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State v. Arroyo

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department C

October 1, 2013


Not for Publication -Rule 111, Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Yuma County Cause No. S1400CR201000313 The Honorable Denise D. Gaumont, Judge Pro Tem (Retired)

Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General Phoenix By Joseph T. Maziarz, Chief Counsel Criminal Appeals Section Attorneys for Appellee.

Mary Elizabeth Perez San Diego, CA Attorney for Appellant.



¶1 Vincent Arroyo, Jr. (defendant) appeals his convictions for three counts of aggravated assault. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm defendant's convictions and sentences.[1]


¶2 Defendant was terminated from Associated Citrus Packers in Yuma around the end of February 2010. A week or two later, defendant parked his car alongside Gregorio P. (Greg), the plant superintendant, and told him to tell Barbara H. (Bobbie), the human resources director, and Mark S., an owner of the company, that "they were marked for death." Defendant repeated the threat once or twice more before Greg challenged defendant to a fist fight. Before getting out of his car, defendant reached over to the side of the front seat and "pulled out [a] machete." Defendant raised the machete up to waist level as he again told Greg to tell "Bobbie and Mark" that "they were marked for death."

¶3 After Greg drove back to the plant and told Bobbie about the threats, her "eyes got big" and she appeared scared and nervous. Mark instructed Greg to call the police. Officer Ernesto Rangel arrived at the plant and told Greg, Bobbie, and Mark that he "could not do anything" and "could not stop" defendant. Bobbie announced over the intercom that the plant was on "lockdown." She then returned to her office to tell her co-workers, Elizabeth L. and Guadalupe L. (Lupe) about the threats because she was angry that the police "couldn't stop" defendant. As Bobbie was talking with Elizabeth and Lupe, they heard "glass breaking" and crashing and banging noises that sounded like gunshots. Lupe testified that she felt she "was in danger and nervous, worried for [her] life." She got down and crawled under a desk. Elizabeth saw defendant "hitting the door with the machete, " and then exclaimed, "He's at the door. Run." Elizabeth and Bobbie ran toward the back door; as they ran down a flight of stairs, Bobbie fell and sprained both her ankles. Other employees helped Bobbie up while Elizabeth yelled at Lupe to get out of the office.

¶4 The three women saw defendant drive away from the plant, and Elizabeth went inside to call 911. Soon thereafter, defendant returned and smashed Bobbie's car windows with the machete. Defendant then opened the office door where Elizabeth was calling 911, and with "the machete in his hand" made a "beeline" toward Elizabeth. When he was within five feet of Elizabeth he raised up the machete and said "I told you not to call the fing cops." Elizabeth felt "really fearful" and ran toward the back door with defendant in pursuit hitting a computer server with the machete. Elizabeth turned the lock and slammed the door as she exited into the yard where Bobbie and Lupe were. As she was telling them to start running because defendant was behind her, defendant "busted the back door open." Although Lupe was five months pregnant and Bobbie had two sprained ankles, all three women started running. At one point, Bobbie looked behind her and defendant said, "You better fing run, " and, "When I catch up with you I'm going to fing kill you." Lupe heard defendant say, "run for your life, " and she felt scared and "in danger, " and "thought [her] life was ending." The three women ran into the sales office to hide from defendant.

¶5 When defendant saw Mark in the yard, he changed directions and began walking "directly towards [Mark] at a fast pace, " "yelling and screaming, " and waving the machete in a hacking motion while pointing at Mark. Officer Zaragoza heard defendant say, "Do you want to talk s about me now, mother fer? I'm going to fing kill you." Mark was "fearful" and "looked frightened." Mark was able to escape to the other side of the perimeter fence where several police officers were standing, and defendant continued on to the sales office where he "broke the window" with the machete, and "kicked in" the door before entering the office. Elizabeth was standing near the window and had to turn her head to block the shattering glass. Bobbie and Lupe were hidden under a desk, and they heard the window break and the door swing open and footsteps. Bobbie heard the shipping clerk "pleading" with defendant, "Vincent, no. Please, Vincent, no." Police officers were finally able to get into the yard and subdue defendant with tasers. Even after he was taken into custody, defendant continued to scream, saying, "I'm going to kill them, " he "wasn't going to let them get away with this, " and telling the officers to "hurry up [and] take [me] to prison."

¶6 Defendant was charged with four counts of attempted first degree murder, class 2 felonies (Counts 1, 2, 3, and 7), and three counts of aggravated assault, class 3 felonies (Counts 4, 5, and 6). Bobbie was the alleged victim of Counts 1 and 4, Lupe was the alleged victim of Counts 2 and 5, Elizabeth was the alleged victim of Counts 3 and 6, and Mark was the alleged victim of Count 7.

¶7 During opening statements at trial, defendant's counsel asserted that defendant "threaten[ed] people, " but "never had any sort of intent, as demonstrated by his actions, to kill anyone, to even harm anyone, " and that he "never even touched these women that felt threatened." The state subsequently filed a requested jury instruction that stated:

In order for the defendant to be found guilty of Aggravated Assault pursuant to A.R.S. 1204(a)(2), 13-1203(a)(2), it is not a necessary element that the victim be in actual substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury. All that is required is that ...

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