Convicted Phoenix murderer indicted for animal cruelty and possessing firearm

Jan 24, 2024, 8:00 PM

PHOENIX — Prosecutors indicted a Phoenix man who was previously convicted for murder of shooting a dog, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

In other words, 38-year-old Ruben Garza has been formally accused of shooting a German Shepard on Jan. 7, according to MCAO.

The dog, Symba, was walking with its owner in the area of Lower Buckeye Road and 99th Avenue at around 10 p.m. before the shooting, according to court documents.

“Symba has had, as a result, to have had his right front leg amputated,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said during a Wednesday press conference.

Symba’s family opened a GoFundMe to help pay his medical bills.

What charges is the convicted Phoenix murderer now facing?

Mitchell’s office filed an indictment against Garza on Jan. 16. He’s now facing these charges:

– Misconduct involving weapons.
– Unlawfully discharging a firearm.
– Disorderly conduct.
– Intentionally subjecting a domestic animal to cruel mistreatment.

All of these counts are felonies.

Prior to the attack, Garza committed second-degree murder on Sept. 10, 2004, according to the Maricopa County Superior Court.

He spent roughly 17 years in prison and was released in 2022, a spokesperson with MCAO told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Garza’s status as a former offender made him a prohibited possessor, Mitchell said. That means he shouldn’t have been possessing a firearm, she said.

Mitchell added that her office is still looking for another suspected animal abuser: Lester Paul Richmond, 35, who is accused of abusing a husky puppy in July 2023.

Anyone with information about Richmond’s whereabouts can call Scottsdale Police at 480-312-8477.

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Convicted Phoenix murderer indicted for animal cruelty and possessing firearm