Aaron Juan Saucedo is being held on a $750,000 bond in connection with a fatal shooting in 2015.
Maricopa County Superior Court

A 23-year-old man accused in the 2015 shooting death of his mother’s boyfriend pleaded not guilty Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Aaron Juan Saucedo is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 61-year-old Raul Romero, who was gunned down outside his car at a Phoenix apartment complex on Aug. 16, 2015.

He waved his right to hear the charge against him before entering a not-guilty plea.

Saucedo has been in custody since his arrest April 19. He is being held in lieu of a $750,000 cash-only bond

Police say forensic evidence determined that the 9 mm Hi-Point gun Saucedo pawned less than three weeks after Romero’s death had been used in the killing.

Saucedo’s gun was one of eight 9 mm Hi-Point handguns that the Arizona Department of Public Safety had seized from Valley pawn shops for testing while investigating a series of freeway shootings in 2015. The DPS said Saucedo’s gun wasn’t actually tested — they stopped testing once they found a match. 

The DPS handed over ballistic evidence from the freeway shootings case to assist Phoenix police with the investigation of Saucedo, said Trooper Kameron Lee, a DPS spokesman.

“We want to quell any conspiracy theories,” Lee said, adding that Saucedo had not been linked to the freeway shootings as of late April.

The DPS said that, after Saucedo’s arrest, evidence from the Romero case and the freeway shootings was submitted to the National Integrated Ballistics Network database, and there was no match.

Sgt. Jonathan Howard, Phoenix police spokesman, told The Republic that the evidence from the DPS is being considered in several Phoenix police investigations.

“We are comparing evidence in a large variety of cases to determine if there are any possible links,” Howard said.

Saucedo returns to court on June 19. 

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