Phoenix man accused of stabbing 12-year-old brother pleads not guilty

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On Thursday, 27-year-old Andrew Ward, accused of stabbing his 12-year-old brother in a north Phoenix home earlier this month, pleaded not guilty in front of the Maricopa County Superior Court.

On Thursday morning, he was facing allegations of first-degree murder, child abuse and aggravated assault when he stood before Superior Court Judge Casey J. Newcomb. Ward tried to say something related to the case before Newcomb held up a finger to stop him, saying Ward to simply plead not guilty instead. 3 family members of Ward were also present in court.

On 12th of March, Ward called 911 from a convenience store and reported he had stabbed someone at a house off 35th Avenue south of Deer Valley Road, according to the police. Police officers found Austin Tapia with multiple and fatal stab wounds when they reached the home around 5:30 p.m.

According to Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix police spokesman, Ward had blood on his clothing and was believed to be carrying a knife in his pants pocket when he was arrested at the convenience store.

Ward was alone with his brother in the home when the incident happened; his mother and two sisters were out to dinner. Austin had decided to stay home.

According to the detectives, when they asked Ward why he killed his brother he told them, “Honestly, I just, felt like killing”.

Ward struggled with drugs and alcohol which is shown by his court records.

Police suggested Ward may be an addict and mentally ill and had asked to “go to (a) mental hospital” instead of jail when he called police, showed in the probable-cause statement. According to the police report, Ward’s family said that he suffered from depression and had a history of domestic violence in the home. His family members also said that Ward had threatened them in the past and that his siblings had called the police on him before.

Ward’s lawyer, Marci Kratter, said that she was recently appointed to Ward’s case and she is still collecting information but that she feels for the family. She said, “The loss of a new life is tragic”.

Newcomb said it is a “complex case” and there will be a scheduling conference prior to the trial. Ward’s initial pre-trial conference will be on 14th of May.

Before this, Ward was convicted for DUI, assault, marijuana possession and resisting arrest which is showed by the court records.

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