There were opening statements Tuesday in the murder trial of Barry Hassell. Prosecutors say Hassell was part of a hideous murder in Paradise Valley. Philanthropists Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro were killed in their home during a burglary, and then their home was set on fire.
Michael Crane is facing first-degree murder charges in the killings. But prosecutors say Barry Hassell was driving with Crane on January 30, 2012, looking for homes to burglarize, so he is part of the crime and should be found guilty of murder.
Hassell was indicted in the case in 2013, paid a $25,000 bond and was released on the condition he wore an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet and followed a curfew.
But police say he cut off his ankle monitor and fled the area. He was caught by a DPS Trooper who tried to make a traffic stop, but Hassell sped away, bailed, and hid in some bushes.
Prosecutors say he drove the car the night Michael Crane allegedly murdered the Shapiros, but Hassell's attorney says he was in no way an accomplice and had no idea the terrible crime would be committed.
The trial is expected to last four weeks, five other people have also been indicted in the case, but they face lesser charges including theft. Crane is also facing murder charges in the killing of Phoenix cigar salesperson Bruce Gaudet just four days before the Shapiros were murdered.