ARIZONA NEWS

NYC can have murder suspect after he’s tried in Arizona, Maricopa County attorney says

Feb 22, 2024, 1:00 PM | Updated: Feb 23, 2024, 10:49 am

PHOENIX – New York City authorities can get their hands on a man wanted for murder there after he’s been prosecuted for violent crimes in metro Phoenix, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said Thursday, a day after her comments about extradition and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg made national news.

Raad Almansoori, 26, was arrested Sunday in Scottsdale and booked into jail on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, armed robbery and other offenses. He allegedly stabbed two women in separate incidents in Phoenix and Surprise.

Almansoori also is suspected in the death of a woman who was fatally bludgeoned in a New York City hotel room earlier this month. In addition, investigators are trying to determine if he is connected to crimes in Florida and Texas, where he previously lived and has been arrested.

“We have very serious offenses here [in Maricopa County],” Mitchell told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday. “Now, that’s not to say that we’re not ever going to let him go to New York to face the charges there — of course we are. That’s a horrible crime, too. My heart goes out to the to the friends and family of that victim as well as the NYPD that did such a great job putting that case together.”

Mitchell said she expects Almansoori’s prosecution to take over a year, although there are many variables that could affect the timeline.

Why does Arizona prosecutor want to try New York murder suspect first?

On Wednesday, Mitchell implied that she opposed Almansoori’s extradition to New York because she thinks Bragg is soft on crime.

“Having observed the treatment of violent criminals in the New York area by the Manhattan DA there, Alvin Bragg, I think it’s safer to keep him here and keep him in custody so that he cannot be out doing this to individuals either in our state or county or anywhere in the United States,” she said during a press conference about Almansoori’s arrest and detention.

During Thursday’s interview, Mitchell said it wasn’t uncommon for a suspect to be tried in the arresting jurisdiction for serious offenses before being extradited for alleged crimes in other states.

“If he is found guilty of these charges, he is facing a very lengthy prison sentence, and these are very serious offenses,” she said. “We had two of our citizens of Maricopa County stabbed, and we’re going to go first.”

Mitchell said Almansoori is being held without bond.

“While the other state would not have to necessarily honor our bond amount … they have to honor the fact that he is sentenced to prison,” she said. “And so, we’re going to ensure that it is honored, that he is kept in custody, and that’s one of the reasons we’re going first.”

How did Manhattan DA’s Office respond comments about Alvin Bragg?

After Mitchell made her comments about Bragg on Wednesday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office issued a statement saying it was “deeply disturbing that … Mitchell is playing political games in a murder investigation.”

“In Manhattan, we are serious about New Yorkers’ safety, which is why murders are down 24% and shootings are down 38% since DA Bragg took office. New York’s murder rate is less than half of Phoenix, Arizona, because of the hard work of the NYPD and all of our law enforcement partners. It is a slap in the face to them and to the victim in our case to refuse to allow us to seek justice and full accountability for a New Yorker’s death,” the DA’s statement says.

The statement was posted to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, along with a chart comparing the 2022 homicide rate per 100,000 residents in Phoenix, New York City and Manhattan. Phoenix’s rate (11.6) was more than double the New York rates (5.4 for New York City and 5.0 for Manhattan).

Mitchell posted a rebuttal on X.

“It’s great to see the @ManhattanDA finally take interest in violent crime. My job is to focus on the victims I was elected to protect,” she said.

Who is Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell?

Mitchell, a longtime Maricopa County prosecutor, previously was on the national stage when she questioned Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford during the 2018 hearings for Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bragg, a Democrat and Manhattan’s first Black district attorney, has faced a torrent of criticism from Republicans over his prosecutorial decisions.

Mitchell has been the county attorney for metro Phoenix since being appointed to replace Allister Adel in April 2022. The Republican won a special election later that year to complete Adel’s term, which runs through 2024.

Mitchell faces a Republican challenge this year from Gina Godbehere, who also ran in 2022. GOP primary voters will likely choose the next county attorney, as no Democrats have filed statements of interest to run yet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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NYC can have murder suspect after he’s tried in Arizona, Maricopa County attorney says