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Release of accused murder from mental health facility causes uproar in Arizona

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(The Center Square)— Republican state senators criticized the release of a man accused in the murder of his mother and niece in 1999 from the Arizona State Hospital this week.

Rodney Aviles has been institutionalized for the past 24 years, but his release comes months after Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell warned Mayes that he could be a threat to the public in a letter. In addition, ABC 15 Arizona reported that his family is critical of the decision to release him.

“If this man is unfit for trial after murdering his family, he’s unfit to be on the streets with the general public and must stay under proper care and supervision,” Senator T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, said in a statement. “As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services, I’ll be working with my colleagues to bring truly independent oversight of the Arizona State Hospital. This is clearly necessary to keep patients and citizens safe from the winds of politics.”

Due to his mental condition, the courts determined that prison time would not be an effective method compared to being in a hospital, and he did not go to trial. While Aviles will be released, ABC 15 said he’s headed to a behavioral health facility.

Sen. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, accused both the governor and the Attorney General of any possible consequences from Avlies’ release.

“Their priorities are completely tone-deaf and out of touch with the needs of our state,” he said in the statement. “Any fallout or further victimization from the release of Aviles will strictly be the result of inaction from Hobbs and Mayes.”

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