Thursday, November 14, 2013

DNA evidence sends 19 year-old Maricopa man to prison for burglary, sexual assault

A 19 year-old Maricopa man has begun serving a ten and a half-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to kidnapping, attempted sexual assault and attempted burglary.

The case began on March 8th of this year when Shakir Thomas broke into a Maricopa residence, burglarized the home, detained and attempted to sexually assault one of the female occupants. The Maricopa Police Department responded and investigated the incident.

On March 16th, Maricopa Police responded to a noise complaint call. On-scene, officers discovered items reported stolen from the open March 8th case, along with drugs. One of the subjects present, identified as Thomas, resembled the description of the reported sexual assault suspect.

After consulting with the Pinal County Attorney’s Office and obtaining a DNA search warrant for Thomas, DNA was collected. Due to Thomas’ threat potential and being an investigative lead in the incident on March 8th, Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles contacted several State and local agency’s crime labs to determine if a 24-hour turnaround DNA test could be conducted.

After contacting the labs, they discovered a backlog of samples waiting to be tested with no clear timeframe in getting results. Since Thomas was only held on lesser charges stemming from the incident on March 16th, the possibility of Thomas being released on bail was discussed and Voyles made the decision to contract a private laboratory to get the results in 24 hours. After the DNA test was conducted and a positive match was confirmed; Thomas was charged with sexual assault and possession of stolen property.

On September 23rd, Thomas plead guilty to attempted 1st degree burglary, kidnapping of a dangerous nature, and attempted sexual assault and was sentenced on October 21st.

Voyles stated, “This office will bring to bear every resource and the full weight of the law to administer justice on those depraved individuals who prey upon the innocent through violent crimes, including sexual assaults! Crimes involving, even attempted, sexual assaults are horrendous and have long-lasting effects on the victims. The danger these individuals like Thomas pose to our children and families is too high to not expedite DNA testing while he remained in custody. At times, standing up to protect our communities comes at a heightened cost. I make no apologies for spending over $10,000 to connect a suspect, in this case, Shakir Thomas, to these crimes. No monetary cost will ever offset the value of our Pinal residents and no impediment keeps this office from working to ensure the safety of our Pinal families."

Following prison, Thomas faces consecutive sentences of lifetime probation and an additional 5 years of probation.

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