Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ojai Man Suspect In Phoenix Murder

By Lenny Roberts
Phoenix police have arrested a 53-year-old Ojai man on suspicion of murder, armed robbery and vehicle theft after the body of an 18-year-old woman was discovered inside an insurance office, according to Detective Bob Ragsdale of the Phoenix Police Department.
Ragsdale confirmed published reports that Stephen Douglas Reeves was taken into custody Saturday after attempting to drive away in the victim’s vehicle with her wallet and cell phone, but would not disclose the weapon used or the extent of her injuries, only saying that she sustained “upper body trauma.”
The Phoenix-based Arizona Republic, however, reported the victim, Norma Gabriella Contreras, had her throat slit with a box cutter and suffered head injuries. Ragsdale would not comment when asked if there was a motive in the killing.
Ragsdale said police were alerted after a witness reported hearing a woman screaming inside the C and R Insurance office in the 7200 block of West Indian School Road.
According to Ventura County court records, Reeves pleaded guilty and was convicted of inflicting injuries upon a spouse or co-inhabitant in 1998 in Oxnard, and in 2006 of driving under the influence with special enhancements of a prior DUI and with a blood-alcohol level or more than twice the legal limit.
Reeves remains in the Maricopa County Jail pending a court appearance.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I knew Gabby since she about 14 years old her mother worked with me and then later so did Gabby...she was a bright sweet girl and he mother, brother and father are destroyed because if this...I am angry that his monster took susch a innocent life. Gabby was only a teenager...just entering into womenhood. I cannot imagine the terror she was in you would have to just know what a wonderful person she was to understand. Her mother has tried till herself since this terrible incident...she loved her only daughter and was so proud of her they were like best friends. Please pray for her family.

Anonymous said...

If he is guilty, I can't think of a better jail for him to be in, except maybe Pelican Bay in Northern California.

I'm sure all in Ojai feel exceptionally awful about what happened to this beautiful young woman, who had her life ahead of her, but taken away, by the hands possibly, of one from here, our little place to get away from that very despicable type of behaviour.
Our condolences to the family
Dana Wilson

Anonymous said...

Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Gabby. I live in Denver, Colorado and work with one of Gabby's cousins. My sister who lives in Eloy and myself were shocked by the brutality of this unfortunate circumstance. I have talked about this with my daughters, ages 16,18 & 19. A cousin of ours worked in the area and was aquainted with Gabby, not knowing how close to home this would be for ourselves and I cannot imagine what her mother is going through. My heart breaks for her mother when I look at my own daughters. Que Dios los Bendige y los guarde siempre...Gabby siempre estara en nuestros pensamientos...


Rose M. Mendez
Monica A. Serna
Christina M. Serna
Desiree M. Serna

Denver, Colorado

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the news releases have listed this psychopath as an Ojai resident due to
the fact that it was his last known address for a very short time. He lived mainly in Oxnard
and Ventura. This man is a 3-time convicted felon with a substance abuse problem, who worked and lived among us, wearing the pretense of normality, which cloaked a criminal mind. He used his charms while he conned and exploited, ruthlessly and mercilessly.
I believe he is not oblivious to the likely outcomes of his actions or to the price he may have to pay, but that he just does not care. He is indifferent to the consequences of his actions, the damage and the pain that he inflicts on others and even the social condemnation and penalties that he will have to endure.
His brutal and monstrous actions have left us shocked and stunned. We are unable to process an act of such violence and horror that it is beyond our realm of comprehension. He has left a wake of destruction in his path that has affected not just this innocent young woman, who’s life he took so casually and without regard, but everyone who knew and loved her. The enormity of the devastation makes our hearts ache to the point of breaking, our stomachs wrench with sickness and our bodies limp with helplessness. In addition, let us not forget the emotional wreckage he has caused his own family. One cannot even fathom how this man’s children and parents will be able to cope with the pain, guilt, and shame of knowing that their father and son could execute such an abhorrent, despicable act.
What caused this man to snap past the point of reason? What fueled the rage inside him that he could take another person’s life so brutally? We may never know. He may not even know himself. All we can do is pray. Pray for the victim’s family that God will help them find some inner peace. Pray for all the other victims, whose lives this man has destroyed in one way or another, that they may be able to gather themselves up and move past the pain and confusion. Pray that justice will be served and this man will never see freedom again.

Robert Reeves said...

