A man accused of killing three elderly people in a remote area of La Paz County, AZ has been transported to Parker to face charges in the killings.
Kitage Lynch, 26, is now an inmate at the La Paz County Jail after taking up residence there last week. Prosecutors with the County Attorney’s Office are preparing their case against Lynch as it inches toward trial, with the next pretrial conference set for the beginning of October.
Prosecutors say Lynch killed married couple Lester and Ella Lindsay, in their late 70s, and 81-year-old Alice Boyd, who were all Washington state residents staying in separate homes close to each other near Salome, AZ in April 2016.
Lynch was reportedly seen ‘wandering’ in the remote area around the time of the killings, and law enforcement officials reportedly believe he may have been looking for a means of transportation. When a La Paz County Sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene, he found ransacked residences and the three deceased people.
The Lindsays were reportedly dragged from their house to their garage, according to reports, while Boyd was found in her home, with her car missing from the property. An ‘attempt to locate’ was broadcasted nationwide giving the description of the vehicle.
Shortly afterward, the Glendale, AZ Police Department responded to reports of a subject shooting a gun and acting erratically. It turned out to be Lynch, who was reportedly driving Boyd’s vehicle and was later convicted of shooting at the officers that night before being taken into custody.
Lynch was initially named as a ‘person of interest’ in the killings, later upgraded to primary suspect after the Sheriff’s Department cited probable cause.
Lynch was convicted of shooting at police and had begun serving a 15-year sentence for the crime in Yuma when he was transported to Parker last week.
La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers says there are elements of the case he cannot discuss publicly yet, because the rules forbid him to prejudice the proceedings, but that his office has decided to seek natural life in prison against Lynch, rather than the death penalty.
“It is my job to review the evidence of both guilt and mitigation, consider input from the victims’ families and then decide what is in the interest of justice,” Rogers told Parker Live. “Here, after much consideration, the La Paz County Attorney’s Office has decided not to seek the death penalty in the case of State v Lynch.”
Rogers added that the considerations are many.
“Every case has its own distinct set of facts and circumstances; every defendant comes to the criminal justice system with their own unique background, sometimes presenting mitigating factors which dictate that the sentence of natural life in prison be considered,” he said. “All this was taken into account in determining the direction of this prosecution.”
The entire statement by La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers is below:
“On behalf of the entire La Paz County Attorney’s Office, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families in the State v Lynch case. The murders have shaken our county, and community members will want to know as much information as possible regarding how the case is proceeding in the criminal justice system.
As the prosecutor, I am not simply an advocate; rather, my duty is also to be the minister of justice. There are ethical rules which set clear boundaries as to what information I may publicly share about a criminal case. Those rules are in place to ensure that everyone receives a fair trial. Lawyers are forbidden to make public statements about cases where there is a substantial likelihood that it would prejudice the proceedings.
In Arizona, capital punishment is a sentencing possibility when a defendant has been charged with first degree murder pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1105, and where there is one or more aggravating factors, as defined by law. If a person over the age of 18 is convicted of first degree murder, the two sentencing options are either the death penalty or a sentence of natural life in prison.
It is my job to review the evidence of both guilt and mitigation, consider input from the victims’ families and then decide what is in the interest of justice. Here, after much consideration, the La Paz County Attorney’s Office has decided not to seek the death penalty in the case of State v Lynch.
I cannot ethically discuss the specifics of the State V Lynch case, but the process I follow in making the decision whether or not to seek the death penalty is a well thought out and careful process. This is a decision I take very seriously, as I know that it will have far reaching impact for not only the defendant, but for the victims’ families and our greater community as well.
Every case has its own distinct set of facts and circumstances; every defendant comes to the criminal justice system with their own unique background, sometimes presenting mitigating factors which dictate that the sentence of natural life in prison be considered.
All of this was taken into account in determining the direction of this prosecution.”