Family of carjacking suspect says she has a troubled past

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Family members of a woman accused of participating in a violent carjacking in downtown Phoenix that led to an officer-involved shooting say she has a troubled past.

Jessica Hicks, a 23-year-old mother of three, is facing murder and robbery charges in connection with Tuesday's incident.

Police shot and killed the driver of the stolen SUV, 26-year-old Craig Uran, at Jefferson Street and First Avenue. Police said he failed to stop after being rammed by an armored police vehile, and they believed he was a threat to the public and was jeopardizing the safety of pedestrians.

Hicks was allegedly in the passenger seat of that SUV.

Court documents said that Hicks claimed she was under duress at the time of the crime but admitted to selecting the carjacking victim and taking the keys.

Under state law, Hicks can be charged with murdering Uran because his death happened during the commission of a felony.

Hicks' grandfather disagrees with the murder charge.

“She did not kill the guy," Dennis Zimmerman said. "The police officer killed him.”

Family members said she has a history of drug use, but they never imagined she’d be caught up in something so violent.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Zimmerman said. “I heard the news last night and I wasn’t sure it was her or not.”

Zimmerman said the last time he saw Hicks, she told him she’d been clean for two days. He said his granddaughter has used heroin, cocaine and other drugs over the years.

“She runs with the wrong crowd,” he said. “(She) needs to get away from those nasty people she was with.”

According to Zimmerman, Hicks' three young children have been in the custody of other family members for a while.

Zimmerman said he never met Uran and is not sure if the two were romantically involved.

He also said he has bailed his granddaughter out of jail in the past but will not pay her current $270,000 bond.

“It’s a very sad time in our lives,” Zimmerman said. “I still love her. I’d take her back in again. God be with her.”