I WISH THERE WAS SOME WAY FOR ME TO EXPLAIN JUST HOW TRULY SORRY I AM FOR THE LOSS OF YOUR DAUGHTER, I AM AT A LOSS FOR WORDS, AND I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH THIS YOUNG LADY IF IT WERE AT ALL POSSIBLE, IM A FATHER MYSELF AND I CANT BEGIN TO IMAGINE , AND FOR THIS IM TRULY SADDENED,DISGUSTED, AND APPALED AT THE ACTIONS OF THIS MONSTER, HES BEEN A WALKING TIME BOMB FOR AS LONG AS I HAVE KNOWN THIS MAN (30YEARS), AND NOW I KICK MYSELF IN THE ASS FOR NOT DOING LIKE I HAVE WANTED TO FOR SO LONG WITH THIS MAN ,AND ILL NOT INCRIMINATE MY THOUGHTS ANY FURTHER , BUT HE WAS THERE IN MY LIFE AT ALL THE WRONG TIMES, EVERYDAY, AND HE EVEN TRIED TO RAISE ME FROM BEHIND HIS VODKA BOTTLE, I GAVE UP HOPE ON THIS MAN LONG AGO, AND I HAVE TRIED SO MANY TIMES TO GIVE HIM A FRESH START BUT THE PIECE OF S&^t NEVER DESERVED IT, IM NOW WITHOUT A FAMILY MEMBER , AND I FEEL SOME WHAT SADDENED BECAUSE HE WAS MY DAD, AND AT THE SAME TIME I FEEL SO MUCH WEIGHT BEING LIFTED, IM JUST SORRY IT CAME AT SUCH HIGH A PRICE FOR THE WORLD TO BE RID OF THIS MONSTROUS DEVIL OF A MAN, MY FATHER DIED LONG AGO EVEN THO I TRIED TO ACCEPT HIM BACK IT ALWAYS BACK FIRED ON ME AND MADE ME HATE HIM MORE, AND THERE IS NO BETTER PLACE FOR HIM NOW , I HOPE THAT THE STATE OF ARIZONA HAS THE DEATH PENALTY, LIKE THE ELECTRIC CHAIR , PREFERRABLY , AND IF THEY DONT THEN I HOPE THAT PRISON SYSTEM PUTS HIM ON A MAIN LINE YARD SO THAT THEY CAN PUNISH THIS MAN , LET HIM FEEL AND SEE THE FEAR HE BROUGHT TO THAT POOR YOUNG LADY, AND I PROMISE I TOO WILL ENJOY THE NEWS WHEN HE PASSES , BECAUSE HE DESERVES NO SUCH LUXURY ,LIKE AIR OR EVEN SPACE ON THIS EARTH, AND I ONCE AGAIN APOLOGIZE FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART , AND OFFER MY CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY ,AND LIKE I SAID I WOULD GLADLY TRADE PLACES WITH HER IF I COULD , MY THOUGHTS TO YOU ,AND IF HE CAN SEE THESE MESSAGES, THIS IS FOR HIM , DAD ,U R A PIECE OF SHIT AND U R NOW DEAD TO ME , SO U NO LONGER HAVE ME AS A SON , MY FATHER DIED A LONG TIME AGO AND I REGRETFULLY ADMIT THAT I HAVE ANY OF YOUR BLOOD RUNNING THRU MY VEINS, IM NO LONGER ANY PART OF YOUR LIFE NOR IS MY FAMILY, I WISH U ALL THE MISERY HELL CAN OFFER, AND I HOPE IT FEELS GOOD KNOWING U R ALL ALONE WHEN U FACE THAT REAPER, CAUSE NO ONE CARES ABOUT U ANYMORE OVER HERE ,SO FARWELL AND GOOD RIDDANCE ASSHOLE, ROBERT REEVES

Anonymous said...

A HELLUVA THING!

Man accused of killing 18-year-old had been released recently
Robert Anglen
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 21, 2007 12:00 AM

