03 October 2019 :
Joel Escalante-Orozco on Friday accepted a new plea agreement for a life sentence. On February 28, 2013 (see), a Maricopa County jury unanimously sentenced Orozco, 42, hispanic, to death. He was convicted of 1st-degree murder, burglary and sexual assault in the March 10, 2001 death of Maria Garza-Rivera. Authorities say Orozco fled to Mexico after the killing of Garza-Rivera and was arrested 6 years later in Idaho. The Arizona Supreme Court had thrown out his death sentence on Jan. 12, 2017 (see) after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an Arizona case that prosecutors could not make the threat of "future dangerousness" an issue during trial. During Escalante-Orozco's trial, his lawyers objected to jurors being able to consider his potential for release when deciding on the death penalty. Their objection was denied. The Arizona Supreme Court vacated Escalante-Orozco's death sentence due to the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Lynch v. Arizona, which said the possibilities of a future law allowing for parole doesn't diminish a defendant's right to inform a jury of his parole ineligibility, according to court records. The state Supreme Court also stated that prosecutors did try to use concern about future dangerousness to win the death penalty.