilty

 - On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, a Yavapai County Jury found Aaron Orrico, 49, of Rimrock, AZ, guilty of three counts of Sexual Assault.

Polk awarded Outstanding Elected Official

 - Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk has been awarded the Outstanding Arizona Elected Official of the Year by the Arizona Rural Health Association (AzRHA).

Press Release from ACJC

 - Today, the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) announced that Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk was re-elected to a second term as the Commission’s Chairperson and City of Maricopa Chief of Police Steve Stahl was elected as Vice-Chairperson at the Commission’s January meeting.

New Online AZPOINT System Posed to Improve Public Safety

 - Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney, who serves as Chair for the Arizona Criminal Justice System (ACJC), wants to call your attention to the ACJC press release announcing that AZPOINT has gone live statewide.

Yavpai County Attorney's Office Announces Plan to Launch Pretrial Diversion Program for Drug Offenders

 - The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office announced today plans to launch a Pretrial Diversion Program. The purpose of the program will be to provide an alternative method to hold low level offenders—whose offense has a nexus to substance abuse—accountable for violations of the law through participation in an evidence-based education or treatment program that targets factors related to recidivism.

Two Yavapai County Prosecutors Win National Award

 - Deputy Yavapai County attorneys Steve Young and Robert Johnson were given awards for Outstanding Advocacy in Capital and Complex Homicide Cases. The awards ceremony took place during the national conference of the Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation (“AGACL”) last week in Austin, Texas.

Yavapai County Attorney Honors Outstanding Employees During Annual Luncheon

 - The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office recognized outstanding attorneys and staff during its Annual Luncheon held in March. Attendees also enjoyed a keynote presentation by Joanna Burton from the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame, who regaled the audience with Arizona’s softball history and tales of the early days.

ASU College of Law Honors Two Prescott Attorneys

 - Two local attorneys have been recognized as outstanding alumni by the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney, and Robert “Bob” Schmitt of Murphy, Schmitt, Hathaway Wilson & Becke were honored at a luncheon on April 11, 2019 for their significant achievements in their professional fields and their contributions to their local and national communities.

Yavapai County Attorney Receives Award for Opioid Prevention Effort

 - Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk was among a group of individuals and agencies recognized by Arizona HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) for their work to reduce opioid misuse, abuse, addiction and death. The honorees, called the Arizona Opioid Response Group, received the award for Outstanding Prevention Effort on July 17, 2018, at the annual Arizona HIDTA Awards Ceremony. 

Yavapai County Attorney Honors Outstanding Employees During Annual Luncheon

 - The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office awarded outstanding attorneys and staff during its Annual Luncheon held in March. Attendees also enjoyed a keynote presentation by Fred Veil, executive director of the Sharlot Hall Museum, who regaled the audience with the history of the county and some law and order tales of the early days.

Arizona Law Enforcement Lauded by Holocaust Memorial Museum

 - On March 15, 2018, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum presented to Arizona law enforcement professionals, including Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, the Leadership Tribute Award for their work in learning and disseminating lessons from the Holocaust.

Press Release - $15,500 Recovered For Elderly Couple of Fraud

 - Using Arizona's civil asset forfeiture laws, the Cottonwood Police Department and Yavapai County Attorney's Office quickly seized $15,500 from a fraud scheme and returned it through court action to an elderly couple.

$30,000 Recovered for Elderly Victim of Fraud

 - Using Arizona's civil asset forfeiture laws, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and Yavapai County Attorney's Office quickly seized $30,000 from a fraud scheme and returned it through court action to an elderly victim.

Yavapai County Prosecutor Recognized by AZ GOHS

 - Michael McGill, a deputy Yavapai County Attorney, has been recognized by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety as the Outstanding Felony DUI (Driving While Impaired) Prosecutor for Arizona.

Horne-Winn Matter

 - County Attorney Polk Issues Order Requiring Compliance to Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn for Campaign Violations

State v. James Foster Jr.

 - Cottonwood Man Found Guilty of Aggravated DUI and Unlawful Flight

State v. Nicholas Tavasci

 - A 26 Year Old Cottonwood Man Guilty of Five Counts of Aggravated Driving

State v. Atchison

 - Drug Dealer Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

State v. Ayala-Martinez

 - Two Time Convicted Drug Dealer Sentenced to 13 Years in Prision

State v. Garcia

 - Prescott Valley Man Guilty of Aggravated Assault per Domestic Violence

State v. Honahni

 - Tuba City Woman Found Guilty by Jury

Sheila Polk

County Attorney

Elected 2000


Primary Business Address:
255 E Gurley Street
Prescott, AZ 86301
Phone: (928) 771-3344
Fax: (928) 771-3110

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