September 6th, 2013
07:54 PM ET

Arizona woman once on death row goes free

For the first time in well over a decade - and months since a federal judge overturned her murder conviction - Debra Milke is free.

A short time after the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office indicated she would be leaving, video showed someone who appeared to be Milke being driven away Friday from the Lower Buckeye Jail in Phoenix. Sheriff's office spokesman Brandon Jones subsequently confirmed that Milke had been released.

A jury convicted Milke of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, child abuse and kidnapping on October 12, 1990, less than a year after her 4-year-old son was found dead. She was sentenced to death a few months later.

But this March, a federal judge tossed Milke's conviction after her ruling she did not receive a fair trial.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Arizona
July 1st, 2013
11:41 PM ET

Loss of 19 firefighters 'unbearable'

They were part of an elite squad confronting wildfires on the front line, setting up barriers to stop the spreading destruction. But in their unpredictable world, it doesn't take much to turn a situation deadly.

In this case, a wind shift and other factors caused a central Arizona fire, which now spans 8,400 acres, to become erratic, said Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman.

Though the deaths are under investigation, the inferno appears to have proved too much, even for the shelters the 19 firefighters carried as a last-ditch survival tool.

"The fuels were very dry, the relative humidity was low, the wind was coming out of the south. It turned around on us because of monsoon action," Reichling told CNN affiliate KNXV. "That's what caused the deaths.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Arizona
June 18th, 2013
01:51 AM ET

Man points fake grenade launcher at cars

A man who paraded his cloaked 16-year-old nephew around a busy Phoenix intersection with a fake rocket-propelled grenade launcher was convicted Monday on endangerment and terrorism hoax charges.

Michael David Turley, 40, posted a video on YouTube showing the teen walking around the streets covered in a sheet and pointing the fake weapon at cars. The video went viral with over 250,000 hits.

In the video, a man says he and an actor are trying to test how police would respond to such a scene at a busy intersection.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Justice • U.S.
June 17th, 2013
01:44 PM ET

Justices strike part of Ariz. voter law

The Supreme Court on Monday tossed out a provision in Arizona's voter registration law that required proof of citizenship.

The 7-2 majority said the state's voter-approved Proposition 200 interfered with federal law designed to make voter registration easier.

The state called the provision a "sensible precaution" to prevent voter fraud. Civil rights group countered that it added an unconstitutional and burdensome layer of paperwork for tens of thousands of citizens.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Arizona • Courts
Jury begins weighing if Jodi Arias gets death
An Arizona jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder earlier this month.
May 21st, 2013
06:21 PM ET

Jury begins weighing if Jodi Arias gets death

Jurors in Arizona began deliberating Tuesday whether Jodi Arias will receive the death penalty or life in prison for killing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008.

The jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder earlier this month.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Arizona • Courts • Justice
Arias could face death penalty, jury decides
Arias sobbed in the courtroom as prosecutors presented evidence.
May 15th, 2013
09:48 PM ET

Arias could face death penalty, jury decides

Jodi Arias could face the death penalty, nearly five years after she stabbed, shot and almost decapitated her ex-boyfriend.

A jury Wednesday found that Arias was "exceptionally cruel" when she murdered Travis Alexander in 2008. That verdict is a key step that makes Arias, 32, eligible for the death penalty in the next phase of her trial.

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Filed under: Arizona • Justice
April 16th, 2013
03:37 AM ET

Immigration bill: Must secure border

The border with Mexico must be secure.

This requirement is the cornerstone of an immigration reform bill a bipartisan group of senators are to file on Capitol Hill Tuesday. There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it.

Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent "unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States."

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Explosive device found in package to Ariz. sheriff
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks next to his wife Ava Arpaio on election night in November.
April 12th, 2013
07:18 AM ET

Explosive device found in package to Ariz. sheriff

Authorities intercepted a suspicious package with explosives that was addressed to tough-talking Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

U.S. Postal Inspector Andrew Rivas in Flagstaff screened the package Thursday and realized it was suspicious enough to call the local police bomb squad and the FBI.

"We evacuated the post office, got all our employees to safety," Rivas told CNN affiliate KTVK.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Flagstaff police X-rayed the package and neutralized it Thursday night.


Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Joe Arpaio
April 2nd, 2013
03:54 AM ET

40 years after fire, man to go free

What is it like to be thrown behind bars when you're 16 and told you'll languish there for the rest of your life? All for a crime you adamantly claim you didn't commit.

