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Pierce County prosecutors want boy, 14, tried as adult in stabbing death of other teen

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on Aug. 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm with 39 Comments »
August 2, 2012 4:37 pm

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.



Leave a comment Comments → 39
  1. Ortingmom says:

    Good………make it happen

  2. itwasntmethistime says:

    Please please please do not let this boy out of jail on his 21st birthday.

  3. MrCarleone says:

    Thank you Mr. Lindquist.

    But there will be many who belive that this muderous sociopath can be cured.

    Most in this State have had enough with the Hug-a-Thug / Kumbyah mentality.

  4. smities says:

    Hector was my student. I firmly believe that these boys need to be punished for their crime.

    The adult criminal system is not the right place for teens, though. There is more than ample research to show that until the mid-20’s the human brain is not fully developed. Because of this, teens often make poor choices and are easily influenced. The two boys who allegedly committed this crime should not be put in contact with career criminals where they will likely get no rehabilitation nor further education.

    In the juvenile system, they will be given the opportunity for counseling and education. They might be able to grow into men who regret their choice and decide to atone for it through effective contributions to society. In the adult system, it is highly unlikely that this will be possible for them.

    One young man is dead. Let’s not in effect cause two more to lose their entire lives when the possibility of rehabilitation exists.

  5. Ortingmom says:

    smities; They need to be tried as adults, the juvenile system is not punishment enough….These punks actions deserve the max punishment in the adult system.

    Note: See Tuba Man’s Killers (and how well the juvenile system worked in that one and many other cases)

  6. srvivinglife says:

    smities: they chose to end their lives when they took the life of another in the manner they did

  7. sincere says:

    I believe the Courts will ignore the gravity of this crime and rule the 14 year old will be tried as a juvenile.If a Juvenile is convicted of any crime,I believe the harshest sentence that can be applied, is being sent to a juvenile detention center until the juvenile is 21 years of age.As far as the 16 year criminal is concerned,I believe the court has ruled that a life in prison sentence for a juvenile,is a cruel and unusual punishment,so that negates that sentence.I feel real justice cannot be carried out, apparently,because of the liberal views of the justice system.

  8. smities says:


    Please read the research that clearly demonstrates that teens need guidance to make good choices. Clearly they did not receive the kind of guidance that they needed. As a society we need to find a way to help these boys face the consequences of their actions and at the same time allow them to eventually become productive members of our society.

    I knew Hector. I spoke to him every day in class. I worked with his mother to help him be a successful student. He was not a perfect student but he was a capable and smart young man. He made some poor choices, too. He did not deserve to be brutally murdered. He did not deserve the extreme consequences of his choices. However, the boys who committed this horrible crime do not deserve to lose their entire lives either.

  9. Faceplant says:

    The issue, Smities, is that we’ve become a nation that views the justice system as nothing more than a means to provide state sanctioned retribution. In their mind commiting a crime means you are and will always be scum, and that you can never be rehabilitated.

    Such views are, in a word, nonsense. There’s plenty of research that’s been done on these topics, and they are completely at odds with the way that most Americans think. Apparently many of us prefer to an ignorant, pinchfork toting mob, out to exact the harshest retribution we possibly can on anyone who commits a crime. Even if that person is a 16 year old child, and there is research showing that children’s brains were quite different than adults, and that rates of recidivism are much higher for children tried as adults.

    Who cares if statistics show that juviniles charged as adults are much more likely to re-offend than juviniles charged as juviniles, right? All we care about cold, base, retribution. Revenge.

    Goes to show you how much (or little, I should say) we’ve really advanced from our primitive ancestors.

  10. Enough with all the liberal B.S The kid will murder again. Put him in the electric chair. If they don’t, I hope he comes back after you and your family. Please

  11. Faceplant says:

    Ortingmom demonstrates exactly what I’m talking about. What is the goal Ortingmom? To make ourselves feel good by dolling out sufficiently harsh revenge, or to make sure these people don’t reoffend while steering them toward becoming productive members of society?

