February 9, 2005
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on Tuesday announced his support of legislation to give jurors more factors to consider in death penalty cases.
Legislators have drafted a bill to allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty when the murder was committed as part of a gang initiation or gang activity, against a witness, or committed in a "cold, calculated manner without pretense of moral or legal justification."
The newly elected Thomas also told the media during his first monthly news conference that he hopes to strengthen the bureau that prosecutes homicide cases.
Thomas also announced he is seeking the death penalty in three recent homicide cases.
He will ask for the death penalty against Marjorie Ann Orbin, 43, accused of killing her husband, Jay Orbin, whose torso was found in the desert near Dynamite Road and Tatum Boulevard in northeast Phoenix Oct. 23.
Thomas is also seeking death for Freddy Ernest Mondragon, 29, in the slaying of 10-year-old Raymond Mondragon and Warren Carl Manuel, 33, in the slaying of Darrell Willeford. Police said Mondragon pulled a gun on the boy’s mother during an argument in November 2004. The boy was killed when he tried to protect his mother.