A week before 18-year-old Norma Gabriella Contreras was murdered with a box cutter, Phoenix police called to an attempted burglary stopped the man now accused in her killing and set him free.
Police released Stephen Reeves after running an inaccurate background check that failed to reveal that the 53-year-old drifter was a felon with a warrant out for his arrest.
Instead of arresting Reeves, police officials confirm, an officer took Reeves at his word for a phony birth date and Social Security number and drove him to an alcohol recovery center, where people go to sober up. advertisement
Phoenix police spokesman Bob Ragsdale said there was no way for the officer to know the Social Security number was a fake. Ragsdale also said the officer made the decision not to charge Reeves with attempted burglary at Phoenix College based on the officer's assessment at the scene.
"There was a broken pot, and a man (Reeves) was intoxicated," Ragsdale said. "I'm not going to second-guess the officer."
But safety officers at the college said they gave police Officer Kurt Arnoldussen Reeves' real Social Security number, the officers' supervisor said. Campus safety officers also say it took Arnoldussen two hours to arrive, and once there, he did not examine the crime scene or take a report. He left with Reeves after a few minutes of questioning.
Police said that on June 2, seven days later, Reeves walked into an insurance office in a strip mall at Indian School Road and 75th Avenue in Phoenix, where Contreras was working alone. They said Reeves first hit Contreras with a brick, then beat and strangled her and hit her with a piece of wood. He finally slit her throat with a box cutter, took her wallet and car keys and fled, police said.
Phoenix College Safety Director John Porvaznik said he doesn't want to suggest Contreras would be alive if Reeves had been arrested at the college a week earlier. But Porvaznik said there was enough evidence to charge Reeves with at least two felonies.
"We're calling it an attempted burglary," said Porvaznik, a retired 20-year veteran of the Chandler Police Department. "We would have liked to see (Reeves) arrested. . . . Yes, he committed a crime."
An arrest likely would have landed him in jail.
Campus police stopped Reeves around 7:30 p.m. on May 26, after an officer saw him on a video camera attempting to break into the school's child-care facility.
The officers reported that Reeves appeared to be intoxicated, had a bottle of vodka in his back pocket and claimed to be looking for a friend. He did not put up any resistance. The officers said they found a broken potted plant that had been used in an attempt to break a window, which was also damaged.
Porvaznik said his officers held Reeves for two hours. During that time, he gave them his name, birth date and Social Security number and bragged that he had an extensive prison record.
At the least, Porvaznik said, Reeves should have been charged with criminal damage, a felony that would have resulted in a police report, booking and possible discovery of his criminal history.
Contacted at the Squaw Peak precinct, where he works nights, Arnoldussen declined to comment on his decision to release Reeves, saying only that he has talked to detectives about it.
Criminal history:
The Social Security and birth-date information Reeves provided to campus police reveals a criminal history going back at least a decade, including an arrest in Bullhead City last month on burglary charges.
Reeves was born in California and lived in Ventura County for much of his adult life. Records show he spent three years in prison on a domestic-violence charge. In 1998, Reeves pleaded guilty to injuring his spouse badly enough to put her in the hospital. He was released from prison in 2001 and served parole until 2004.
In 2006, the California Highway Patrol arrested Reeves for drunken driving. Records show that Reeves pleaded guilty but failed to serve a 45-day jail sentence. In April, the Ventura County Superior Court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Less than a month later, Reeves had his first run-in with authorities in Arizona. Court records show that, on May 15, police in Bullhead City cited Reeves for driving on a suspended license.
On May 17, police there arrested Reeves after a business on U.S. 95 was broken into. Reeves was charged with criminal damage, burglary and possession of burglary tools and was released on bond.
Police accounts differ
Ragsdale, the Phoenix police spokesman, said that even if the officer had learned of the warrant, Reeves would probably not have been held on it. Ragsdale said California typically doesn't extradite a suspect over a failure-to-appear warrant stemming from a drunken-driving charge.
Ragsdale also said Arnoldussen probably would not have discovered the recent burglary charges in Bullhead City from a computer check in his patrol car.
Ragsdale said Arnoldussen told detectives and his supervisor that Reeves was drunk and that evidence of a break-in at the college amounted to a broken pot. Ragsdale said computer records confirmed that Arnoldussen ran Reeves' name through the system with the bad Social Security number and birth date he provided.
Because Reeves wasn't carrying any ID, Ragsdale said, the officer relied on Reeves to provide him with details.
The college police report shows that Reeves provided campus officers with a different Social Security number and birth date. Porvaznik said his officers gave that information to Arnoldussen at the time.
Porvaznik said one of his officers wrote down the information on a notepad and gave a sheet to Arnoldussen before he left. Porvaznik also said his officers reported that Arnoldussen spent most of his time talking with Reeves.
The officers reported that the Phoenix officer made no attempts to examine the damaged window or the broken pot.
"The police officer did not look at any of that," Porvaznik said. "He did not go to look."
Porvaznik said the decision to arrest Reeves was solely up to Arnoldussen. Because the safety officers who stopped Reeves were security guards rather than certified police officers, they did not have the power to arrest.
"If we would have had a certified officer there, then this might have gone a little differently," Porvaznik said, adding that the campus security budget allows for only a limited number of certified officers.
'Mistakes were made':
According to a friend of the Contreras family, the Phoenix Police Department has acknowledged making a mistake by releasing Reeves after the college incident.
"The family knows all about it," said Angela Parker, who worked with Norma Contreras at the insurance office. "A detective apologized and said mistakes were made."
Parker, who lowered her eyes and brushed away tears while talking about Contreras, said the family is not angry with the police. Parker said anger is not going to bring back their daughter.
"They are trying to forget, and they want to forgive," Parker said, adding that Contreras' mother can barely talk about Norma, whom everybody called Gabriella.
Parker said Gabriella's mother has even expressed forgiveness for Reeves. As for Parker, every day that she comes to work is a reminder of the friend she lost.
She points to a handwritten flier being used to solicit donations for the Contreras family. The snapshot captures Norma's pretty, cherubic features.
"She was a good person with a lot of plans, a lot of dreams, a lot of things to do," Parker said. "Somebody came and changed everything."