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Murder trial to get new judge after Sipe recusal

February 13, 2017 GMT

KINGMAN — A Superior Court judge recused himself Thursday from two cases involving the murder of a Kingman Realtor.

William Glen Sanders, 54, was supposed to be arraigned Thursday on felony charges of tampering with physical evidence and concealing a dead body. He was indicted on the charges by a grand jury two weeks ago.

Superior Court Commissioner Billy Sipe Jr. recused himself from Sanders’ case as well as from Alfredo M. Blanco’s case. The judge excused himself from both cases to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Sipe, a former defense attorney, represented Blanco about six years ago. Sipe sent both cases to be heard either by Superior Court judges Steven Conn or Lee Jantzen, the two remaining criminal judges.

Blanco, 61, is charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Sidney Cranston Jr., whose body was found buried on property east of Kingman. He is being held in county jail without bond.

Sanders allegedly helped Blanco move and bury Cranston’s body on the property. Sanders and Blanco also worked for Cranston as handymen on Cranston’s properties, Chief Deputy Kingman Police Chief Rusty Cooper said.

Prosecutors have not decided whether to pursue the death penalty against Blanco. Mohave County currently has two other pending death penalty murder cases.

Cranston’s remains were found Jan. 7 buried on the property. The county medical examiner’s office used dental records to verify that the body was Cranston. Cranston was killed by a single gunshot and his death was ruled a homicide. He was reportedly killed about the time he went missing around June 2015.

FBI agents arrested Blanco Jan. 11 at a care facility in Youngtown, just outside of Phoenix, which he still lists as his residence. Blanco was extradited back to Mohave County.

Cranston, then 40 years old, went missing June 16, 2015, in the area of Interstate 40 and Stockton Hill Road in Kingman. He was reportedly showing an unknown property to an unknown client. Blanco reportedly managed rental properties for Cranston.