2 Suspects arrested for execution-style killing west of Phoenix

Posted: Updated:

AGUILA, Ariz. -- Two suspects wanted for an execution-style slaying in Aguila, Ariz., have been arrested in Idaho.

Cory Austin Ainslie and Quinn Messersmith were persons of interest in a Feb. 8 shooting just south of U.S. 60 outside Aguila.

Maricopa County sheriff's homicide detectives tracked Ainslie and Messersmith to a small town in Idaho. Detectives interviewed both suspects and obtained evidence from the crime scene, including the rifles used in the homicide.

According to the investigation, Ainslie and Messersmith were in the Coyote Flats Bar on the evening of Feb. 8 when they got into a verbal confrontation with the two victims, Douglas Moffitt Jr. and Edward Michael Moreno.

The argument apparently concluded but somehow escalated again a few miles down the road at Seventh Street and Long Rifle Road where all four men had driven in two separate vehicles.

Sometime around midnight, Moffitt was shot once on the side of the road but was able to make his way back to the bar for help. Moreno was shot twice and was dead at the scene when deputies arrived.

Detectives determined that while Moreno was lying on the ground bleeding from a shot to the chest, the shooter stood over him and shot him in the head at near pointblank range.

The suspects fled the state in a white Dodge pickup with an attached horse trailer. It was later located in Gooding County, Idaho.

Detectives say the suspects first claimed self-defense as the reason for the shooting, but in later interviews both admitted that Moreno did not have a weapon.

Messersmith will face aggravated assault charges and Ainslie will face first-degree murder charges upon their extradition to Arizona.