Prosecutors drop ball in fugitive sex predator case -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Prosecutors drop ball in fugitive sex predator case

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Antonio Sanchez  (Source: Tempe Police Department) Antonio Sanchez (Source: Tempe Police Department)
Mazen Diamond (Source: Tempe Police Department) Mazen Diamond (Source: Tempe Police Department)

It took more than a decade for law enforcement to track down Antonio Sanchez.

But the first time the fugitive went before a judge, someone was missing. The prosecutor for this high profile sexual assault case was nowhere to be found.

A few court papers were all the judge had to go on. The sections listing arrests and convictions were left blank and nowhere did it state Sanchez was a flight risk who had just been extradited to Arizona from Miami.

Police said Sanchez along with his cousin Mazen Diamond preyed on women in Tempe. Investigators say they drugged multiple victims and then took turns raping them while videotaping the attacks. The pair skipped town before their sentencing in 2002.

In the video, the judge could be heard saying, "I don't know anything about this case. Obviously it's very old. You've been missing in action for quite some time."

After less than three minutes in front of the judge, Sanchez was granted a $150,000 bond and was released from jail a few days later with his passport still in hand.

Later that month, Diamond had his initial appearance hearing in front of a different judge.

That time there was a prosecutor, but he didn't have all the facts.

Hours after Diamond was granted bond, the court issued an emergency motion to modify his release conditions and his bond was denied.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office declined to go on camera, but spokesman Jerry Cobb sent us this statement:

"Due to miscommunication between multiple state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies involved in the apprehension of defendant Mazen Diamond, neither our office nor the Initial Appearance Court had all the relevant information about defendant Mazen Diamond at the time of his IA hearing. We became aware of this oversight within hours of his initial appearance and immediately (and successfully) petitioned the Court to hold him without bond."

In response to Sanchez's hearing, Cobb had this to say:

"Despite his crimes and attempts to escape justice, defendant Antonio Julio Sanchez was eligible for bail, which the Court granted. We strongly believe, and subsequently argued to the Court, that the $150,000 secured appearance bond is insufficient. The Court disagreed and denied our motion to increase his bond to $1 million in cash. We are nonetheless confident that Sanchez and his accomplice will both be held fully accountable for the harm they have caused."

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