On the first day of June police and prosecutors say teenage brothers Luis and Cristobal Arroyo, 16 and 14, respectively, invited 15-year-old, small-time marijuana dealer Hector Hernandez-Valdez over to their East Tacoma home and brutally murdered him - an attack that included stabbing, bludgeoning and eventually the slitting of Hernandez-Valdez's throat in an upstairs bathroom.
Luis Arroyo already faces first-degree murder charges as an adult because he was 16 at the time of the crime. Cristobal Arroyo, who has also been charged with first-degree murder, must be prosecuted as a juvenile unless a court decides he should be treated as an adult - an argument now scheduled to be made at a Sept. 12 hearing. Along with weighing the seriousness of the charges against him, the court must decide, according to the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, "whether the community can be adequately protected through the services available in Juvenile Court."
In a prepared statement filled with new and gruesome details about the already shockingly disturbing case, Lindquist said: "This is a brutal adult-sized crime that calls for adult-sized accountability. "Justice and common sense calls for the defendants to be tried together as adults."
As The Daily Weekly reported at the time, authorities say the Arroyo brothers invited Hernandez-Valdez over with the intention of killing him and stealing his marijuana. Charging papers filed in the case say that after Hernandez-Valdez arrived at their home the Arroyo brothers stabbed him more than 34 times, slit his throat in a bathtub, and dumped his body dumped in a recycling bin - in the process stealing nine individually wrapped baggies of pot and $166. In the middle of this gruesome act the brothers' mother returned home on her lunch break, discovered the scene, and alerted police. Trying to deceive their mom, prosecutors says the Arroyo brothers told her a spot she found on the carpet was spilled chili, when in actuality it was Hernandez-Valdez's blood.
As though that wasn't grisly enough, information collected during the investigation of the murder - recently made public by prosecutors - provides even further details of the case against the Arroyo brothers.
From information distributed to the media yesterday from the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office:
KOMO TV Luis Arroyo
Police also recovered two notes from the Arroyo residence. The first note, consistent with Cristobal Arroyo's handwriting, includes 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."
Authorities have provided no information regarding who the female in the note may have been.
More information provided by Pierce County Prosecutors:
The second note, consistent with Luis Arroyo's handwriting, includes: "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.
Adding to the alarming brazenness with which authorities contend this crime was committed, prosecutors also say there was a 7-year-old relative home at the time of the murder, who later told investigators she "heard pounding on the stairs, saw a knife, and saw blood on the carpet and on Luis Arroyo's sleeve." The brothers allegedly told the girl the blood and knife were both fake before setting her up in front of the television.