Former Arizona firefighter facing criminal charges

A former Arizona firefighter is facing a raft of charges including counts of sexual assault and kidnapping after police in Glendale released a sketch of an alleged sexual predator and received a flood of calls. Police quickly identified and located the 52-year-old Phoenix Fire Department veteran, and officers say that he was subsequently taken into custody without a struggle. The man is being held without bail at a Maricopa County detention facility in connection with the alleged attempted rape and sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in Glendale on Sept. 25.

The woman told police that she became concerned when a slow-moving vehicle that had been trailing her for some time pulled into a parking lot near Bethany Home Road and 91st Avenue. The woman says that the driver of the vehicle began to follow her on foot and accosted her under a park bridge at about 6:00 a.m. The woman says that the man threatened her with a gun but ended the encounter when she pleaded for mercy and told him that she was a virgin.

Police are confident that they have the right man in custody, and a judge told the man at his arraignment hearing that the evidence against him was compelling. A media investigation revealed that the man was charged with driving drunk in May and fired by the Phoenix Fire Department in July. The man claims that he was singled out and terminated because he reported rampant drug use and flagrant civil rights violations within the department.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may advocate zealously on behalf of their clients in court in many situations, but they could consider it more pragmatic to pursue a negotiated plea agreement when the evidence against their clients is compelling and the chances of an acquittal are slim. Prosecutors are usually harried and overworked, and they may be willing to settle even strong cases in return for a speedy resolution.