Acquaintance Charged in Arizona Couple's Murder

Meth may have been involved
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2015 6:58 PM CDT
Pinal County sheriff's deputies and investigators dig behind a home in Maricopa, Ariz.   (David Kadlubowski/The Arizona Republic via AP)
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(Newser) – The story surrounding the deaths of Arizona couple Michael and Tina Careccia is starting to come into focus. Police today charged Jose Valenzuela, 38, who lived just blocks away, with murdering them, reports the Arizona Republic. Authorities say Valenzuela confessed prior to a second interview and told police that he had known and used drugs with the Careccias, who were in their early 40s, for about two years. In fact, he said he brought meth to their home in Pinal County on June 21 for a party that day, and the couple then came over to his house later that night, reports NBC News. At that point, "something happened, a fight ensued and that's when he brandished a weapon," says Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

Authorities say Valenzuela shot Michael Careccia first, then his wife, and hid their bodies somewhere on his property until he borrowed a backhoe and buried them in his yard. "He built not a makeshift grave … but an actual 6-foot grave," says the sheriff. He also allegedly moved their car, or had an accomplice do so. Authorities are looking into the possibility that a second person, who lives with Valenzuela, was involved in some way. This "person of interest" told investigators that he heard a gunshot, saw Michael Careccia struggling on the floor, and then saw Valenzuela threatening Tina Careccia with a gun. Valenzuela is being held on $2 million bond.

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