Louis Taylor knows.

He was convicted of arson in a fire that killed 29 people.

On Tuesday, at a retrial in Tucson, Arizona, he will plead 'no contest' and walk free. After almost 43 years.

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Filed under: Arizona • Christmas • Courts • Crime • Holidays • Justice • U.S.
March 29th, 2013
06:42 PM ET

SEAL Team Six member killed in accident

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed and another was injured in a training accident in Arizona, a U.S. Department of Defense official said Friday.

The SEAL who was killed belonged to SEAL Team Six, the elite squad from which a team was selected to go after Osama bin Laden in Pakistan two years ago, a source said.

The accident occurred Thursday at a U.S. Special Operations Command parachute testing and training facility at Pinal Airpark, Arizona.

The SEALs were transported to the University of Arizona Medical Center, where one remains hospitalized, the official said.

The accident is under investigation, the official said.

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Filed under: Accidents • Arizona • Military • U.S. • U.S. Navy
Ariz. AG to appeal overturned murder conviction
A federal judge on Thursday overturned Debra Milke's murder conviction and death sentence
March 15th, 2013
03:46 PM ET

Ariz. AG to appeal overturned murder conviction

Arizona will appeal a judge's decision to overturn the murder conviction and death sentence of Debra Milke, the state's attorney general announced Friday.

A jury convicted Milke of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, child abuse and kidnapping on October 12, 1990, less than a year after her 4-year-old son was found dead. She was sentenced to death a few months later.

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Filed under: Arizona • Courts • Crime
February 5th, 2013
07:14 PM ET

Yuma students released following report of gun, lockdown

[Posted at 7:14 p.m. ET] No gun was found, no injuries were reported and no arrests were made after police were told of a possible sighting of a student with a gun at a Yuma, Arizona, elementary school, CNN affiliate KYMA reported.

Two elementary schools and some preschools were put on lockdown Tuesday morning because of the possible sighting. Students were sent home by the afternoon, though some of them were first bused to a Yuma elementary school that hadn't been locked down, KYMA reported.

[Posted at 1:51 p.m. ET] Three schools in the Yuma, Arizona, area have been put on lockdown as a precautionary measure because of a possible sighting of a student with a gun, the Yuma Police Department said.

Officers are investigating reports that a student might have been seen with a gun this morning at Yuma's Rancho Viejo Elementary School, police said.

That school, plus nearby Salida Del Sol Elementary School and a preschool, have been locked down, according to the department.

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Filed under: Arizona • Education
January 30th, 2013
04:32 PM ET

Suspect sought in Phoenix office shooting

Phoenix police said Wednesday they were searching for a suspect in the shooting of three people in an office building.
One person was severely wounded, but none of the injuries was life-threatening, Phoenix Police Public Information Officer James Holmes said.
The building houses several medical-related business.
The suspect, a white man in his mid-60s, may have fled the scene in a white vehicle, according to Holmes, who cited witnesses.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Arizona • Gun violence
Woman's brilliant response to neighbor's elaborate Christmas display: 'Ditto'
Why try to out-do your neighbor when you can be this creative?
December 12th, 2012
11:43 AM ET

Woman's brilliant response to neighbor's elaborate Christmas display: 'Ditto'

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. All the gift shopping, fighting over whether you really need to go to Aunt Clara's house this year and of course the songs you hear repeatedly in any store while you attempt to shop.

We're not Grinches, though, we swear. We love a good holiday display, even if some of us happen to find it time-consuming. And we may have found our favorite decoration of the year.

FULL POST

Loughner sentenced to life in prison without parole
Jared Loughner, who pleaded guilty to a 2011 mass shooting, will be sentenced Thursday.
November 8th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

Loughner sentenced to life in prison without parole

Editor's note: Jared Loughner, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to the January 2011 attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole. The shooting at a meet-and-greet in Tucson killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords. Below are details from inside and outside the courthouse as we received them.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m.] Today's sentencing means Jared Loughner "will never again be free to hurt or menace the American public," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a news release.

FULL POST

'Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered'
Gabrielle Giffords during the final day of the Democratic National Convention
November 8th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

'Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered'

Editor's note: Jared Loughner, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to the January 2011 attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will be sentenced Thursday. The shooting at a meet-and-greet in Tucson killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords. Her husband, Mark Kelly, will speak on her behalf at the sentencing. Below is his statement in full.

