Arizona

Man accused of killing ex-wife was embroiled in divorce case

This undated photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's office shows Josiah English III. Phoenix police say a 40-year-old man has been arrested in the shooting death of his ex-wife in the presence of their two small children amid continuing legal battles between the parents. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP)

This undated photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's office shows Josiah English III. Phoenix police say a 40-year-old man has been arrested in the shooting death of his ex-wife in the presence of their two small children amid continuing legal battles between the parents. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A man suspected of killing his ex-wife in Phoenix while their two young children were present was embroiled in an acrimonious divorce in which he was accused of domestic violence and voiced concerns that she would flee to Mexico with their children.

Josiah English III, 40, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting death Tuesday morning of 35-year-old Blanca Gutierrez-Calzoncit.

Police say the two children were present but unharmed during the attack in the parking lot of Gutierrez-Calzoncit's apartment complex. It's not known whether English has been assigned an attorney.

The shooting occurred on the same day that the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against English in his appeal of the divorce case. The court sent an email to English informing him of the decision more than three hours after the shooting.

The appeals court upheld rulings that gave Gutierrez-Calzoncit sole legal decision-making power for the children and granted parenting time to English.

The Court of Appeals also backed up a ruling that required English, who isn't a lawyer but represented himself in the divorce case, to pay $22,000 in attorney fees for making court filings that were superficially plausible but actually wrong.

The lower court had found that English had verbally abused and struck Gutierrez-Calzoncit in the nose. English said the domestic violence claims were fabricated by Gutierrez-Calzoncit and accused her of denying him access to his children.

Earlier in his divorce case, English alleged that Gutierrez-Calzoncit was at risk of fleeing the United States because she was Mexican citizen and had visited the Mexican embassy.

He also had unsuccessfully sought an order to forbid Gutierrez-Calzoncit from taking the children to Mexico. Earlier in the divorce case, Gutierrez-Calzoncit had denied she wanted to leave the country with her children.

The trial judge concluded that English and Gutierrez-Calzoncit needed mental health counseling and parenting classes.

The appeals court said Gutierrez-Calzoncit attended group therapy and parenting classes at a domestic violence shelter. English contended that there was no evidence that he needed counseling.

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Associated Press writer Paul Davenport in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/jacques%20billeaud.