TACOMA, WA – Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Cristobal Arroyo, 15, with Murder in the First Degree and Robbery in the First Degree as an adult for the murder of a 15-year-old boy. Earlier this week, after four days of testimony, Judge Thomas Larkin granted the State's motion to decline juvenile jurisdiction over Cristobal Arroyo. He will stand trial as an adult alongside Luis Arroyo, 16. The defendant will be arraigned as an adult on March 15, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 270 in the County City Building in Tacoma.
"This is a brutal, adult-sized crime that calls for adult-sized accountability," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "Justice and commonsense call for the defendants to be tried together as adults."
On June 1, 2012, the victim met Luis Arroyo at the Arroyo residence. Luis Arroyo, armed with a knife, attempted to take the victim’s marijuana and cash. A fight began. Cristobal Arroyo heard the struggle and saw his older brother fighting over a knife with the victim. He armed himself with a shank and stabbed the victim in the neck and back.
The brothers moved the victim into the bathtub to “drain him.” The victim was still alive and making noises. One of the brothers cut his throat to kill him. While attempting to clean the crime scene, their mother came home. She found reddish-brown stains on the floor, which they claimed was “chili.” When she realized it was blood, the brothers claimed that a man had attacked them and they were forced to kill him. She went upstairs and saw a boy laying on a sheet, dead.
Their mother drove to the neighborhood Tacoma Police Department substation to report the crime. Officers responded to the home and found the victim’s body, wrapped in a blanket, in a recycling bin in the alley behind the residence. During a search of the residence, investigators found two “BB” guns, a knife, a machete, a makeshift stabbing instrument, a baseball bat, and trash bags loaded with used cleaning materials. The weapons appeared to be bloodstained.
Police also recovered two notes from the Arroyo residence. The first note, consistent with Cristobal Arroyo’s handwriting, included a checklist with a series of check boxes labeled: “lay out bags, shut her up, hammer her bones, cutting off limbs, cutting off head, cutting open,” and “done.” A 7-year-old female relative of the defendants was home at the time of the killing. She told an interviewer that she heard pounding on the stairs, saw a knife, and saw blood on the carpet and on Luis Arroyo’s sleeve. The defendants told the girl that the knife and blood were “fake” and set her in front of a television to watch cartoons.
The second note, consistent with Luis Arroyo’s handwriting, included: “cut open, shank the stomach, wack (sic) the head, camera set up.” Detectives recovered a cell phone at the defendants’ home that contained a short video clip showing the victim lying face down in a bath tub. The brothers’ voices can be heard in the video, swearing at and taunting the lifeless body. In statements to police, the defendants admitted that the victim was alive and making noises when they put him in the bathtub. They ran water over the victim and one of them cut his throat.
An autopsy revealed that the victim had been stabbed or cut more than 34 times in the head, neck, back, hands, and chest. There were approximately 60 small puncture wounds on the victim’s back and his skull was fractured, consistent with having been struck by a baseball bat or a hammer. Some of the wounds were inflicted post mortem.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information, please contact Emily Conlee at (253) 798-6265, [email protected] or Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected].