Leonard Greene: Arizona prosecutor plays politics with a New York murder

Leonard Greene, New York Daily News on

Published in Op Eds

As murder cases go, the case against accused killer Raad Almansoori seems pretty open and shut.

Cops have video of him leaving and entering his victim’s hotel. They have him on camera wearing women’s leggings, and found bloody jeans with his credit card information in the victim’s room.

And, if that weren’t enough, police in Arizona, where Almansoori allegedly fled after the Manhattan hotel room death of Denisse Oleas-Arancibia, said he urged them to Google the words “murder” and “SoHo hotel.” With that, he all but confessed to the grisly crime.

“This death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny. “A broken iron was recovered at the scene, and recovered bits of plastic were found embedded in her skull.”

Cops said Oleas-Arancibia was also strangled.

Even a soft-on-crime prosecutor could get a conviction here. It’s a layup. A slam dunk.

At the very least, Almansoori should be in a cell on Rikers Island awaiting arraignment. But there is a major complication.

Authorities in Arizona don’t want to give him up.

After the death earlier this month of Oleas-Arancibia, a Queens mom and sex worker, Almansoori was arrested and charged with two non-fatal stabbings of women in Arizona.

But that’s not why they’re keeping him.

They’re keeping him to make a point.

‘We are going to keep him here,” said Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, a Republican, who nixed New York’s extradition request.

“Having observed the treatment of violent criminals in the New York area by the Manhattan DA there, Alvin Bragg, it’s safer to keep him here and keep him in custody so he can’t be out doing this to individuals either in our state or county or the United States.”

Bragg’s team fired back, blasting Mitchell for playing obvious politics with an important prosecution.


“It is deeply disturbing that DA Mitchell is playing political games in a murder investigation,” said Emily Tuttle, a spokeswoman for Bragg.

“New York’s murder rate is less than half that of Phoenix, Ariz., 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.”

What Mitchell is doing is worse than political. It’s criminal.

As a punishment, Mitchell should be locked in a room with Edwin Cevallos, Oleas-Arancibia’s 18-year-old son, so she can explain to him why she is playing games with justice, and putting communities from Flushing to Phoenix at risk.

Murder trumps the assault and attempted murder charges Almansoori, 26, faces in Arizona.

It’s obvious that if Almansoori is convicted of murder, he would spend more time in prison — possibly the rest of his life — than he would on a conviction from a lesser charge.

That would be good for residents of New York, Arizona, Florida and Texas, where Almansoori has spread his wrath, and any place beyond.

What prosecutor in her right mind would let a murderer off the hook so she could lock him up for assault?

Maybe Bragg doesn’t haven the best reputation when it comes to violent offenders. He should have at least asked for bail last month when a group of migrants attacked two police officers in Times Square.

But that’s no excuse for an Arizona politician’s political games.

Republicans are more upset with Bragg for prosecuting former President Donald Trump, who is accused of paying money to a porn star during his 2016 campaign to cover up an affair.

This is hardly the time for payback.


©2024 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus



Christopher Weyant Bart van Leeuwen John Branch Dave Whamond Jeff Danziger John Deering