Daren Bolton Executed For 2 Arizona Murders

Daren Bolton was executed by the State of Arizona for the murders of two young children

According to court documents Daren Bolton, who was a convicted sex offender, would kidnap Zosha Lee Pickett, 2, from her parents home. The little girl would be sexually assaulted and murdered

Daren Bolton would also kidnap seven year old Cathy Fritz who would also be sexually assaulted and murdered

Bolton was in prison serving time for another kidnapping and sexual assault when he was tied to the murders of Zosha Lee Pickett and Cathy Fritz

Daren Bolton would be convicted and sentenced to death

Daren Bolton would be executed by lethal injection on June 19 1996

Daren Bolton Photos

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Daren Bolton Case

On June 27, 1986 a man entered a Tucson home through a bedroom window and kidnapped little Zosha Lee Pickett who was just shy of her third birthday

Her body was found four days later, by some boys playing in the area of an abandoned taxi cab, parked at a nearby storage lot. Her untorn clothing covered the stab wound to her chest, and her underwear was found in another part of the cab.

Fingerprints were found on the screen outside her window and on the outside and the inside of the cab.

Investigators also found a pizza box, cigarette butts and a semen-stained sock. The fingerprints were not able to be linked to any known suspects in the area. So Tucson police sent the fingerprint samples to jurisdictions around the country

Four years later there’s a crazy break in the case. Police in Illinois, training on a new computer system, matched the fingerprints sent to them by Tucson police to Daren Lee Bolton. His fingerprints happened to be on file there because of an arrest in Champaign, Illinois on assault charges in 1984.

Bolton was already in prison on an unrelated sex crime. He was indicted for the kidnapping and murder of Zosha Lee Pickett in February 1991.

The trial: The fingerprints played a large part in the trial. Bolton testified at the trial that he had indeed been at the home. He said he was there with an accomplice, planning to steal drugs. He said they were scared off by the family dog. Bolton claimed it was this accomplice that returned later to kidnap the child. Bolton said he killed the accomplice and dumped his body in the desert.

Bolton also admitted to touching the taxi cab. He said he stole some parts out of it a few days before the murder.

The jury found him guilty of murder with 11 of the 12 jurors believing it was pre-meditated.

During sentencing the prosecution presented evidence saying the victim was alive for some time after being stabbed. Fingerprints were found on the back window of the cab which prosecutors said indicated that she was standing up after being stabbed

The prosecution provided evidence, “that a person with similar injuries to the victim would have suffered ‘excruciating pain’ while she died over a fifteen to thirty minute period.”

The defense contended for leniency on several fronts.

They cited Bolton’s age, he was 19-years-old at the time of the murder.

They cited his abusive childhood, his sister and the psychologists testified that his parents were mentally and physically abusive to Bolton.

The presented the fact that he was in institutions throughout his childhood.

They said Bolton did not understand his conduct would create a grave risk of death.

They argued that his conviction was for felony murder not premeditated murder.

Philip Balch, Ph.D., who examined defendant in 1981 when he was fifteen years old, testified that, “at that time defendant, showed aggressive behavior, difficulty controlling his temper, and impulse control problems.”

Todd Flynn, Ph.D., testified that from his own examination, “Bolton showed no signs of any mental defect, e.g., impaired intelligence, mental retardation, or organic brain dysfunction.”

Bolton always proclaimed his innocence, but never fought his execution and did not attend his clemency hearing.


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