Ralph Saxbury, February 1994, News Article from Casa Grande, AZ

April 20th, 2009 by Barbara

Casa Grande Dispatch
Casa Grande, Arizona
February 23, 1994
Page 5

Man’s Death In State Park Investigated

Phoenix (AP) – Authorities are investigating the death of a former New York man in a high, rugged canyon east of Lost Dutchman State Park.

Pinal County sheriff’s deputies said Brett Robert Copeland told authorities he stabbed Ralph Saxbury in self-defense after Saxbury went berserk and attacked his fiancee and two fellow campers Sunday night.

Don Van Driel, a district ranger assigned to the Tonto National Forest, said Saxbury’s body was found Monday 50 feet into the canyon at the base of a vertical cliff.

Saxbury’s friends on Tuesday said he had moved to the Phoenix area from Binghamton in upstate New York two months ago with hopes of finding a job, getting an apartment and marrying his 23-year-old fiancee Michelle Parchini.

But one job interview after another led nowhere.

“I think he was tired of failing,” said Skate Price, 20, of Mesa. “He wanted to go out to the mountains and find himself. He failed.”

“He (Saxbury) forced somebody else to kill him,” said Robin Brown, 20, of Tempe. “He didn’t believe in taking his own life.”

Brown and Price claim Saxbury, 20, went berserk and attacked his companions after the group had eaten psilocybin mushrooms, which are hallucinogenic.

Copeland turned himself in to Mesa police early Monday.

Pinal County officials said they were investigating the case.

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