Casa Grande, AZ

Casa Grande teen pleads guilty in March drive-by shooting

Jeremy Beren

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The Pinal County Superior Courthouse in Florence.Hugh Presnal/Flickr

By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Florence, Ariz.) — A 17-year-old from Casa Grande pleaded guilty on Monday to a drive-by shooting that endangered three people.

The underage Arthur Christopher Montijo, tried as an adult in Pinal County Superior Court, initially faced charges that included three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was also charged with disorderly conduct with a weapon disturbing the peace and quiet after he fired a .45 caliber handgun at a Casa Grande park on March 15.

Montijo also faced one count of an unlawful firearm discharge within city limits — known in Arizona as "Shannon's law" — in addition to one count of drive-by shooting. This charge itself carried a seven-year prison sentence as a class two felony in the state of Arizona.

NewsBreak accessed public records showing that Montijo and his attorney reached a plea agreement in Superior Court on June 20, which saw the aggravated assault charges dismissed. The plea agreement will see Montijo spend three years in prison for the drive-by shooting attempt. When Montijo is released, he will be placed on probation for a misconduct involving weapons charge.

Montijo will join more than 62,000 Arizonans housed in state and federal prisons, local jails, or other facilities. This is the 11th-highest figure in the United States, according to Prison Policy Initiative data, which also shows that Arizona has the eighth-highest incarceration rate in the country at 868 per 100,000 people.

When taking into account residents who have served their sentences, over 145,000 Arizonans are under some form of criminal justice supervision, like probation. Montijo will be one more example after he completes his three-year sentence.

PinalCentral reported that Montijo is currently being held at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center in the county seat of Florence. His sentencing is set for July 18.

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Jeremy is a freelance journalist covering health, energy, labor, and local politics. Reach him at jeremy.beren@newsbreak.com.

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