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 New Year's Double murder suspect extradited
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11 months ago

New Year's Double murder suspect extradited

TUCSON - The suspect arrested in in Kansas City on Jan. 15 on charges of killing two on New Year's Day has been extradited and booked into Pima County Jail.

Jail records show Michael Leday, 28, was booked into Pima County Jail Feb. 5. He appeared in video court Wednesday morning.

Leday is accused of fatally running over Patrick Balbastro and Cindy Burnett early New Year's Day.

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1 year ago

Good Samaritan killed in New Year's Day homicide laid to rest

TUCSON - The man who tried to help a woman on New Year's Eve but was killed in the process was laid to rest on Saturday.

Patrick Balbastro and his girlfriend stopped to help Cindy Burnett who was being assaulted by a man in a south side neighborhood. Police say that man was Michael Leday, who then intentionally ran over all three of them. Balbastro and Burnett died of their injuries.

Leday was arrested and charged on Wednesday after he fled to Kansas City.

Balbastro's family held funeral services at St. Augustine's in downtown Tucson as a way to say their final goodbyes but also to re-live the good memories.

"My cousin had the biggest heart. He loved everybody with all of this heart," said Tina Newbury, Balbastro's cousin, speaking to a crowd inside the church.

Emotions ran high as family paused to remember the life Balbastro lived and the legacy he lives behind.

An electrician by trade, Balbastro even worked on the lights that shined down on his funeral. For family, it's the impression he made on their lives that will never fade.

"My cousin's job was to bring light into the life of everybody. It's kind of funny, right? But he did... We couldn't wait for him to come," Newbury said.

The Balbastro family is still struggling with funeral expenses and has organized a benefit on Saturday January 25th to help curb the costs.

It will take place at the Wooden Nickel at 1908 S. Country Club Rod from noon-6pm. $5 entry fee includes a large plate of authentic Mexican food, live music and raffles. Vendors are welcome with a $25 vending fee (contact: 520-445-5899)

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1 year ago

New Year's double homicide suspect arrested in Kansas City

U.S. Marshalls have arrested the suspect wanted in the New Year's double homicide.

Michael Leday, 28, was arrested in Kansas City, MO, Tucson Police said.

Kansas City Police and U.S. Marshals chased Leday into a wooded area behind the Crown Lodge motel.

Leday was arrested at around 8:45 p.m.

Leday is charged with two counts of first degree murder.

Police say Leday brutally ran over 3 people, killing 2.

Patrick Balbastro and Cindy Burnett both died. The third victim remains hospitalized.

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1 year ago

Suspect in New Year's double homicide identified

TUCSON - Police have released the name of the suspect they say killed two people early New Year's Day.

Michael D. Leday, 28, repeatedly ran over three people early Jan. 1, killing two, Tucson Police Lt. James Graves said.

Lt. James Graves announced the name of the suspect in a press conference Thursday.

Graves attributed the work of detectives and forensic work for identifying Leday.

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1 year ago

Police release description of double homicide suspect

TUCSON - A more detailed description of the suspect wanted for killing two people New Years Day has been released by police.

Tucson Police learned more about the suspect from interviewing the cab driver who dropped him off before dawn Jan. 1.

The suspect is described as being a black man with a thin build and weighing about 175 pounds.

The man is in his 20's or 30's and stands 5'10'' to 5'11''.

Tucson Police say the suspect was picked up by the cab driver with Cindy Burnett at the Junxion Bar downtown at around 3 a.m.

After the cab driver had dropped them off at in the 2200 block of East Sunland Vista, a fight ensued between Burnett and the suspect.

A bystander, 32-year-old Patrick Balbastro, tried to intervene, police said.

The suspect got into Balbastro's car and proceeded to run over Burnett and Balbastro repeatedly.

The suspect crashed the car into a nearby tree and flee, where he has eluded police since.

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1 year ago

"He's a monster": sister of New Year's Day murder victim speaks

TUCSON- The sister of Patrick Balbastro says her brother was living life to the fullest, until his life was tragically cut short early on New Year's Day.

She wishes to remain anonymous as she mourns the loss of her brother and says the man who murdered him is a monster. "For someone to run somebody over multiple times, get out and hit the person in the face and then run them over again," she says. "Who does that?"