    And yes, you will always have people that reoffend. For example, a study conducted in Indiana showed a juvenile recidivism rate of 36.7%. Does that mean we should further ruin the lives of the 63.3% who did not reoffend, just so we can satisfy a primitive craving for retribution?

  12. Faceplant says:

    I agree Aircop, that facts and empirical evidence often do support liberal positions. You want to remain ignorant, then that’s your problem.

  13. Faceplant says:

    And what is it with the converative violence fetish? Just look at Aircop’s comment for instance. Throw him in the electric chair, and ‘I hope he comes after you and your family.’

    Gee, I wonder why children find violence to be something that’s accepted by society.

    A society that glorifies violence and death will inevitibly result in a society full of violent killers. It’s your choice.

  14. itwasntmethistime says:

    It’s not about punishment, it’s about protecting the rest of us from murderers. This kid stepped miles over the line. It’s not fair to anybody else to take the chance that he can be rehabilitated. He’s not simply naughty, he is a murderer.

  15. Faceplant says:

    While I’m sure you won’t be swayed by facts, Aircop, it should be noted that a study that ran from 1994-1997 found the rate of recidivism for those who had served time for homicide was a measley 1.2%.

    The idea that any person who kills someone will always kill again isn’t just wrong. It’s incredibly, laughably, couldn’t possibly be more, wrong.

  16. Faceplant says:

    It’s exactly about punishment. Statistics CLEARLY show that juveniles tried as adults are much more likely to reoffend. If it was about making sure we are safe then nobody would be demanding he be tried as an adult. Why would you want to make it MORE likely that MORE crimes will be commited once a person is released?

    As the study I cited a few minutes ago found, those who serve time for homicide are not disproportionately likely to commit homicide again. Anyone who thinks that’s the case is basing their argument on ignorance. Read the studies. Inform yourselves.

  17. itwasntmethistime says:

    Face — Did your 15-yr old study say how long the average murderer spent behind bars? The recidivism rate is probably low because of the length of time they are locked away from society. It’s not surprising to me that a 25-yr old gang banger doesn’t re-join the gang when he is released at age 50.

  18. itwasntmethistime says:

    Face — He can’t re-offend if they don’t let him out, so yes, it is about public safety. Nobody but you wants this kid walking the streets when he turns 21.

  19. sincere says:

    To me the facts are,If you get away with breaking the law for whatever reason,You will most certainly do it again.If you are caught and serve time in prison,you still will probably break the law again when you are released.If all statistics were added up,I feel you would see these statements are true.Unfortunatly with the hug-a thug mentality that prevails in todays society,there are many that believe that once the criminal serves their sentence they will go and sin no more.

  20. smities says:

    For me it comes down to imagining the situation as it likely happened. These brothers figured Hector would have marijuana and money in his backpack when he came over. He was known to deal a little. The figured if they threatened him with a knife, he’d give it up easily. He didn’t. He fought back and the whole thing got WAY out of hand. Teenage boys just can’t back down and save face in our society. The older boy had the knife, threatened to use it and Hector called his bluff. With no one there to stop him and allow him to keep his dignity by saying that he didn’t use the knife because so-and-so stopped him, he stabbed Hector. Hector kept fighting back, so the boy kept stabbing and then his brother jumped in to help. Now these two teens are hyped up on adrenalin and no longer able in their teen minds to stop. Next we begin to see the reality of how a teen thinks. There’s blood everywhere and mom will be home soon. She’s going to “kill” them for the mess, so they have to hide the whole thing. They can’t call for help for Hector because then mom will know and they’ll be in trouble, so they make sure he’s dead. Then they try to clean up by hiding the body in a recycling bin and wiping up the blood. Even when mom comes back they still think they can cover it up.

    This is evidence of their immature decision making skills. This is evidence that these boys’ minds were not fully developed. These are not the actions of an adult who planned out and committed a murder.

    Now we can exact revenge – an eye for an eye as so many conservative Christians say – or we can find a way to help these boys mature, accept the consequences of their actions, and hopefully through counseling and education make productive citizens out of them rather than career criminals.

