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Arizona in Brief: Arizona could face fines over failures in prison health care

Arizona could face fines over failures in prison health care

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona could face up to $650,000 in fines for failing to improve health care for prison inmates.

Lawyers for the state filed court papers Monday listing more than 650 instances during December in which it was unable to comply with terms of a lawsuit settled more than three years ago.

A judge warned the state last October it could be fined $1,000 for each instance in which it failed to make improvements promised when it settled the class-action lawsuit over shoddy inmate care.

The lawsuit alleged Arizona’s 10 state-run prisons didn’t meet basic requirements for adequate medical and mental health care. It said some prisoners complained their cancer went undetected; some were told to pray to be cured after begging for treatment.

U.S. Magistrate David Duncan will hold a hearing Feb. 28 to decide whether the state should face fines for noncompliance. In the coming weeks, the state will have to disclose how many times it failed to comply during January.

Andrew Wilder, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, declined to comment on the state’s filing.

Attorneys representing Arizona’s 33,000 inmates in the lawsuit have complained prison officials have been slow to make changes promised when the case was settled.

Duncan wants assurances that newly prescribed medications are provided to inmates within two days and that medical providers give inmates the results of diagnostic studies, such as pathology reports, within five days of receiving such records.

The magistrate has said he will impose civil contempt sanctions against Corrections Director Charles Ryan and another official who oversees inmate care if he finds they haven’t taken reasonable steps to make the improvements.

2 critically injured, 4 seriously hurt in Phoenix car crash

PHOENIX (AP) — A man and teenage girl remain hospitalized in critical condition and four others are hurt after a stolen car being chased by police crashed in north Phoenix.

Authorities say the rollover early Tuesday ended a 30-mile chase that began in west Phoenix.

The 19-year-old male driver and 17-year-old girl were ejected from the vehicle reported stolen in Avondale.

The other occupants were a teenage boy, one woman and two teenage girls.

Authorities say all four suffered serious injuries.

The names of the six injured haven’t been released yet.

Phoenix police and Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers attempted unsuccessfully to stop the vehicle, first in southwest Phoenix and then on Interstate 17.

The vehicle exited the freeway, its driver lost control on a street and the vehicle rolled.

Toddler dies after accident at Scottsdale fire station

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say a toddler has died after an accident at a Scottsdale fire station.

City officials say the baby boy was visiting Scottsdale Fire Station No. 1 near Miller and McDowell roads last weekend.

They say he was injured by the apparatus bay doors.

The toddler was rushed to a Phoenix trauma center, where he was pronounced dead.

The name of the child hasn’t been released yet.

He was less than 2 years old and was a relative of a Scottsdale firefighter who was on duty at the station.

City officials say the fatal accident is under investigation.

Mesa police release names of 2 found dead in murder-suicide

MESA (AP) — Police in Mesa have released the names of two people found dead at an apartment complex in a murder-suicide.

Officers were called to the El Rancho del Arte Apartments about 1 a.m. Monday after getting reports of gunshots.

Police say a man and woman were pronounced dead at the scene while another woman was wounded and a baby was uninjured.

They say 24-year-old Tyler Ruiz died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while 23-year-old Chelsey Anderson was fatally shot.

Police say the dead woman’s 35-year-old sister, Sharice Anderson, was shot and remained hospitalized in stable condition Tuesday.

The motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

Police say a 19-month-old boy found at the apartment after the shootings belonged to Ruiz and Chelsey Anderson.

The child has been released to family members.

Trial begins for Arizona inmate accused of killing cellmate

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for an Arizona inmate if he’s found guilty of killing his cellmate in a Florence prison in 2011.

The Florence Reminder and Blade-Tribune reports the first-degree murder trial began Monday for Zachary Eggers, who is charged in the death of 25-year-old Jeremy Pompeneo.

Prosecutor Vince Goddard told the court that Eggers ambushed Pompeneo inside the cell, killing him after several punches and smashing his head into a wall.

Eggers’ attorney Bret Huggins argued the death was not premeditated, noting there were no conflicts between the two men documented.

Eggers was serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2005 of killing his parents near Douglas.

Pompeneo was also serving a life sentence after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend in 2006.

Office: DNA leads to arrest of man who reported finding body

PHOENIX (AP) — A man who reported finding a woman’s dead body in the desert near Phoenix decades ago is now charged with killing her.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says Friday’s arrest of 55-year-old Donald Lee Scott of Glendale in the killing of Ann Marie Levee in December 1988 stems from a DNA match.

A probable-cause statement says Scott and an unidentified companion were released after they took deputies to where they reported finding Levee’s body, which had gunshot wounds and other injuries.

The statement says another case resulted in Scott providing a DNA sample that matched semen found in Levee’s vagina.

Scott is jailed on suspicion of first-degree murder and sexual assault in lieu of $1 million bond. Court records don’t list an attorney who could comment on the allegations.


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