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UPDATED: Prosecutors charge teenage brothers in death of teen at East Side home

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on June 4, 2012 at 6:22 am |
June 4, 2012 1:48 pm
Hector Hernandez/Courtesy of Facebook

UPDATED at 1:48 p.m.

Pierce County prosecutors have charged two teenage brothers with first-degree murder in the slaying of a 15-year-old boy Friday at their East Side Tacoma home.

Luis Arroyo, 16, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment this afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court. He was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail.

His younger brother, 14-year-old Cristobal Arroyo, will make his first court appearance at Remann Hall juvenile court.

Prosecutors allege the brothers repeatedly stabbed Hector Hernandez-Valdez, 15. Investigators say he’d been stabbed and slashed more than 34 times, the Prosecutor’s Office reports.

Hernandez-Valdez had gone to the brothers’ home in the 800 block of East 52nd Street on Friday to meet with Luis Arroyo. Luis Arroyo told detectives he called Hernandez-Valdez and invited him to come over and smoke marijuana.

Hernandez-Valdez lived two blocks away.

Prosecutors allege the older brother was armed with a knife before Hernandez-Valdez arrived.

As the teens walked upstairs, Luis Arroyo claimed Hernandez-Valdez punched him a couple of times – without being provoked – in the back of the head. The 16-year-old said he stabbed the victim in the face.

A fight broke out.

Cristobal Arroyo reportedly heard the fight and saw his older brother fighting over the knife with Hernandez-Valdez.

“He armed himself with a ‘large nail’ and joined in, stabbing the victim in the neck and back,” a press release states.

Prosecutors allege the brothers took an injured Hernandez-Valdez to the bathroom to “drain him.”

“The victim was still alive and making noises,” the press release states. “One of the brothers cut his throat to kill him.”

The brothers were trying to clean up when their mother came home from lunch. The blue recycling bin was in the living room and towels with reddish-brown stains were on the floor.

The boys first told her they were making chili. They later told her a man had attacked them and they were forced to kill him.

The mother went upstairs and saw Hernandez-Valdez lying on a sheet.

The woman went to a nearby Tacoma police substation and reported finding a body in her house. By the time officers arrived at the woman’s house, the body had been moved from inside to the recycling bin.

Detectives found two “BB” guns, a knife, a machete, a “shank” and trash bags filled with used cleaning materials inside the house.

The older brother will face charges in adult court. Prosecutors are still deciding whether to try the younger brother as an adult.

Hernandez-Valdez lived in Tacoma and went to Lincoln High School, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office and Tacoma School District reported.

A crisis counseling team is at Lincoln High School today to talk to any students or staff about Hernandez-Valdez’ death.

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