Mesa police: Son, friend arrested in death of 36-year-old Tina Helms Spencer

MESA, AZ - The 16-year-old son of a Mesa woman has been arrested, along with a 17-year-old, and both are facing first degree murder charges in connection to her death.

Sgt. Tony Landato, spokesman for the Mesa Police Department, said officers responded to the home near east Juanita Avenue and Gilbert Road around 4 a.m. Saturday after receiving a phone call from the son's stepfather.

The stepfather told police that he had been attacked by the 16-year-old with a kitchen pan after coming home from work and left the house.

When authorities arrived, they noticed that the 16-year-old was no longer at the home and that the woman's vehicle was missing.

Landato said there were "obvious signs of a struggle" inside the home. The investigation led officers into the backyard where the body of 36-year-old Tina Helms Spencer was found inside a shed. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The stepfather told police he thought his wife was sleeping considering it was early in the morning.

During the investigation, police ended up speaking with a 17-year-old friend of the son at his nearby home, when the 16-year-old arrived, he was immediately taken into custody.

The son has been booked into juvenile detention on charges of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, concealment of a dead body and tampering with evidence.

The 17-year-old was arrested and booked into juvenile detention on charges of first degree murder as an accomplice, concealment of a dead body and tampering with evidence.

Landato said it appears the 16-year-old had recently gotten in trouble at home and mentioned that he wanted to hurt his mom to his friend.

Authorities expect to have a transfer hearing to see if the juveniles will be charged as adults.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments