Man sentenced for first degree murder and kidnapping
PHOENIX – Eugene Joseph Escalanti, 34, of Tucson, Ariz., was found guilty by a federal jury on June 25, 2010 of First Degree Murder, Kidnapping and First Degree Murder/Felony Murder.
He was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton to three concurrent life sentences in a federal prison.
“This was a senseless and brutal act of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “Marshaling the evidence necessary to convict this defendant took an extraordinary amount of time, effort and old-fashioned police work on the part of law enforcement. I want to thank the Tucson Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, particularly, the Gila River Police Department and its Detectives who worked tirelessly to bring this man to justice. ”
The evidence at trial showed that on July 19, 2009, Escalanti, an enrolled member of the Quechan Indian Tribe, was negotiating the sale of a recreational vehicle with the victim when he began assaulting the victim with a pair of pruning shears. Escalanti then bound the victim’s hands together and directed a witness to drive them to a remote area of the Gila River Indian Community. Once on the reservation, Escalanti beat the victim with a wrench and slit his throat killing him.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Gila River Police Department, the Tucson Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Brian E. Kasprzyk and Thomas C. Simon, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-09-946-PHX-SRB
RELEASE NUMBER: 2010-220(Escalanti)