Suspect arrested, released weeks before PV murders - CBS 5 - KPHO

Suspect arrested, released weeks before PV murders

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Michael Crane Michael Crane
PARADISE VALLEY, AZ (CBS5) -

CBS 5 has confirmed a link between the murders of a Paradise Valley couple and the murder of Phoenix business man days before.

On Tuesday, Paradise Valley police said they had arrested five people in connection with the deaths of Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro.

Sources tell CBS 5 they expect at least one more arrest in the case.

Based on the charges, it appears investigators believe Michael Crane was the one inside the Paradise Valley home who terrorized and killed the Shapiros.

[Read charges in Paradise Valley arrests (PDF)]

Since 2002, Crane has been in and out of jail and prison on drug charges.

In 2009, Crane was found mentally incompetent to stand trial but later restored.

The following year, court records show that Crane's mother told police her son was possibly Schizophrenic and bipolar and had to be medicated while behind bars.

She said he was addicted to meth.

"Whether she's qualified to diagnose his mental health, I don't know," said Maricopa County District Attorney Bill Montgomery, "obviously when you're talking about capital litigation, mental health evaluation at the outset."

Jail records show Crane was arrested by Phoenix police less than two months before the Shapiro crimes.

On Dec. 6, 2011, Crane was booked on eight felonies, including various drug and theft charges as well as possession of a weapon.

Crane was released six days later because the county attorney did not file charges and asked police to do further investigation.

At the time of the Shapiros' deaths, Phoenix police had not resubmitted the case to the county attorney.

The roles of each of the other defendants in the Shapiro case remains unclear. Three of the other suspects, Shawn Nicloy, Danielle Rossman and Kelly Steward, face charges related to stolen property belonging to the Shapiros.

Brittany Bienhauer has been linked romantically to Crane. Her one charge of theft stems from another crime. Police reportedly found her with property belonging to Bruce Gaudet.

Gaudet was found shot to death in his condo near Sixteenth Street and Maryland, which was set on fire four days before the Shapiro murders.

Investigators still have a strong interest in Maricela Sanchez, who is being held in Yuma.

Sanchez was arrested the day police discovered Gaudet dead.

Sanchez was reportedly driving Gaudet's car near Yuma. Police said she refused to stop for them and drove up to 110 mph to try to get away.

Prosecutors asked that she be held on $1 million bond until they can determine what role they believe she played in either of the Valley murders.

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 for more on this developing story.

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