Death of MCSO Deputy Bill Coleman: Should Alleged Burglars Be Charged With Murder?
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced yesterday that two men have been arrested for allegedly breaking into the Anthem medical facility where MCSO Deputy Bill Coleman was murdered earlier this month by 30-year-old "UFO-ologist" Drew Ryan Maras, who was sleeping in the parking lot and likely has nothing to do with the burglary.
Get all the details here.
The only reason Coleman was in the parking lot of the medical facility -- and even came across Maras -- is because a security alarm went off after Michael Allen Pierce, 33, and Shawn Patrick Brannen, 23, allegedly broke into the building.
As Pierce and Brannen were allegedly committing a felony, Coleman was murdered while responding to the alarm.
Under Arizona law, if someone dies during the commission of a felony, the person(s) committing the felony can be charged with murder -- just ask "murderers" Matthew Peters, 21, and Joseph Metcalf, 19 (more on them below).
However, Arpaio said yesterday that Brannen and Pierce probably wouldn't be charged in Coleman's death -- although, the decision to charge them with murder ultimately is up to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. For now, the two were booked on three counts each of burglary and trafficking stolen property.
Arpaio says it's unlikely the two men had anything to do with the murder -- or the murderer.
Trying to prove that Pierce and Brannen are responsible for Coleman's death is probably a stretch. However, Peters and Metcalf recently were convicted of murder after a Buckeye man fatally shot their 17-year-old friend as they were burglarizing a home.
Peters and Metcalf each were sentenced to 20 years in prison last year after getting convicted of second-degree murder for the death of Jonathan Michael-Andrew Greth, their 17-year-old friend who burglarized a home with the two "murderers."
About 12:30 p.m. on October 11, 2010, Peters, Metcalf, and Greth burglarized a Buckeye home.
Lloyd Smithey, who lives nearby, heard what was going on and tried to stop the three men.
The three ran off once they heard Smithey. They jumped into a car and tried to flee, but Smithey wasn't letting them get away that easily.
This is Arizona, so, naturally, Smithey had a gun with him. As the three were making their escape, Smithey fired a shot at the car. He says he didn't know whether it had hit anyone -- but it did.
The bullet hit Greth in the chest, killing him.
Rather than call police, Peters and Metcalf dumped the body at the Travel Center of America Truck Stop at 339th Avenue and Interstate 10.
Smithey, the man who actually shot Greth, was never charged with a crime.
Read all about it here.
Peters and Metcalf had as much to do with the murder of their friend as Pierce and Brannen had to do with the murder of Deputy Coleman -- both pairs of (alleged, in the case of Pierce and Brannen) criminals were committing a felony when someone else murdered someone.
Again, Coleman never would have encountered the man who murdered him had Brannen and Pierce not (allegedly) burglarized a building.
We want to know what you think: should Brannen and Pierce be charged with murder?
Cast your vote below.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.