Investigator - r3 Owner
Richard R. Robertson, CLI
Rich Robertson, CLI, the founder and owner of R3 Investigations, is a Certified Legal Investigator. Mr. Robertson was a print and broadcast journalist in Arizona for 28 years before becoming a state-licensed private investigator in 2000. Since then, he has been the lead investigator on hundreds of complex criminal and civil cases, including numerous death penalty cases at the trial, sentencing and post-conviction levels. He manages cases in which a team of investigators is needed to accomplish assigned tasks.
He was honored in 2017 by Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice – the criminal defense bar – with the John J. Flynn Lifetime Achievement Award, the only non-attorney in the organization’s 30-year history to receive the award.
Mr. Robertson was appointed by the Arizona Department of Public Safety in 2016 to a five-year term on the Private Investigator & Security Guard Hearing Board, which deals with licensing and regulatory matters over the two industries. He became chairman in 2019.
He is a frequent speaker and instructor on investigative topics, and he has conducted CLE programs for attorneys. His expertise is public records. He has testified as an expert on private investigations. To become designated as a Certified Legal Investigator in 2012, he underwent a rigorous written and oral testing process in civil and criminal law, administered by the professional certification board of the National Association of Legal Investigators.
Mr. Robertson's journalism experience included two decades with The Arizona Republic, where he was on the investigative team, and city editor. He was the editor of three Republic investigative projects that were finalists for Pulitzer prizes. He was also an Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter for KPHO-TV (Channel 5) and KPNX-TV (Channel 12).
He is a past-president of the Arizona Association of Licensed Private Investigators; is editor of The Legal Investigator, a quarterly educational journal published by the National Association of Legal Investigators; and is active in the Justice Project, which re-evaluates criminal cases for proof of actual innocence or manifest injustice.
Beth Shapiro joined R3 Investigations as a licensed investigator in November 2013 to focus on financial-related civil, criminal, business and probate investigations. She has experience in complex criminal investigations, personal injury defense, corporate due diligence, financial and asset searches, heir searches and kinship determinations, background checks, and death penalty cases at the post-conviction relief stage.
Ms. Shapiro practiced law for 10 years. Her areas of practice included bankruptcy law, creditor and debtor rights, civil litigation and appeals. She represented small business and individual debtors in complex bankruptcy cases and in workout negotiations with creditors and trustees in matters involving fraud claims, discharge and dischargeability issues, exemption claims, preferences, fraudulent transfers and lien validity.
She also has experience in television broadcasting, print media and public relations. She served as a reporter and producer of KAET-TV’s Horizon (Channel 8 weekday public affairs program); editor and staff writer with Jewish News of Greater Phoenix; and was a media relations specialist for Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU.
Ms. Shapiro received her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is a member of the State Bar of Arizona (inactive status), Arizona Women Lawyers Association and Scottsdale Bar Association.
Investigator - R3 manager
Christina Dougherty has been a licensed private investigator since 2002, handling criminal, civil and corporate investigations. She has worked a wide variety of state and federal misdemeanor and felony criminal defense cases, everything from complex sexual assault to white-collar financial crime. She conducts internet investigations and writes profiles; performs background investigations; and offers attorney services and litigation support, including testifying in court. In one high-profile case, her work contributed to charges being dropped against the alleged Phoenix Freeway Shooter in 2016. Leslie Merritt’s arrest made national news after a string of shootings on Interstate 10 and other Valley freeways between August and September, 2015, but the investigation proved he was wrongly accused.
Ms. Dougherty, an Arizona native, graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's of Arts degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in business. She is a member of the National Association of Legal Investigators and the former coordinator of The Legal Investigator, a quarterly educational magazine published by the National Association of Legal Investigators.
Ms. Dougherty served as the Managing Treasurer of the Arizona Death Penalty Forum, a professional non-profit organization which aims to abolish the death penalty.
Gary Phelps joined R3 Investigations in September 2007 after 42 years in law enforcement. In addition to conducting investigations, he is frequently asked to evaluate cases and testify as an expert on matters involving police investigations, use of force and prison-related operations.
His law enforcement career began with the City of Tucson in 1964. Mr. Phelps served 25 years with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, retiring as Deputy Director. During his tenure, he directed the department's criminal investigations (1982-1984). He was also the SWAT team commander (1974-1977) and directed the department's criminal intelligence unit (1978-1982). Mr. Phelps developed the Governor Protection Detail and was a founding member of the National Governors Security Association. Mr. Phelps received meritorious service awards from both the Tucson Police Department and DPS.
After leaving DPS, he served as Gov. Fife Symington's law enforcement liaison. He then served 14 years as Deputy Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections. There, Mr. Phelps directed all criminal investigations. He also worked with the FBI and the City of Phoenix on joint gang task forces.
Mr. Phelps has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona and, in addition to all of the basic law enforcement in-service training, he has received training from the FBI, DEA, IACP, the Police Foundation, U.S. Attorney's Office, University of Southern California, University of Chicago and Arizona State University.
Mr. Phelps is a charter member of the National Criminal Justice Association and past president of both the Arizona Law Enforcement Alliance and the Arizona Administrators Association. He has served on the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Criminal Investigation and Organized Crime Committees. He was a member of the National Alliance of Drug Enforcement Agencies and worked on a model narcotic law project for the National Governors Association. He also has served on the board of directors for the Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN).
