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Murder suspect on the run was released from jail 72 hours before crime

Posted at 10:38 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 01:38:33-04

A Phoenix murder suspect, currently on the run, was locked up in the Maricopa County jail three days before the alleged strangling on a city bus.

While in custody, a warrant, with extradition in Arizona and no bond, should have prevented his release - but due to a litany of mistakes and miscommunication, Joshua Bagley was able to walk out of jail. Less than 72 hours later Phoenix police say he killed a 41-year-old mother.

Bagley's release, just days before his most serious crime, is evidence of what officers and attorneys call the "revolving door" of the criminal justice system.

Even though he was arrested twice in one month, while having an active felony warrant in Arizona, Bagley was never kept in custody for more than 72 hours.

Since February 2, multiple law enforcement agencies say they have arrested Bagley in stolen cars.

Goodyear Police was the most recent agency to arrest Bagley, just one week before the strangling. An arrest report states Bagley was in a stolen car that also had a stolen license plate. When he was pulled over, officers say the 26-year-old threw a meth pipe out the window.

He was booked in jail on three felony charges and five misdemeanors. A judge found there to be probable cause. Roughly 48 hours after his initial appearance though, Bagley walked free without having to post even a percentage of the $750 bond.

He was released, in part, because the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office chose not to charge the case right away and, instead, sent it back to Goodyear police for further investigation. A spokesperson for MCAO said prosecutors needed more evidence in order to proceed with charges and have a ‘reasonable likelihood of conviction.’

A prosecutor was not present on the 5 a.m. initial appearance call and the judge never brought up his active Mohave County criminal cases. Bagley himself was the only person to mention the other cases and potential warrants.

“More than likely I'm going to be extradited because of a case in Mohave County,” Bagley told the judge. “That may cause a conflict of schedules, right?”

The judge told him to talk to his attorney and get it sorted out. It did not appear to raise any red flags to prosecutors or police that he may have a warrant involving extradition.

The decision by MCAO not to charge should not have been the deciding factor in whether or not Bagley was released May 3.

In fact, Bagley should have been extradited back to Mohave County in early April when Mesa PD picked him up on the felony warrant, issued by Lake Havasu City Police.

That never happened.

Mesa told Lake Havasu City they had Bagley in custody, and saw his active warrant, with extradition requested in all of Arizona. Lake Havasu City PD told Mesa they wanted to extradite him.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Lake Havasu City PD told ABC15:

“Our dispatcher confirmed the warrant was valid and that we would extradite. Mesa PD sent a locate and we placed a detainer on the subject in NCIC. A teletype was sent to Mesa PD and MCSO with the extradition/detainer information.

You will need to reach out to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office for more information on the reason why Bagley was not picked up.

If the detainer process is not completed the Mohave County Sheriff’s Department or the courts will notify our agency. In this incident that did not occur.”

ABC15 reached out to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Department Monday evening and asked why Bagley was never picked up and extradited. A spokesperson said they would need more time to look into the matter.

Even though Bagley seemed to slip through the cracks in early April, he was still arrested again at the end of the month by Goodyear PD. The warrant was apparently no longer active and instead classified as a detainer. So the arrest warrant had to be re-filed in Mohave County before it could be active.

So when Bagley should have been held longer, once MCAO declined to file charges within 48 hours, he was released.

Bagley walked out of the jail at 11am on May 3.

A new felony arrest warrant with extradition was issued in Mohave Superior Court around 9:30 p.m.

On May 6 around 8 a.m. Bagley allegedly strangled a 41-year-old mother.