A Cochise County man serving a natural life sentence for the 2005 strangulation of a man whose body was found in a storage locker has lost his latest effort to obtain a new trial.
Last week the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected Noel Alcarez-Guerrero’s argument that a Cochise County judge erred in ruling that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision about life sentences does not apply to his case. In Arizona, a natural life sentence differs from other life sentences in that it does not allow for early release or parole after a certain number of years.
Alcarez-Guerrero, 41, represented himself in the challenge after a court-appointed attorney reported last year to finding no “colorable claim to raise.” The June 18 decision was the fourth time his conviction has been reviewed and upheld by the court of appeals.
Court records show the body of Samuel R. Jensen was found Feb. 7, 2005 wrapped in a blanket inside a rental storage unit in Sierra Vista. Jensen, 26, had been beaten and strangled, according to the autopsy report.
Detectives located surveillance video from the area which showed a vehicle belonging to the mother of Antoinette J. Newcomb pull up to the storage locker on Feb. 5. The video also showed someone transferring something from the car to the locker. The driver was identified as Carl D. Schlobom.
The investigation led to the discovery that Jensen was murdered Feb. 4 at the home of Newcomb, who had accused Jensen of stealing her bank card. An eyewitness testified that Newcomb offered drugs or cash to Alcarez-Guerrero and Schlobom, now 64, to kill Jensen.
Newcomb, now 60, admitted watching the attack but denied any involvement in having Jensen killed. She too was given a natural life sentence after the third jury to hear her case found Newcomb guilty of first-degree murder, kidnap, and aggravated assault even though she did not physically participate in the murder.
Schlobom is also serving a natural life sentence. His last appeal was denied in 2016. Newcomb has not challenged her conviction since 2010.