Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Seal
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
Justice for All
August 2018
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery

The summer is not over, but we are already kicking off our fall programs. With school back in session this month, it’s time for our signature program Friday Night Football Patrol. Staff volunteers will visit 10 schools throughout the high school football season to help kids sign a pledge to stay drug and alcohol free. It’s a fun time for us and the students, and to boost enthusiasm, students who sign the pledge are entered into a drawing for a gift card.
This month, we take a look at some newer initiatives here in the Office. Our Office has hosted its first of possibly many “Coffee with the Community” events to get to know our residents and keep an open dialogue about public safety in our neighborhoods. We also have a growing Wellness Initiative in the Office, encouraging staff to incorporate healthy eating and fitness into their daily routine.
As of press time, we have maintained our goal of ZERO deaths of children left in hot cars. Our public awareness campaign, Don’t Leave Me Behind, continues through the end of August, so let’s remain vigilant this month and beyond; and keep an eye on your kids at the pool.

Bill Montgomery Signature

Deputy County Attorney April Sponsel Receives Citizen Meritorious Service Award

An unrelenting determination to see justice done, and a partnership with the Mesa Police Department, led to a recent honor for one Maricopa County Attorney’s Office prosecutor.
On July 10, 2018, Deputy County Attorney April Sponsel was awarded the Citizen Meritorious Service Award by the Mesa Police Department for her tireless efforts in securing significant convictions for known gang members in a lengthy high-profile prosecution. The award was years in the making, but showed that the hard work involved in such an important case did not go unnoticed.
“This award is an example of what can be achieved when law enforcement and prosecutors work together to protect a community,” said Sponsel. Adding, “While this case required a great deal of legal time and effort it is truly the outstanding work of the detectives and officers at the Mesa Police Department that should be most honored.”
Around 1:30 a.m. on September 1, 2015, police responded to calls of an armed robbery at a convenience store on University Drive. Witnesses said four masked men entered the store demanding money from the cashier. One of the men pointed a handgun at him. Then a second suspect assaulted the cashier while the other two suspects went to steal beer from a back cooler. Once the men were able to collect the money they left with a fifth man working as their lookout.
The cashier described the suspects’ vehicle to responding officers who attempted to stop the car. The car sped away
eventually losing control and colliding with a palm tree. Four of the suspects tried to run away, but were located a short time later.
The five suspects—later identified as Saigean Juan, Eric Loring, Emmanuel Thomas, Isaiah Romo, and Leonard Juan—were taken into custody. They had all been documented as members of a local street gang, East Side Los Guada Bloods.
This gang has been connected to several criminal cases in Mesa, including one where an officer was attacked. Investigators and Sponsel worked to show that these suspects were active gang members allowing the case to be tried as a gang case. With this designation, along with important evidence gathered by investigators, each of the suspects agreed to plea deals with substantial prison time ranging from seven years to 12 years, even though some had no previously documented criminal histories.
Sponsel’s hard work on this case serves as a harsh warning to other gang members in the Mesa area that severe penalties will be sought in gang-related criminal cases. 

April Sponsel Awardee

Heather Grossman
A Courageous Reminder that Victims are
Strong and Resilient

Heather Grossman

Certain events change our lives forever. In the blink of an eye a person’s world can be flipped upside down. For Heather Grossman, that change came as a bullet severing her spinal cord. As difficult as her new life became, that was not the end of her suffering.
It was 1988 when she met her first husband. Like too many relationships, this one was rife with abuse and after four years of threats to her and the couple’s three children, Heather had enough. After a difficult divorce in 1997, she moved with her kids to Minnesota where she met her second husband, a man that she was sure would stand by her side and help raise her children. Four months later, while in Florida, Heather was shot. The bullet tore through her neck and grazed her husband. The incident left her paralyzed from the neck down, as a C2 Quadriplegic, leaving her unable to properly care for her young children and requiring 24-hour care from a team of nurses.
It was later discovered that the shooter had been hired by her first husband. Only six days prior to the shooting, Heather told a judge in Florida that she feared he was going to kill her. After the shooting, her first husband fled the country while Heather, her new husband and her children picked up the pieces and began to get on with their lives, forever changed. It was at that time when her husband, likely overcome by the responsibilities of caring for her, had become verbally and physically abusive, ultimately leading to police removing him from the house for domestic violence. A few years after being removed from the home and a divorce, he would die of a sudden heart attack. Shortly after his death, Heather’s first husband was forcefully repatriated to the USA to face charges in Florida where he ultimately received a life plus 120-year prison sentence.
Although Heather was given a few short years to live, she has survived for more than 20 years since the shooting. Despite these horrific ordeals, Heather Grossman remains positive and has learned much from her struggles as a victim. She has gone on to do consulting work with the U.S. Department of Justice and is a frequent presenter and advocate for other crime victims. Being strong survivors, the entire family has worked to ensure there aren’t more victims like Heather.

