Two Tacoma teens pleaded guilty Monday to Murder in the First Degree in the murder of a 15-year-old boy, whose body was found in a recycling bin behind the teens’ home.
Judge Thomas Larkin sentenced Luis Arroyo, 17, to 26 ½ years in prison and Cristobal Arroyo, 15, to 24 years in prison.
"The Defendants plead guilty to an adult-sized crime, Murder One, and received adult-sized sentences," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Prosecutors say on June 1, 2012, the victim was at the Arroyo residence when he and Luis Arroyo got into a fight. Cristobal Arroyo heard the struggle and saw the two fight over a knife. Cristobal armed himself and stabbed the victim in the neck and back.
While the victim was still alive, the brothers moved him to the bathtub, where one of the brothers slit his throat to kill him.
While they tried to clean the scene, the brothers’ mother came home and saw reddish stains on the floor, which they said was “chili.” When she realized it was blood, the boys told her a man tried to attack them and they were forced to kill him. When she went upstairs, she saw the victim dead on a sheet.
The mother drove to a nearby Tacoma police station to report the crime. When officers arrived at the home, they found the victim’s body wrapped in a blanket in the recycling bin in the alley behind the home.
Investigators later found several bloodstained weapons, including two BB guns, a knife, a machete, a makeshift stabbing instrument and a baseball bat at the house. They also found trash bags loaded with used cleaning materials.
An autopsy of the victim’s body revealed he had been stabbed or cut 34 times in the head, neck, back, hands and chest. The victim also had 60 small puncture wounds on his back and his skull was fractured, consistent with having been struck by a baseball bat or a hammer.
Under 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 have been prosecuted as a juvenile, but after four days of testimony, Judge Larkin granted the state's motion to prosecute Cristobal Arroyo as an adult.
KING 5's Liza Javier contributed to this report.