Arizona prosecutor refuses to extradite suspect in New York killing, citing Manhattan DA’s handling of previous cases

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A suspect in the killing of a woman at a New York City hotel – who was arrested in Arizona in connection with a different case – will not be extradited, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said Wednesday, citing the handling of other cases by Manhattan prosecutors.

Raad Almansoori, 26, was arrested in Arizona this week on suspicion of stabbing two women in that state, according to New York City Police Department Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny.

Almansoori is wanted in New York in connection with the February death of Denisse Oleas-Arancibia, 38, who was found dead in her SoHo hotel room with a bloody iron next to her body, according to police. The death was ruled a homicide.

“We will not be agreeing to extradition… We’re going to keep him here,” Mitchell told reporters Wednesday. “These are mandatory prison sentences and having observed the treatment of violent criminals in the New York area by the Manhattan DA there, Alvin Bragg, I think it’s safer to keep him here and keep him in custody so that he cannot be out doing this to individuals either in our state or county or anywhere in the United States.”

Mitchell made a point to say the decision was not a criticism of the NYPD, focusing instead on the Manhattan district attorney.

A spokesperson for Bragg pushed back against the criticism in a statement, saying it is “deeply disturbing” that the Arizona prosecutor is “playing political games in a murder investigation.”

“In Manhattan, we are serious about New Yorkers’ safety, which is why murders are down 24% and shootings are down 38% since DA Bragg took office,” Emily Tuttle said. “New York’s murder rate is less than half that of Phoenix, Arizona, because of the hard work of the NYPD and all of our law enforcement partners. It is a slap in the face to them and to the victim in our case to refuse to allow us to seek justice and full accountability for a New Yorker’s death.”

Bragg has come under fire since issuing guidance to his assistants in 2022 to refrain from asking for bail even in some cases that were “bail eligible.” His guidance followed a controversial 2020 state bail reform act that essentially barred judges from setting bail in a sweeping number of crimes – a change critics said puts communities in danger.

In January, four of seven men indicted for assaulting NYPD officers near Times Square were released without bail. The defendants in that assault outside a migrant shelter were charged with felonies for which prosecutors could have asked for bail, in particular because they were living in temporary shelters for migrants and had no “ties to the community” to ensure their return to court. But prosecutors did not ask for bail, sparking criticism from state and local officials.

In a statement wednesday, Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said: “When you have prosecutors from around the country that can’t trust that District Attorneys like Alvin Bragg will ensure justice, you know we have a real crisis. NYPD Detectives have seen it firsthand as the violent criminals they arrest are freed within moments. They’re fed up — and New Yorkers should be too!”

The death of Oleas-Arancibia in New York was “caused by blunt force trauma to the head,” Kenny, the NYPD chief of detectives, said, citing a medical examiner’s office. “Bits of plastic were found embedded inside of her skull,” Kenny said.

Denisse Oleas-Arancibia - From GoFundMe
Denisse Oleas-Arancibia - From GoFundMe

Kenny said the death likely stemmed from a dispute over how long Almansoori was allowed to stay in the hotel room with the victim. Detectives said they were able to identify the suspect through video canvasses, witness interviews and by tracking credit card usage.

Nine days after Oleas-Arancibia was discovered in New York, Almansoori is suspected of committing a knifepoint carjacking in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 17, and stabbing a female victim.

The next day, police in Sunrise, Arizona, were called to a McDonald’s where a woman was found with multiple stab wounds. Almansoori was arrested in Scottsdale driving a stolen car.

“While in custody of Arizona law enforcement, (the suspect) informs them that he is wanted for homicide in New York City and tells the cops that they should Google ‘SoHo 54 hotel,’” Kenny said.

Police are also exploring the possibility of additional victims, as Almansoori told officers in Arizona that he had three additional female victims in Florida, investigators said.

The NYPD has appealed to law enforcement and communities around the country, saying there’s potential for other victims anywhere Almansoori has visited.

CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Mark Morales and Brynn Gingras contributed to this report.

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