Man accused of fatally stabbing pregnant Lyft driver pleads not guilty
PHOENIX — The man accused of fatally stabbing a pregnant Lyft driver in the Phoenix area last month has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Fabian Durazo, 20, pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of armed robbery, theft of means of transportation and kidnapping on Thursday.
He is being held at a Maricopa County jail on a $1 million bond. Durazo is set to appear in court next on March 22.
Durazo is accused of stabbing 39-year-old Kristina Howato in Tempe on Jan. 27 before stealing her vehicle and fleeing toward western Arizona.
Durazo was arrested on the Interstate 10 near Quartzsite after police used GPS technology to locate the vehicle.
While in custody, Durazo admitted to stabbing Howato and taking the SUV, Tempe Police Sgt. Ron Elcock said.
Howato was in her third trimester of pregnancy. She and her unborn child died at a hospital. She left behind two other children, ages 4 and 2.
Authorities believe Durazo ordered the ride share service early that morning with the intention of stealing a vehicle.
There was no indication he was under the influence or that he knew Howato before she picked him up.
It was the first of three known attacks against ride share drivers in the Valley in recent days.
Francisco Diaz, 46, was arrested last week for allegedly slitting the throat of an Uber driver in the West Valley. The unidentified driver was injured, but survived.
An unidentified Uber Eats driver was injured Tuesday night after three suspects confronted him before stealing his car at gunpoint in Phoenix.