Grand Jury Drops Murder Charges

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A Maricopa County grand jury dropped second-degree murder charges against a driver Monday who killed three Payson residents July 24.

Instead, 31-year-old Rigoberto C. Arrazola will face three counts of manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault for the deaths of and injuries to members of the Goddard family of Payson.

Deputy County Attorney Kristin Knudsen could not be reached for comment on the grand jury's decision to drop murder charges.

Arrazola is being held on $180,000 bond, reduced from $360,000, in Maricopa County Lower Buckeye jail. An arraignment has been set for Aug. 15 in Arizona state superior court.

The manslaughter charges are class-2 felonies, punishable by 21 to 35 years imprisonment on each count.

According to court records, Arrazola was also indicted with four counts of endangerment to Nancy Marquez, Magdalena Mojica, Calandra Moore and Peter Arrazola, who were also involved in the wreck.

Following the accident, which occurred at the intersection of Beeline and Bush highways, Department of Public Safety officers obtained a search warrant to test Arrazola's blood for alcohol.

DPS officer Frank Valenzuela, said the results of those tests are not yet available.

Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said test results can take up to four to six weeks to complete because of the high volume of blood the state crime lab must process.

According to DPS reports, Arrazola failed to yield to oncoming traffic, and drove into the northbound lanes of the Beeline Highway, clipping a sport utility vehicle driven by David M. Goddard, 39, of Payson.

Goddard's Tahoe skidded into the median and overturned several times before coming to rest in the northbound lane.

Goddard's wife Pernillia Pallin-Goddard, 39, and stepson Simon Berglund, 14, were killed instantly.

Son William Goddard, 13, was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix where he died about 11:30 p.m.

Goddard and his daughter, Alexandria, 12, were taken to Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix and later discharged.

Memorial services for Pernillia, William and Simon were held Aug. 6 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Payson.

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