Violent crime suspect wanted for NYC murder indicted on 8 felony charges in Arizona

Feb 27, 2024, 12:49 PM | Updated: 12:56 pm

Mugshot of Raad Almansoori, who was indicted by an Arizona grand jury on eight felony charges...

A grand jury indicted Raad Almansoori on eight felony charges, Arizona officials announced Feb. 27, 2024. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX – Raad Noah Almansoori, the violent crime suspect at the center of a high-profile dispute between prosecutors in Arizona and New York, was officially charged with eight felony offenses in Maricopa County, officials announced Tuesday.

A grand jury indicted Almansoori on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of attempted sexual assault, one count of attempted armed robbery and one count of auto theft, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

The charges are related to two alleged stabbing attacks on women in Phoenix and Surprise on Feb. 17 and 18. Almansoori was arrested in Scottsdale on the day of the second incident.

Although Almansoori is wanted in connection with a deadly assault in a Manhattan hotel room earlier this month, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell has said he will be tried in Arizona before being extradited to New York.

Why are Arizona, New York prosecutors at odds over Raad Almansoori?

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg accused Mitchell of playing politics after she cited his office’s record as a reason she opposed Almansoori’s extradition.

“We’re going to keep him here. These are mandatory prison sentences and 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,” Mitchell said during a press conference last Wednesday.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office responded by defending Bragg’s record and saying Mitchell was “playing political games in a murder investigation.”

On Thursday, Mitchell told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that New York prosecutors can get their turn with Almansoori after he’s been tried in Arizona, a process she expects to take over a year.

Why does New York want to prosecute violent crime suspect?

Almansoori is wanted in the killing of Denisse Oleas-Arancibia at the SoHo 54 Hotel in lower Manhattan.

The 38-year-old Queens resident, who police say had been working as an escort, was found dead on a hotel room floor by staff on Feb. 8. New York City police say her death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head, and a broken iron was found at the scene. Surveillance video showed a suspect exiting the hotel wearing Oleas-Arancibia’s leggings after having discarded his blood-soaked pants in the hotel room.

While in custody in Arizona, police say Almansoori admitted to killing Oleas-Arancibia, telling them to Google “SoHo 54 Hotel.”

Authorities also are looking into whether Almansoori could have any connection to crimes committed in Florida and Texas, where he also previously lived and has been arrested.

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 Valley’s next county attorney because no Democrats have filed statements of interest to run yet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Violent crime suspect wanted for NYC murder indicted on 8 felony charges in Arizona