Mr. Loughner, for the first and last time, you are going to hear directly from Gabby and me about what you took away on January 8th, 2011 and, just as important, what you did not. So pay attention.

That bright and chilly Saturday morning, you killed six innocent people. Daughters and sons. Mothers and fathers. Grandparents and friends. They were devoted to their families, their communities, their places of worship.

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Giffords to attend Loughner's sentencing Thursday, source says
Jared Loughner, who pleaded guilty to a 2011 mass shooting, will be sentenced Thursday
November 7th, 2012
09:19 PM ET

Giffords to attend Loughner's sentencing Thursday, source says

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will attend Thursday's sentencing of the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to shooting her in the head, a source close to Giffords said.

Prosecutors have said Jared Loughner will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the January 2011 shooting, which killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords, at a meet-and-greet event in Tucson.

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Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Gabrielle Giffords
August 8th, 2012
12:32 AM ET

CNN Prime Time: Ex-stepmom talks about Wisconsin temple shooter; Loughner pleads guilty to Tucson shooting

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Ex-Stepmom: Suspected shooter 'kind'

The former stepmother of the Wisconsin temple shooter talks to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about Wade Michael Page's life as a child, before he joined the military.

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Loughner's mom cries as charges read

Kyung Lah shares what she saw in the courtroom when Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty to the mass shooting outside a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket.

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Shark attack victim: ‘I was caught in a vice’

Piers Morgan talks to a man who survived an encounter with a great white shark off Cape Cod.

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Fast facts: 2011 Tucson shooting
August 7th, 2012
06:12 PM ET

Fast facts: 2011 Tucson shooting

Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged gunman in last year's mass shooting outside an Arizona supermarket in Tucson that killed six persons and wounded then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 19 charges in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty. Here are the fast facts about the case:

What happened

  • January 8, 2011: Six people are killed and 13 wounded at a "Congress on Your Corner" event sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, at a  grocery store. Giffords is shot in the head but survives.
  •  January 9, 2011: Suspect Jared Lee Loughner is charged in federal court with five counts: the attempted assassination of a member of Congress; the murders of Gabe Zimmerman and Judge John Roll; and the attempted murders of Pamela Simon and Ron Barber.
  •  August 7, 2012: Loughner pleads guilty to 19 charges in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty.

Jared Lee Loughner

  • Born September 10, 1988
  • 2006: Loughner drops out of high school after his junior year, reportedly after being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.
  • 2007:  Loughner is arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, but the charges are dismissed.
  • 2007: Loughner meets Giffords at a community event. He develops a fixation on the congresswoman after he is unsatisfied with her answer to his question.
  • 2008: Tries to enlist in the Army but is rejected after failing a drug test.
  • 2010: Loughner is suspended from Pima Community College after displaying erratic behavior. He is told he can't return to campus unless he presents a doctor's note saying he is not a danger to himself or others. He voluntarily withdraws from the school.

A timeline of events:

