TACOMA, WA –Luis Arroyo, 17, and his brother Cristobal Arroyo, 15, pleaded guilty today to Murder in the First Degree for the murder of a 15-year-old boy. Judge Thomas Larkin sentenced Luis Arroyo to 26 ½ years in prison, and Cristobal Arroyo to 24 years in prison.
"This was a brutal crime where justice required that the juvenile perpetrators be held accountable as adults," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "The Defendants plead guilty to an adult-sized crime, Murder One, and received adult-sized sentences."
On June 1, 2012, the victim met Luis Arroyo at the Arroyo residence and the two got into a fight. 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 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.
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.
In accordance with Washington State law, Luis Arroyo was charged automatically as an adult because he was 16 years old at the time of the murder. Cristobal Arroyo, because he was 15, would routinely have been prosecuted as a juvenile, but, earlier this year, after four days of testimony, Judge Larkin granted the State's motion to decline juvenile jurisdiction over Cristobal Arroyo, finding he should be treated as an adult. If prosecuted as a juvenile, Cristobal Arroyo would have faced a minimum sentence of about 36 weeks and a maximum sentence of about six years, or incarceration up to age 21.
For more information, please contact Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected] .