Balbastro was killed just before 4am on New Year's Day in the 2200 block of East Sunland Vista. Police say he and his girlfriend were driving by, when they saw two people, a man and a woman, fighting on the street.

Balbastro called 911, then got out of the car. A fight erupted between Balbastro and the man who was fighting with the woman on the street. Following the fight, the suspect entered Balbastro's vehicle and proceeded to aggressively use the vehicle as a weapon to strike Balbastro, his girlfriend and the woman who the suspect was fighting with.

Balbastro died at the hospital. His 43-year-old girlfriend remains in critical condition at UAMC. The other woman, 46-year old Cindy Burnett, died at the scene.

The suspect fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle after colliding into a tree near Sunland Vista and Campbell Avenue. "What he did to my brother and to other people breaks my heart," Balbastro's sister says.

She had seen him just hours before, celebrating New Year's Eve at the casino. They talked about his goals for the future.

According to witnesses, the suspect and Burnett arrived at the scene via a Yellow Cab taxi. On Thursday afternoon detectives were able to locate the driver of that cab. They are now questioning the driver, hoping he or she can provide any valuable information about the suspect.

The suspect is described as a light skinned African American or Hispanic male. Detectives believe he may have some injuries from when he escaped. Anyone with information should call 911 or 88-CRIME.

1 year ago

Cab driver who dropped off double murder suspect located

TUCSON - Tucson Police have located the taxi driver that dropped off a double homicide suspect who ran over 3 people News Years Day.

Authorities also released the names of a man and woman killed in the incident.

Police say 32-year-old Patrick Balbastro and 47-year-old Cindy Burnett were fatally injured and another person seriously injured Wednesday morning when they were run over during an altercation.

Burnett died at the scene and police say Balbastros later died at a Tucson hospital.

They say Balbastro's 43-year-old girlfriend remains hospitalized with critical injuries. Her name hasn't been released yet.

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1 year ago

Victims in double homicide identified

TUCSON - Police are calling the cab driver who dropped off a suspect in a New Years double homicide a "critical witness" in the investigation.

Tucson Police are still looking to speak with the driver Thursday. The Victims have been identified as Cindy Burnett, DOB in 1966, and Patrick Balbastro, DOB in 1981.

TPD says Balbastro was driving the white sedan with a female passenger when they saw a man and a woman who appeared to be fighting on Sunland Vista.
Balbastro and the woman called 911 to report the incident before stopping to try to help the woman because it appeared she couldn't fight off the suspect.

Both got out of the vehicle and attempted to help, according to TPD.

According to TPD, the suspect then became confrontational with Balbastro and ultimately jumped into Balbastro's car and ran him, Burnett, and the woman who was with Balbastro over.

The other woman remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Her name is not available at this time.

Burnett was the woman with whom the suspect was allegedly fighting.

The suspect is described as a light skinned African American or Hispanic man.

They still are not sure the man detained yesterday was involved in this incident.

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1 year ago

TPD questioning man in connection with New Year's Day homicides

TUCSON- Tucson Police have detained a man for questioning in connection with two New Year's Day murders on the south side.

At around 4pm on Wednesday afternoon, TPD surrounded a home near Adams and 6th Avenue. They handcuffed one man and took him into custody.

Nick Torio saw the police cars, as he was taking his dogs out for a walk. "There are wackos everywhere and you don't know who's who anymore," Torio says.

The incident started just before 4am Wednesday. Detectives say a man and a woman got out of a yellow sedan with the words "Yellow Cab" in the 2200 Block of East Sunland Vista. Shortly after the cab left the area, a vehicle approached the male and female and a fight began.

One of the males involved in the incident got into a vehicle and intentionally ran over three victims. It is unclear which party the suspect driver was originally with.

When officers arrived they located a 47-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene. A 32-year-old male later died from his injuries at a hospital. A 43-year-old woman remains in the hospital with life threatening injuries.

The suspect fled the scene. "I feel a little uneasy because I have two grandkids in the house and my daughter and my wife," says Christopher Johnson, who lives nearby.

"You never know who's who these days," Torio says. "You think somebody's nice and then something like this happens, so you can't really judge a book by its cover."

Detectives are asking for the public's help in identifying the driver of the cab. If you have any information, call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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