Accused cop in apparent suicide - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Accused cop in apparent suicide

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Posted: Sunday, February 6, 2005 6:17 am | Updated: 9:03 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A veteran Phoenix detective who was shot by his wife in a domestic violence incident and then arrested on aggravated assault and kidnapping charges was found hanging from his jail cell Saturday in an apparent suicide, authorities said.

Billy Soza, 53, died shortly afterward at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix.

Soza, who had his own cell at Maricopa County’s Madison Street Jail, was found at 9:15 a.m. hanging from a noose that was made out of several plastic sandwich bags, said Lt. Paul Chagolla, a county sheriff’s office spokesman.

Detention officers saw Soza alive about a half-hour earlier as they made security rounds.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death, but officials are investigating the death as an apparent suicide. There was no sign of foul play.

Chagolla said Soza was not on suicide watch, but was housed alone for safety reasons.

"Because of his peace officer status, we didn’t want to expose him to other inmates who may be a danger to him," Chagolla said.

Soza’s wife, Pamela Soza, told police that she shot her husband several times in the torso in self-defense on the night of Dec. 27.

Soza pleaded not guilty to the charges against him on Jan. 20, according to court records. He was scheduled for a court appearance on Wednesday.

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