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Judge sentences Casa Grande man for attacking family

Posted at 11:58 AM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 14:58:36-04

A Pinal County Superior Court judge has ordered a Casa Grande man to be committed to the Arizona State Hospital after finding him guilty except insane on all charges from a 2013 murder case. 

On August 18, the judge found 40-year-old Joseph Cain Cecil guilty on all charges, including one count of Attempted 1st Degree Murder, one count of 1st Degree Premeditated, and one count of Aggravated Assault with a Weapon. 

Cecil was sentenced to life in prison but because of the guilty except insane finding, the judge has committed him to the Arizona State Hospital, a secure psychiatric facility, rather than the Department of Corrections. 

The Pinal County Attorney's Office says in October of 2013 Cecil attacked his mother and aunt by stabbing them multiple times. 

PCAO says Cecil also attacked a neighbor who had stepped in to provide first aid to the victims. 

Cecil's mother, 65-year-old Ronna Thomas, died after arriving to the Casa Grande Regional Medical Center. 

Before the August 18 ruling by the judge, the State and the Court's mental health experts evaluated Cecil's mental state and found him to be guilty except insane at the time of the murder. 

“This defendant brutally stabbed his mother to death, attacked her sister, and tried assaulting a neighbor who came to their rescue. While this defendant deserves the life sentence he received, in view of this mental status at the time of the crime, he will be remanded to a secure facility at the Arizona State Hospital. Regardless of where this defendant serves his time, the victims’ family members still feel they received the justice they deserve and are pleased with the outcome of this case,” said Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles in a press release.