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Arizona won't extradite suspect in SoHo hotel killing to New York, accusing the DA of being soft on crime. The DA says NYC's murder rate is half of Phoenix's.

Rachel Mitchell; Alvin Bragg
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's treatment of violent criminals.Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images; Barry Williams for NY Daily News via Getty Images
  • Arizona is refusing to extradite the suspect in a murder case in New York City.

  • The Maricopa County attorney said the Manhattan district attorney was too soft on violent criminals.

  • In response, the district attorney said Phoenix's murder rate was higher than New York's.

The Maricopa County attorney in Arizona cited concerns about New York's lax treatment of criminals in justifying a decision not to extradite a suspect in a murder to the state — but the murder rate in each state's largest city complicates that message.

A 26-year-old man, Raad Almansoori, was arrested this week in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is being charged in two stabbings in the state.

Joe Kenny, the New York City Police Department's chief of detectives, said on Tuesday that after his arrest, Almansoori told the police to "Google SoHo 54 Hotel."

The police identified him as the suspect in the killing of Denisse Oleas-Arancibia, a 38-year-old woman who was found dead at the SoHo 54 Hotel in Manhattan on February 8.

The Maricopa County attorney, Rachel Mitchell, told reporters on Wednesday that her office would keep Almansoori in Arizona and would not agree to extradition.

"Having observed the treatment of violent criminals in the New York area by the Manhattan DA there, Alvin Bragg," Mitchell said, "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, county, or anywhere in the United States."

Bragg has faced similar criticism since his election in 2021.

Bragg, who campaigned on criminal-justice reform, has told prosecutors in his office that they should seek prison time only for the most serious offenses, like murder, sexual assault, and major economic crimes. He also supported bail reform and said he wanted to "reserve pretrial detention for very serious cases."

Critics have accused him of releasing potentially violent suspects. After a group attacked two NYPD officers in Times Square in January, Bragg released some of the suspects without setting bail, saying he wanted to proceed cautiously and ensure the authorities had the right people. The move put him at odds with Gov. Kathy Hochul. NBC New York reported, citing unnamed sources, that some of those suspects were believed to have fled the state.

In his response to Mitchell, Bragg's office said Phoenix's murder rate was actually higher than New York's. Police data indicates that in 2023, Phoenix, the largest city in Maricopa County, had 198 homicides in a population of about 1.6 million people, while New York City had 391 murders in a population of 8.3 million.

"It is deeply disturbing that DA Mitchell is playing political games in a murder investigation," a representative for Bragg said in a statement, adding: "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."

Still, whether Mitchell's concerns about extraditing the suspect to New York are justified, they are likely to strike a chord with Bragg's critics.

Read the original article on Business Insider