City of Goodyear, Arizona
For Immediate Release: Nov. 14, 2011
Attorney General finds no grounds for criminal charges against Goodyear police; DPS excludes police vehicle at scene
GOODYEAR, ARIZ. (Nov. 14, 2011) The Arizona Attorney General's Office will not pursue criminal action against two members of the City of Goodyear Police Department, following an independent review by the AG, which found nothing to support criminal charges in connection with the hit-and-run death of Jered Pendleton in 2008.
Michael Benchoff, senior litigation counsel for the state Attorney General's Office, in a recent letter to Goodyear Interim Police Chief Bill Cusson, concluded that "no reasonable basis, factually, or legally, exists to justify or support criminal charges of Obstruction of Justice, Hindering Prosecution, or any other criminal offense," against Goodyear Police Department employees Anna Ybarra and Deron Miller. Benchoff reviewed the criminal investigation report by Special Investigations Unit Detective Steve Leon of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, concerning the investigation into the hit-and-run death of Jered Pendleton on April 6, 2008. No arrests have been made in connection with this case, and the case remains open.
The AG's office reviewed the report by DPS Det. Leon, which was submitted for independent review, along with transcripts of depositions in two separately pending civil cases. The review also included audio recordings and written transcripts of interview materials from the Special Investigations Section of the AG's office.
A separate independent review of evidence by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office found that the Goodyear police vehicle at the scene could not have caused the victim's injuries. The MCSO Crime Lab compared the victim's injuries to bolt patterns from several vehicles, including the Chevrolet Impala Goodyear Police cruiser at the scene which had been driven by Officer Brad Hardin. Bolt patterns from a Chevrolet pickup truck and a GMC 7500 tow truck were also examined. MCSO's crime lab analyst excluded both the Chevrolet Impala and the GMC 7500 as potential sources of the victim's injuries.