A 59-year-old grandmother of six may have been shot to death because she came to a full stop at a Mesa intersection.
On Friday, Mesa police announced the arrest of 18-year-old Anthony James Chacon in the death of Loris Crandell-Bath, a Mesa woman shot in the head while sitting in her car on Dec. 15, 2002.
Chacon told police that on that night he was looking for a car to steal near Gilbert Road and Hermosa Vista Drive, but all of the drivers were turning too quickly.
Crandell-Bath, however, came to a complete stop.
"He told me he pulled the gun out of his jacket and walked up to the driver’s side," wrote Mesa detective Don Byers.
"He said he pointed the gun at the woman and then slammed the door. I asked him if the door was locked and he said it was."
Chacon, who said he was high on crystal methamphetamine, told Byers he was shocked when the gun, containing a single bullet, went off.
Chacon, a resident of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, told detectives he and another teen then fled. No charges have been sought against the other teen, although the investigation continues.
Chacon confessed to Crandell-Bath’s death in January — when he confessed to the shooting death of his girlfriend, Amanda Enos, 17, in his Mesa apartment.
Although Chacon was immediately arrested in Enos’ death, he was not arrested in Crandell-Bath’s case because detectives needed more evidence, said Mesa detective Tim Gaffney.
Crandell-Bath was shot while on her way home from a family gathering.
Chacon’s arrest has helped the family make a big step toward closure, said Mel Burch, Crandell-Bath’s son-in-law.
"It’s comforting knowing that he’s been caught and justice is going to be served," Burch said. "We didn’t have any hope at all and it’s amazing it’s come to this. They could’ve easily let this case go cold and they didn’t."
Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley said his capital review team will be meeting in the near future to determine if Chacon should get the death penalty.
"It’s tragic that there are people out there who are so ruthless, that there are people who have no conscience and who are going out and inflicting harm on innocent people who are out there doing good," Burch said.