Lew Ruggiero joined R3 Investigations in January 2007, after nearly 40 years in radio and television. As an investigator, he has provided in-depth investigations in criminal and civil matters.
For almost 27 of those nearly 40 years in broadcasting, Mr. Ruggiero served as an assignment editor, field producer, and general assignment reporter for KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix. He retired from KPNX in June 2006.
His major investigative work for R3 Investigations to date: Serving as a defense investigator for one of several defendants under federal indictment for an alleged complex nationwide multi-million-dollar business opportunity fraud scheme. This case involved reviewing thousands of pages of discovery documents and conducting scores of personal and phone interviews around Arizona and the nation.
Mr. Ruggiero has handled both defense and mitigation work in sexual assault, aggravated assault, and Arizona death penalty cases. He has also done civil plaintiff's investigative work in lawsuits filed against the state prison system's contract food provider, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Phoenix Police Department.
As a television journalist in 1982, he helped produce KPNX's Rocky Mountain Emmy Award-winning series "He Told Me Not to Tell," one of the first in-depth television news explorations of child sexual abuse. He won several awards during his TV career from both the Arizona Press Club and the Arizona Associated Press for his coverage of various social, environmental, and political issues around the state.
In 1996, the Valley of the Sun Society of Professional Journalists awarded Mr. Ruggiero its Sunshine Award for his work on behalf of the First Amendment in trying to keep Arizona public records open and available to the public.
While continuing to work full time as a night-side reporter at KPNX-TV, Mr. Ruggiero returned to graduate school, earning a master's degree in mass communications from Arizona State University. A year later, Northern Arizona University's School of Communications named Ruggiero its Robert Eunson Distinguished Journalism Lecturer.
A graduate school paper on civic journalism that he co-authored with ASU professor John Craft, "An Objective Measure of the Influence of Public Journalism: Framing a Yardstick for Connections Sought by a New Journalistic Paradigm-A Pilot Study," was published in the Southwestern Mass Communication Journal in 2001.
Karen Mize joined R3 Investigations in February 2016. She retired from the Oklahoma City Police Department in 2005 after 20 years. She retired as Master Sergeant. She was a field training officer, a crisis intervention officer, taught the DARE program to at-risk students, and worked in the aviation unit. She also was an undercover narcotics agent. She was on the scene of the bombing of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building, helping coordinate the massive response. Ms. Mize is also associated with Pocket Expert, a forensic consulting firm that provides expert assistance to the defense and prosecution in areas of crime scene and laboratory analysis.
Jamie Bonnell joined R3 Investigations in December 2017 and focuses on criminal and civil investigations. In addition, she is an adjunct professor of English at Mesa Community College and writing department chair and instructor at Phoenix Center for the Arts. Ms. Bonnell is a second language speaker of Spanish and Thai. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in linguistics from Arizona State University.
INVESTIGATOR & Confidential Intermediary
Stephanie Robertson is a licensed investigator and court-certified confidential intermediary. She is also a certified educator and former journalist. She has been a licensed investigator since 2013. Mrs. Robertson locates individuals, businesses and assets, helps with criminal defense investigations and conducts other investigative duties. She has investigated money-laundering scams from foreign countries.
Ms. Robertson graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. degree in journalism and a minor in political science. She worked as a print journalist in Arizona and Idaho. Her newspaper career included stints as a copy editor with the Scottsdale Progress and the Phoenix Gazette; with the Idaho Statesman as an editor and acting managing editor; with The Arizona Republic in a variety of editing jobs and as the Op-ed editor/Perspective editor and a columnist for the Editorial Page. She wrote columns on education issues and teaching in Arizona.
Ms. Robertson has her Post-Bacc Degree from University of Phoenix and her Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University. She is certified to teach K to 12 with four endorsements. She has taught elementary, middle school, and high school, specializing in at-risk youth. She has been an adjunct faculty member for Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University and Rio Salado Community College.
Ms. Robertson is a member of the Arizona State Foster Care Review Board and is certified by the Arizona Supreme Court as a Confidential Intermediary. Confidential Intermediaries (CIs) help assist in searching for, and locating, parties who have been involved in the Arizona adoption process: adoptive parents, adopted individuals, birth parents and siblings. A CI can find non-identifying information on medical or genealogical history, even for those not desiring personal contact.
Pete Rodriguez joined R3 Investigations in November 2018 as a licensed private investigator, and brings to bear more than 30 years of experience in municipal government, politics, education, business management, and finance. He locates individuals, businesses and assets, assists with criminal defense investigations (including sentencing studies), and conducts a host of other investigative duties.
Mr. Rodriguez is a political historian, certified educator and published author. He holds concurrent Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and political science, and a Master of Science in Justice Studies. His academic work can be found in Color Behind Bars: Racism in American Institutions (ABC-CLIO). His background in banking and finance includes corporate loan administration, securities lending product management, and retirement funds relationship management.
He has testified before the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency, and presented his original research on shifting notions of employee theft at an academic conference. More recently, Mr. Rodriguez assisted the Arizona Justice Project on a legislative proposal to amend the state’s Criminal Code to provide a mechanism for certain exempt felons to apply for parole.