Inspired by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office’s mission of ensuring victim rights, Heather’s middle son Joe Grossman joined the Office as a Special Projects Manager and takes a piece of inspiration from his Mom every day. “My mom remains a hero in my eyes and one of the strongest individuals I’ve ever met,” said Joe. “Her strength and resilience never ceases to amaze me. Living through these experiences and the way my mother continues to overcome all odds has only been a blessing that cultivates a passion and understanding for the harm and cost of crime. It inspires me to do my part as a member of this incredible team at the County Attorney's Office, working hard on behalf of victims and doing what I can to help promote and keep the public safe.”

A GoFundMe account was recently established in Heather’s name to help underwrite the exorbitant cost of annual care. To contribute to the Heather Grossman fund, visit:

Heather's new book Paralyzed in Paradise is now available at:

Heather Grossman
U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Elizabeth A. Strange, Heather Grossman, and MCAO Victim Services Division Chief Shawn Cox

Remembering Sam

Starting in May of 2010, Sam became the first member of the MCAO K9 Victim Support Program (VSP).

A mixture of sorrow and overwhelming pride filled the hearts of the MCAO family recently. Upon hearing of the peaceful passing of the Office’s first victim support dog, Sam, many who worked alongside him could not help but remember the important work he did and the lives he positively impacted.
Sam officially retired from the Office in July of 2016 and enjoyed his retirement, which included trips to the beach, while in the loving care of his handler Rhonda Stewart.
“Sam will always be remembered as an important member of this Office, his service paved the way for our support dog program to help bring criminals to justice by helping victims through an often emotionally difficult process,” said County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “As our first victim support dog, Sam was able to showcase the importance of the support dog role by providing comfort and unconditional support to victims of all ages.”
Sam was a true trailblazer, he was one of the first Courthouse Dogs in the nation
with only two others starting about the same time. Throughout his six-year career with MCAO, Sam carried a caseload of an average of 10 victims per month totaling more than 750 victims helped through the often stressful and confusing judicial process. Sam attended hundreds of criminal justice hearings, including pretrial hearings, sentencings and trials with victims. All types of victims were served and comforted by him: children, adults, the elderly, sex abuse victims, stalking and domestic violence victims and the family members of those murdered.
Sam, who lived to be 11 years old was a Golden Retriever-Irish Setter mix. He was originally found as a puppy wandering around the streets of the Sunnyslope area in Phoenix before being turned into the Humane Society. There, the Foundation for Service Dog Support found him and fell in love with him. They thought he had the perfect temperament needed for a service dog. Sam successfully completed training and, with financial support from PetSmart, he came to work for the County Attorney’s Office on May 22, 2010.
While Sam achieved many accolades during his career of service, it will be the memories of his strong, but gentle spirit that will be forever missed from the halls of the County Attorney’s Office and the courtrooms of Maricopa County Superior Court.

Sam enjoying life

Ballot Harvesting is a Crime

Voter dropping ballot into a box

Due to recent litigation in federal court on the issue of ballot harvesting—and with primary and general elections coming up—Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery issued the following statement on the state’s law on ballot abuse, A.R.S. 16-1005, which was passed by the Legislature in 2016.
“It has come to my attention that there may be some confusion about the intention to enforce the election laws in Arizona. I want to assure anyone who may be planning to engage in ballot harvesting for this Primary Election and General Election that it is a class 6 felony to knowingly collect a mail-in ballot for the primary election in August, or for the general election in November, unless you are a family member, household member, or caregiver for the voter to whom the ballot was issued. Based on its concerns about the potential for fraud and misconduct affecting our elections, the Arizona State Legislature passed this law in order to protect the integrity of Arizona elections. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting our voting process by enforcing this law. If you are not authorized by the statute to take possession of another voter’s ballot, instruct the voter personally to place their ballot in the mail, to deliver the ballot in person, or to vote in person.

A Healthy Attitude is Contagious at MCAO


One of the most common excuses people use for not eating healthy or not staying in shape relates to not having enough time to do what it takes to be healthy. Although employees at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office are busier than ever, many are ensuring they stay healthy by participating in some great activities and programs right here at the Office. Fitness and wellness are not only part of employees’ overall well-being, they are also great excuses to try new food, meet new people and engage in new activities and exercise programs. The result? More productive employees who have extra energy, improved attendance and increased morale. The MCAO has three Wellness Coordinators who support and encourage employee participation in activities such as instructor-led fitness classes in Barre, Yoga, Strength Conditioning and Weight-Training. All these and more are offered in the County Administration building every day of the week. It isn’t uncommon to share a lunch-time elevator with folks holding yoga mats heading to the basement for 30 minutes of deep breathing and mountain poses.
And there’s more … MCAO employees in the Administration Division host an organized monthly “Meatless Monday” lunch group where cooking responsibilities rotate and two people volunteer to prepare and serve a vegetarian/vegan/dairy-free lunch for a growing group of 12-15 employees. The MCAO Wellness Coordinators regularly engage the workforce – sometimes through the simple act of posting the County fitness schedule on their office doors (a great conversation starter!) or rallying volunteers to participate in the annual Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run or the annual County Health and Fitness Day Walk. In addition, the MCAO Running Team participates in the annual Pat’s Run and other local races and many MCAO employees volunteer for the Bike to Work Day each April. Our Wellness Coordinators promise even more healthy surprises coming in October as employees get ready to move their exercise routines outside and welcome cooler fall weather. Gretchen McClellan, one of the resident MCAO wellness coordinators sums up the movement towards a healthier MCAO workforce simply, “Healthy employees are productive employees. There are lots of fun and different opportunities here at MCAO and within the County to reinforce healthy behaviors and get you up and out of your office, moving and eating better, meeting new people and trying new things.”

