Maricopa County Attorney explains decision to keep New York murder suspect in Arizona

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(The Center Square) – Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell is pushing back against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in his effort to get a murder suspect extradited back to New York.

Mitchell made national headlines for saying this week that it would be “safer” to have him remain in Arizona and face trial here first before potentially sending him there.

The suspect in question is Raad Almansoori, who is wanted for a murder in SoHo earlier this month, but he’s being held in Arizona for allegedly stabbing two women in Maricopa County, one in Phoenix and one in Surprise, according to NBC News.

In an interview with The Center Square, the county attorney clarified the role she’s playing in the process and responded to critics of her decision.

“I think that the media attention came not because of this. I think this was the vehicle for, it seems like building frustration,” the Republican official said.

“It is not a refusal to extradite,” Mitchell clarified. “This is not a, ‘No, not ever,’ this is a ‘Not yet.’ When two jurisdictions have serious cases against a defendant, usually the jurisdiction that has the more serious offense doesn’t necessarily go first.”

“It’s usually the person who has him in custody. Now, if this was like a lower-level property crime might I consider letting him go, you know, be prosecuted on the homicide first, absolutely, I would consider it, but that’s not our situation,” she added.

She also responded to comments from Bragg, a Democrat, saying that this is a political move by Mitchell and “old-fashioned grandstanding.”

“It’s an interesting charge because I am doing exactly what is standard operating procedure, which is keeping it here. And I’m not the one that brought up extraditions,” she said. “It was brought up in a New York press conference and it came up in the press conference that I was in yesterday, and I was responding to that. So, it was completely responsive on my part.”

Although some critics of Mitchell have argued that Phoenix has a higher rate of murders compared with Manhattan, she said this has to do with bond policies.

“One thing is if we were to let him go to another jurisdiction, that jurisdiction doesn’t necessarily have to honor our bond amount,” she said.

“Now, we’re holding him without bond. But other jurisdictions in the past in other cases have not honored Arizona’s bond and reduced it to such a degree that the person has gotten out of custody. That’s very different than if we send him having a conviction and having been sentenced to whatever years in prison, they have to honor that. And I don’t think people are picking up on that,” Mitchell continued.

Bragg recently received flack over some suspects, who were migrants, being released without bail in a case involving New York Police Department officers being attacked in January, according to ABC 7 New York.