    I liked Hector, but he was no angel. He, too, made mistakes. I don’t know these boys at all, but let’s not look for vengeance. Instead let’s give these boys an opportunity to grow up and be men.

  21. smities says:


    I know these boys don’t face the death penalyt, but since you brought it up I thought I would respond to that. I used to be strongly in favor of the death penalty especially in truly brutal crimes. However, two things made me rethink my position. I’m still not sure I’m totally against the death penalty but I had to give it some real consideration.

    First, I had kids. They’re still little but I can’t imagine the pain of having a child die no matter how old they are and each person on death row has a mom, maybe not a great one, but she’s out there in desperate pain thinking about her child being murdered by the state.

    Second, I read a book by John Grisham entitled The Confession. It is fiction but it gave me pause. I know I couldn’t be in the witness room watching an execution of anyone and I know I could never “push the button,” so why should I expect someone else to do it for me.

    Ask yourself, if it were your child who beyond a shadow of a doubt committed a terrible crime. If your child was given the death penalty, would you accept it as the right punishment for the crime? Would you stand by and watch your child be killed by the state for his/her crime? If you even hesitated slightly to think about your reaction, then maybe you’re starting to realize that the death penalty is wrong.

  22. drkracker151 says:

    Don’t stow them away like adults, execute them like adults! But no Hector died at the hands of humans, heaven forbid the people that did it do too!

  23. whatthehell says:

    my mind still hasnt fulley devloped but even I kinow it not right to stabb somebody and then cut there throats

  24. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Juvenile detention for murder? You must be kidding me.

    PS: How long is the victim going to remain dead?

  25. Regfool2 says:

    whatthehell may have the most sensible comment on this page so far. Congrats. Smities and Faceplant, no problem. As long as he’s released into your care and custody 24/7 when he’s out of juvie. Get your spare rooms ready. You two can devote your lives, time and energy to re-raising him to make better choices by helping him attain all the “rehab” he needs. If you get a grant for a longitudinal study, it should be financially viable. Problem solved.


  26. frankiethomas says:

    If he is tried as an adult he will be out in 30 years. What do you think he will be like when he is 44, with nothing behind him in life except whatever crap upbringing he has already had in life for 14 years, and our prison system for his adolescence and adulthood? Because he IS going to be released either way. Why have a juvenile system at all if we decide the differences between juveniles and adults don’t matter if they screw up bad enough?

  27. itwasntmethistime says:

    frankie — Yes, but for 30 years he won’t be killing anybody. That sounds good to me.

    smities — I know more teenage boys than I can count. They are family, friends, neighbors, etc. and they all have the self control to NOT kill someone. Killing someone is NOT normal, even for a teenager whose brain is not fully developed yet. If you want to rehab him in your own home when he gets out that’s cool with me but for the next 30 years he needs to be locked up so he can’t kill anybody else.

  28. rawdibob says:


    Will YOU guarantee with YOU life in prison that Cristobal Arroyo will be rehabed in Juvi? If not, why not?

  29. MrCarleone says:

    Perhaps this young man should be remanded to the care of DSHS ?

    They do such a wonderful job protecting children !

  30. itwasntmethistime,

    As a high school teacher for 16 years, I’ve worked with thousands of teenage boys mostly from high poverty areas, but also in schools with no poverty. In each school, I run across many teens who simply don’t have the ability to make good choices. We have medical evidence that supports this. We have peer-reviewed research studies that support this.

    Would I be willing to have this teen in my home around my preschool age children? Yes, I would. Would I expect that he worked with a counselor/psychologist and continue his education? Yes, I would.

    Do I realize that we can’t save every kid? Yes. Like most of the staff at my school, I work am paid from 7am to 2:30pm 5 days/week, but I choose to stay late to provide extra tutoring until 4 or 5pm. I interact through my school email often with students who need help in the evening and weekends and even over the summer I have interacted with students who are struggling to prepare for next year.

    I’m not trying to toot my own horn here. I’m just letting you know that I know teens. I worked with Hector daily. I interacted with his family. If he were alive, I would have continued to do so even though I know he was getting into things that were likely to get him into trouble. If I knew the boys who killed him, I would work with them too. Rehabilitation is possible and as a society we need to make the choice to offer this rather than allow some really bad choices that got WAY out of hand to ruin his entire life.

    I love frankiethomas’s question about why we have a juvenile system if we are going to limit its use. The boy is 14 years old. He needs the opportunity to mature and atone for his mistakes.

  31. Beowulf50 says:

    They did it once. They will doit again. Fry them!

    They lured, they stabbed (many times), and they drained him in the bath tub.

    They lied to thier Mother. Then threw the body in a recycling can.

    Euthanize these animals NOW !!!

  32. Ortingmom says:

    Imagine this….they taunted the dead body (video). Once again was he unable to make good choices? He made a very bad choice and needs to pay in a very bad way.

  33. gonefishin69690 says:

    For me, it comes down to the message we send to our youth, that they can do whatever they want and get away with it if they are young enough. “Wait ’till your Dad gets home” doesn’t work anymore, (and was taken away anyway by the same liberal courts that will probably allow this to remain in juvenile court). I’m sorry, but by 14, ANY kid knows that murder is wrong. and @smities, I can appreciate the way you feel, however the reality is this case is much more than a matter of a “Poor choice.” Pre-meditated murder, with the amount of brutality displayed, hardly qualifies. A teen stealing a car, vandalism, drugs, etc, …..ok, lets see what we can do to turn their lives around, but I’m sorry, not even in this case.

  34. rightistheway says:

    Adult crime should do adult time…

  35. fanciladi says:

    “Wait ’till your Dad gets home” worked in my growing up years.

    Sad situation, but, this was much more than a ‘spur of the moment’ thing…it was planned……

    They did the crime and they need to do the time/punishment!

  36. paulkathyann says:

    Good points smities.

  37. Irritated says:

    I agree with smities.

    One thing that keeps coming up is, “teens know murder is wrong.” It’s frustrating because nobody is saying they didn’t know it was wrong. Obviously they duis, they tried to hide it. The point is, would they have made the same decisions and gotten into it this deep if they were more mature? As for the 16 year old…probably but who knows. However, the 14 year old is in quite a different position. He didn’t initiate the attack and I just have a feeling there was a ton of pressure on him.

    I think it would be such a waste of the juvenile systems resources to not even try.

    How awesome would it be if he was rehabilitated and could go on being a productive member in society and possibly even help prevent these things from happening again through mentorship?

    I am really hoping that this story can somehow have a silver lining and I also hope that the people deciding his fate aren’t as jaded as some of you.

  38. lorenaRED says:

    He does not deserve a second chance period! neither does his brother. These two knew and know what they did, they took the life of a human being. Someones child, someones friend, there no excuse for their wrong doing, Hector will never get a second chance a kid that did nothing wrong, why should cristobal y luis arroyo get a second chance. They should get the death penalty PERIOD. What make you sure that what they did wasnt planned out? maybe it was if they had the guts to commit such a murder once what makes anyone think the wont do it again.

  39. irritateddd says:

    I know this was 5 years ago, I knew Cristobal personally in middle school. I ran into some memories yesterday, and decided to look at more articles then one I saw 5 years ago. Everyone is worried about weather or not these kids were mature enough or if the brains were fully developed or weather or not he should be tried as an adult or not. I cant speak for his brother Luis I didn’t know him personally, but I was told about him by his brother. I have to say also you guys are all saying how much murder or killing is NOT the right thing to do but are recommending that they get the death penalty? How Hypocritical of you. How about we ask our selves What Cristobal was going through with his brother? How was he being raised? What was his life like? How was his relationship with his brother? maybe the fact that he didn’t have his dad? All he had was a hard working mother, sister and a brother that wasn’t in his right mind. From time to time I try and find where Cristobal is so I can visit him, write him, or even call him. If anyone can help with that, that would be great. I cant necessarily just go up to people around here, people would hate me and for all I know try and harass me for trying to get a hold of Cristobal.

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