  • November 30, 2010 – 22-year-old Jared Loughner purchases a 9mm pistol at a Tucson area gun store.
  • January 8, 2011 – About two and a half hours before the shootings, he is stopped by an Arizona Game and Fish Department officer for running a red light and is let go with a verbal warning.
  • January 8, 2011 – About 30 minutes before the shootings, Loughner takes a cab from a convenience store to the Safeway grocery store where Giffords' event is being held.
  • January 8, 2011 – (10:10 a.m.) -  Loughner allegedly opens fire on a crowd of people at the Giffords event. Six people are killed and 13 wounded. As Loughner attempts to reload his pistol, he is tackled and disarmed by several bystanders.
  • January 9, 2011 – Loughner is formally charged with five counts in federal court: the attempted assassination of a member of Congress; the murders of Gabe Zimmerman and Judge John Roll; and the attempted murders of Pamela Simon and Ron Barber.
  • January 10, 2011 – Loughner faces his first court appearance to formally hear the charges against him.
  • January 19, 2011 – A federal grand jury in Arizona indicts Loughner.
  • January 24, 2011 – Loughner pleads not guilty to all charges against him.
  • February 11, 2011 – Prosecutors file a procedural motion to dismiss two murder charges against Loughner, though they intend to refile the charges under a superseding indictment.
  • March 4, 2012 – Federal prosecutors file an additional 49 federal charges against Loughner.
  • March 9, 2011 - U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns enters "not guilty" pleas on behalf of  Loughner on 49 counts, including murder and attempted murder.
  • March 22, 2011 -  Burns orders Loughner to undergo a mental evaluation in Springfield, Missouri, no later than April 29.
  • May 25, 2011 -  Burns rules that Loughner is not competent to stand trial.
  • May 27, 2011 – Loughner arrives at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.
  • June 29, 2011 – Burns sides with prison doctors and rejects a motion from defense attorneys to stop Loughner's forced medication.
  • July 7, 2011 – Before a federal appeals panel, the defense argues that forcing Loughner to take mind-altering psychotropic drugs violates his rights.
  • July 12, 2011 – The federal court rules Loughner has not been convicted of a crime, therefore he has the right to refuse to take anti-psychotic medication.
  • July 22, 2011 – A federal appeals panel reverses the July 12 decision and orders that authorities can force Loughner to take anti-psychotic medication. Prosecutors had argued that his mental state is deteriorating and he is suicidal.
  • August 31, 2011 – An appeals court in San Francisco hears arguments from Loughner's lawyers to try to end the forcible medication. They argue that criminal defendants have a constitutional right to refuse mental treatment when the government's primary goal is to make suspects competent enough to be convicted and possibly sentenced to death.
  • September 28, 2011 – Judge Burns extends Loughner's treatment at a Missouri medical treatment facility for four more months, at which time Loughner's competency will be re-evaluated.
  •  January 8, 2012 -  Giffords attends a vigil in Tucson marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting. She leads the crowd of thousands in the Pledge of Allegiance and later lights a memorial candle for the six people killed.
  • January 25, 2012 – In front of the U.S. House of Representatives, Giffords resigns from office via statement read by U.S. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
  • August 7, 2012  – Burns determines that Loughner is competent to stand trial in a federal court in Tucson. Loughner pleads guilty to 19 charges in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty.
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Overheard on CNN.com: Are there winners, losers in immigration policy debate?
Readers are debating pros and cons of the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's controversial immigration law.
June 25th, 2012
05:24 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Are there winners, losers in immigration policy debate?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down key parts of an Arizona law that sought to deter illegal immigration. The court also let stand a controversial provision that lets police check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws if "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is in the United States illegally. Some readers kept metaphorical scorecards weighing each side's views about heavier enforcement and possible consequences. With all this debate, are there points where most people can agree?

Supreme Court mostly rejects Arizona immigration law; gov says 'heart' remains

Some of our readers said Arizona got a raw deal.

Bob Jones: "So Arizona is screwed. The Fed won't enforce its own laws and Arizona is told to sit down and shut up and take it with a smile. Thanks for nothing, SCOTUS. This is the first step. Eventually the people will have had enough."

eddiev5: "I think public opinion polls pretty much show time and time again what people are looking for. And it has nothign to do with the rhetoric you hear from the Democratic Party. On this issue, the Republicans are correct."

Gus Seals: "Actually this is a win, it builds a bigger picture over time how the feds are cooking the books on the number of illegals. The state can use the federal resources to check legal status so says the court. In the long run if the state says we stopped ten thousand illegals and the feds refused to do their job, it is not going to look good politically."

For many, Arizona got a big win.

Chaz: "I love how CNN tries to make this seem like Arizona lost here. They got exactly what they wanted and I say good for them. I have a very hard time with commenters from the East Coast who are just so full of 'forward thinking' opinions, but who don't really have a dog in this fight. This is a serious problem for those states who face these issues every day and I'm glad the ability to check a person's legal status is in place. I liked Governor Brewer's laws, as the state of Arizona faces terrible crime and security issues, due to the illlegal aliens. If the Feds can't protect the Arizona citizens, who can? I like the idea of 'self deportation'. The Mexicans think The AMERICAN DREAM is about getting on the government dole. It is about 'freedoms,' not breaking laws. Entering this country illegally was your first mistake. You broke a federal law. If you can't come in the legal way, leave."

Others were excited to see that the state didn't get everything it wanted.

JimmyNelson: "SCOTUS just smacked Jan Brewers hand.. and I like it."

This commenter said they thought Arizona's law is unacceptable. FULL POST

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