Wellness at Maricopa County Attorney's Office

Friday Night Football Patrol Coming
to a High School Near You!

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office and 104.7 KISS FM present Friday Fight Football Patrol 2018

Just like stocking up on pencils and shopping for books, Friday Night Football Patrol is an annual tradition coming your way starting this month!
MCAO volunteers, including County Attorney Bill Montgomery, will travel to 10 schools throughout the County to encourage students to sign a pledge to remain drug and alcohol-free.
The volunteers visit campus each Friday at lunch time and are back at the game that night with pledges for students to sign. For signing the pledge, the students are entered into a drawing for a Visa gift card. Four $50 gift cards are given away at lunch and that night, a whopping $300 gift card drawing for one lucky student.
Check out the schedule below to see where we will be this 2018 Football Season.

Coffee with the Community Event

Coffee with the Community Event
On Saturday, July 21, prosecutors, detectives and staff from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and officers with the Phoenix Police Department hosted a “Coffee with the Community” at the Starbucks inside the Christown Spectrum Target. More than 50 members of the community stopped by to get information and share concerns about public safety issues.

Leadership West

Leadership West
MCAO Prosecutor Gina Godbehere and Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord

Leadership West, a management program in the West Valley promoting leadership skills and those making a positive impact on the community and in local organizations, recently recognized four leaders who have made an impact in the business, nonprofit and government sector in the West Valley.  Community Based Prosecution West Bureau Chief Gina Godbehere, an alumnus of the Leadership West class, was recognized for her work in suicide prevention and the Stand, Up, Speak Up, Save a Life Program.

Community Calendar

Upcoming Events Calendar

Safe Kids Summer

Saturday, August 4
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Christown Spectrum Mall

West Bethany Home Road & 19th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85015

Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, August 17
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Maryvale High School
3415 North 59th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85033


Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, August 24
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
McClintock High School
1830 East Del Rio Drive
Tempe, AZ 85282


Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, August 31
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Valley Vista High School
15550 North Parkview Place
Surprise, AZ 85374


Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, September 7
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Desert Vista High School
16440 South 32nd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85048

Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, September 14
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sunnyslope High School
35 West Dunlap Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021


Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, September 21
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Brophy High School
4701 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85012


Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, September 28
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Shadow Mountain High School
2902 East Shea Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85028


MCAO Shred-A-Thon

Saturday, September 29
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Moon Valley Country Club
151 West Moon Valley Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85023

Cases of Community Interest

Mugshot Kevin Hevel

Kevin Hevel Sentenced to 16 Years for Second Degree Murder

Kevin Richard Hevel was sentenced to 16 years in the Department of Corrections for second degree murder in connection with a fatal DUI crash.

“There is absolutely no excuse for someone to drive impaired and risk the safety of others with so many transportation options available. The defendant's murder of Peter Rankin was senseless and the conviction and sentence for Hevel's selfish decision illustrates our resolve to do all we can to deter impaired driving due to alcohol and/or drugs,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. 

» View Full Story «

Mugshot Madeline Jones

Three Adults Sentenced in Case Involving False Claims of Missing 1-Year-Old

Madeline Jones was sentenced to three years of supervised probation for custodial interference. Her parents, Cassandra Jones and Roland Jones were also sentenced to three years of supervised probation for conspiracy to commit custodial interference.

“These felony convictions, which are probation eligible under Arizona's sentencing statutes, will still require the defendants to comply with terms and conditions of supervision, including restitution. The defendants surely must now understand the serious nature of their deceptive conduct and its impact on the community,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
» View Full Story «

Mugshot Stanley Chu

Stanley Chu Sentenced to 15.5 Years for Deadly DUI Crash

Stanley Ray Chu was sentenced to 15.5 years in the Department of Corrections for manslaughter, aggravated assault and leaving the scene of a fatal accident in connection to a DUI crash.

“This sentencing underscores the total disregard the defendant showed multiple times for the innocent lives around him, and will allow him to reflect every day of his sentence on the pain and loss he has inflicted,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
» View Full Story «

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