PHOENIX (AP) — The trial of a man accused of fatally shooting nine people in the Phoenix metro area over an 11-month span has been pushed back again, this time to February 2024.
Aaron Saucedo, 28, was arrested in April 2017 in connection with serial street shootings that began in August 2015 and ended in July 2016.
Authorities said Saucedo, a former Phoenix bus driver, was allegedly linked to 12 separate shootings that left nine people dead and three injured, mostly in a largely Latino neighborhood in west Phoenix.
The victims were Black women and young Hispanic men and all but one were randomly shot, according to prosecutors who are seeking the death penalty.
Saucedo is facing charges for first-degree murder, drive-by shooting, attempted murder, aggravated assault, discharging a firearm at a non-residence, endangerment, and discharging a firearm at a residence.
Prosecutors allege Saucedo targeted victims after dark and shot them as they stood outside their homes or sat in cars.
Saucedo trial was originally scheduled for 2019 and has been pushed back three times.
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said the start of the trial is taking so long because there are so many witnesses and victims involved.
Saucedo’s attorneys said more than 200 witnesses needed to be interviewed in the complex case that also was hampered by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are just some realities when you have something like that, that is that complicated. We want to do it right,” Mitchell told Phoenix TV station ABC15.
Nancy Peña said her 32-year-old brother Horacio was among the nine people killed.
“We’re still here. We’re still waiting for an ending for it all,” Peña told ABC15. “It’s hard when you’re told it was supposed to be this year and when you’re told it’s not going to happen.”
Peña said her brother was killed after he had returned home from work, and her mother and sister heard the shooting.
“I can’t see myself moving forward until it’s closed,” said Peña, adding that she’s hoping her 70-year-old mom will see justice carried out. “I just kind of want to do it more for her now.”