| News |

Thomas Destories, a.k.a. "Paydirt," Pleads Guilty to Killing Speed-Cam Operator

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

The Phoenix man (known as "Paydirt"), who shot and killed the operator of a speed-camera van in April of last year, seems to have gotten his wish: photo-radar is now done-zo on Arizona highways.

Not that it's likely to affect him -- he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder this morning and probably will be sentenced to more than two decades in prison.

Thomas Patrick Destories, 69, was in Maricopa County Superior Court this morning where he entered the guilty plea to the murder of Doug Georgianni, who was shot and killed while doing paperwork in the back of a photo-enforcement van on April 19, 2009. 

Lawyers for Destories had tried to convince a judge that he was crazy. Two different psychologists, however, found that Destories wasn't nuts and perfectly capable to stand trial.

Destories shot Georgianni, a "driver technician" for Red Flex, as he worked in the back seat of a marked DPS photo-radar van parked on the side of the eastbound lanes of the Loop 101, just east of 7th Street.

Check out all the details here.

Destories' attorneys claimed that he suffered from mental illness since the 1970s, which is what prompted him to -- for no apparent reason -- shoot up a photo-radar van.

Once it became clear the crazy train wouldn't be an option, Destories copped his plea.

The deal stipulates that in exchange for a guilty plea, Destories be sentenced to 22 years in prison (which, for him, probably amounts to a life sentence).

His sentencing is scheduled for August 20.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.