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Isabel Burruel Smutzer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2015
COUNTY ATTORNEY DECLINES TO FILE MURDER CONSPIRACY CHARGES
AGAINST FLOWING WELLS STUDENTS
On March 18, 2015, the Tucson Police Department arrested five students from Flowing Wells High School for conspiracy to commit first degree murder.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office conducted a comprehensive review of the investigation to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to file formal charges against the five students. To prove the charge of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, sufficient evidence must exist for the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an explicit agreement existed between or among the students that one or more of them would actually commit the murder.
We have determined that the evidence gathered during the course of this investigation is insufficient to establish that there was any actual concrete agreement between the students that a murder would really take place. There is evidence that the students speculated and talked about a number of different ways in which another student might possibly be killed, but there was no agreement about the manner in which they intended to actually carry out a killing, nor was there discussion about who might actually commit the murder, or when or where it might occur.
There is no evidence that any agreement or consensus was reached about actually carrying out a plan or plot to commit the murder. There was no decision as to who might take action, where any acts might take place or when they might take place. When questioned, each student readily admitted to engaging in speculative conversations about how a murder might be accomplished. Additionally, they each disclosed they had no serious intention to act on their hypothetical conversations.
Given the numerous outlandish plans discussed, it appears that the students had no actual intent to carry out the murder. Additionally, given that each professed they were not serious about committing the murder and had no intention of acting out any of the scenarios they discussed, evidence to prove otherwise, is non-existent.
Although one of the students involved possessed a knife at school, evidence revealed that the student carried that knife to school on a regular basis or most days kept it in his locker, and it was not specifically brought for the purpose of carrying out a murder. The County Attorney’s Office is evaluating the evidence pertaining to the knife to determine what charges it may file against the student who possessed the knife at school.
While it is certainly highly disturbing and extremely alarming that teenagers would even engage in conversations such as these directed at a classmate, there is a clear lack of substantial evidence to prove that an agreement or intent to actually commit murder existed. Therefore, the State declines to file homicide conspiracy charges against the arrested students.