UPDATE as of 4:36 p.m.: Jason Johnson is one of two defense attorneys appointed to represent Cristobal Arroyo. Johnson said the defense team would argue to keep the case in juvenile court.
“Chris is 14 years old. The Supreme Court has recently affirmed that children, at Chris’ age, are naturally more susceptible to peer pressure than adults, more immature and impulsive in their thinking than adults, but most importantly, have a greater capacity for change than adults,” Johnson said. “We hope to show the court that Chris is a child and should treat him as a child and not as an adult.”
PREVIOUS POST: Pierce County prosecutors filed paperwork today asking a judge to transfer to adult court the case of a 14-year-old Tacoma boy charged with murder.
Cristobal Arroyo currently is being held in the Remann Hall juvenile detention center on a charge of first-degree murder in the June 1 killing of Hector Hernandez-Valdez, 15.
Prosecutors contend Arroyo and his 16-year-old brother, Luis Arroyo, lured Hernandez-Valdez to their home where they stabbed him more than 30 times and cut his throat before stuffing his body into a recycling bin. Detectives believe the brothers intended to rob the victim of money and marijuana.
Because he was 16 at the time of his alleged crime, Luis Arroyo’s case automatically was brought in adult court, where he’s pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors must convince a judge that his brother’s case belongs there as well. A hearing is set for Sept. 12.
“This is a brutal adult-sized crime that calls for adult-sized accountability,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a news release. “Justice and common sense call for the defendants to be tried together as adults.”
If convicted as a juvenile, Cristobal Arroyo would face a maximum sentence of about six years, or incarceration until his 21st birthday. If convicted as an adult, he’d have a standard sentencing range of 22 to 28 years in prison.