Questions raised about protection orders after 2 Phoenix-area women killed, 1 strangled

There were three separate crimes, but all with one connection — the victims had an order of protection against their attacker.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:41 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 10:21 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- In the past week alone, three major crimes in the West Valley led to two women being shot to death and another strangled. Three separate crimes, but all with one connection — the victims had an order of protection against their attacker. It begs the question, how much does an order of protection truly protect you?

A 911 call played the heart-shattering moment when Jordin Miranda Castillo desperately called Glendale Police for help on Sunday before her ex-boyfriend, Ruben Rocha, allegedly fired the deadly shots. Five days before that, Jose Chagnon was accused of shooting and killing his wife before starting a standoff with Avondale police. Just 24 hours before that, David Milhorn reportedly strangled his ex-girlfriend in a Peoria Walmart, telling her, “I’m going to kill you.”

The sad reality is all three women had active orders of protection against these suspects. “An order of protection is merely a piece of paper,” said Chandler attorney Tom Ryan.

Ryan says while an order of protection can help protect you legally, real-life protection can be fatally flawed. “There are some unfortunate gaps in Arizona’s order of protection law, and you have just identified a very significant one,” he said.

He’s talking about guns. In two of these three incidents, the victims were killed by gun violence.

In Arizona, if the court finds a defendant in an order of protection a credible threat, they can order police to take their guns, but that is a case-by-case scenario. Background checks to buy a gun are not required by state law. A federal law requires stores to do one, but private sellers in Arizona do not have to. “That’s the problem here. Someone can say sure have all my guns but then go down to a store and easily obtain another gun and ammo to go accomplish what they may want to do, and that’s the scary part of this,” said Ryan.

But there are still good reasons to seek orders of protection in a dangerous situation. It gives those who are granted more power in court should the offender commit any crime and violate the order. “You now, in essence, have two crimes when before you would have committed one, so it is a serious thing,” said Ryan.

While that could increase charges or lead to more severe convictions, it also is something Ryan said you can notify your local police department, workplace, and security company about. The more who know, the safer you are. “You have more eyes looking out for you, so that’s why that’s important,” he explained.

Ryan said if you have an order of protection, do not be afraid or embarrassed to call 911 if you believe your perpetrator is coming over, even if they don’t show up. It’s better to have police there anyway. He says he often sees victims violate their own order of protection by contacting or talking to the perpetrator but advises not to do that.

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