ST. GEORGE — Three defendants believed to be involved in the kidnapping and death of David Heisler are now facing first-degree murder charges in the state of Arizona in addition to the charges they each face in Utah.
In addition to the murder charge, Kelley Marie Perry, 32, Francis Lee McCard, 56, and Tammy Renee Freeman, 54, have been charged with class 2 felony kidnapping, according to a criminal complaint filed by Arizona prosecutors Friday in North Canyon Justice Court.
Perry, McCard and Freeman are currently being held at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility in Utah on charges of first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping, first-degree felony aggravated burglary and second-degree felony theft.
The three suspects, arrested separately in July 2016, have been jailed pending trial as Washington County prosecutors await word on a possible federal indictment being sought in the case due to the suspects crossing from one state to another during the commission of the crime.
The three defendants are suspected of kidnapping David Heisler on June 27 resulting in his death after they transported Heisler from Utah to a desolate area in Arizona where he was either killed or left to die in the extreme heat after allegedly being assaulted.
The defendants can be charged in each state where an essential part of the crime has been committed – meaning authorities in each affected state can prosecute a crime that stretches from one territory to another.
The double jeopardy prohibition doesn’t apply to separate “sovereigns,” making it possible that multiple states as well as the federal government can prosecute a defendant for a single course of conduct.
Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the state of Arizona for “murder committed in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.” However, it is unclear whether Arizona prosecutors will pursue the death penalty in this case.
If the prosecution seeks the death penalty, the sentence is decided by a jury and must be unanimous.
Thirty-seven men convicted of murder in Arizona have been executed at Arizona’s Florence State Prison since 1992. There are currently 125 death row inmates in Arizona including two women. The method of execution employed in Arizona is lethal injection.
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