Pima County Sheriff's Department investigators have arrested Stidham's former partner, pediatrician Bradley Schwartz, 39, and his pal, Ronald Bruce Bigger, 38. Stidham ended his pediatric eye-care partnership with Schwartz after the latter ended up in legal trouble over bogus prescriptions. Schwartz has also been busy in civil court fighting various malpractice claims and getting a divorce.
Based on information from witnesses who have come forward, investigators allege that Schwartz and Bigger hatched a scheme to knock off Stidham. One witness told investigators that Schwartz said he wanted to see Stidham "6 feet under." Another told police that when she had dinner with Schwartz on the night of the murder, they were joined by Bigger. After dinner, the three of them took a drive to find a hotel room for Bigger, which Schwartz paid for with his American Express card.
The second witness added that a few days later, Schwartz called her to tell her about Stidham's murder and reminded her that she was to provide his alibi, saying "Remember, we were at dinner together." Talk about a bad date!
Investigators also say that Schwartz's cell phone received a phone call on the night of the murder from the convenience store across the street from the scene of the crime. A store employee told police that a man matching Bigger's description used the phone, saying his car was broken down.
Schwartz and Bigger remained behind bars earlier this week, with respective bonds set at $2 million and $1.5 million.
Schwartz's defense attorney, Michael Piccarreta, reminds readers that his client "is presumed innocent until found guilty."
"He adamantly denies he had anything to do with the death of Mr. Stidham," said Piccarreta, who added that investigators had yet to produce "one shred of physical evidence" linking either man to the crime.
Among the local legislative candidates who declined to participate: Sen. Marsha Arzberger (D), Sen. Toni Hellon (R), Sen. Gabrielle Giffords (D), Chuck Josephson (R), Sen. Vic Soltero (D), Sen. Tim Bee (R), Rep. Manny Alvarez (D), Rep. Jennifer Burns (R), Monica Perez (D), David Stevens (R), Rep. Pete Hershberger (R), Rep. Steve Huffman (R), Rep. Olivia Cajero Bedford (D), Rep. Marian McClure (R) and Jonathan Paton (R).
If you haven't gotten around to researching the candidates, visit www.vote-smart.org for more info than you'll be able to absorb between now and Election Day.
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