Tacoma brothers Luis Arroyo, 17, Cristobal Arroyo, 15, pleaded guilty today to first-degree murder for killing a 15-year-old boy in their home last June.
Luis Arroyo was sentenced to to 26 ½ years in prison and Cristobal Arroyo was sentenced to 24 years.
“This was a brutal crime where justice required that the juvenile perpetrators be held accountable as adults,” Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a news release. “The Defendants plead guilty to an adult-sized crime, Murder One, and received adult-sized sentences.”
The victim, Hector Hernandez-Valdez, met Luis Arroyo at the brothers’ home on June 1 and the two got into a fight, according to prosecutors. Cristobal Arroyo, hearing the struggle, armed himself with a shank and stabbed Hernandez-Valdez in the neck and back.
The brothers moved Hernandez-Valdez into a bathtub to “drain him,” according to prosecutors. Hernandez-Valdez was still alive and making noises so one of the brothers cut his throat, prosecutors said.
The boys’ mother told police she arrived home that afternoon to find a blue recycling bin in the living room of her home, along with towels bearing reddish-brown stains. Her sons claimed they were cleaning up chili, but she realized it was blood, prosecutors said.
The teens then told her a man attacked them and they were forced to kill him, but the defendant’s mother went upstairs and found the victim on a sheet, Lindquist said.
She drove to a Tacoma police substation to report the crime. Officers who went to the home found the victim’s body, wrapped in a blanket, in a recycling bin in the alley.
An autopsy revealed that Hernandez-Valdez had been stabbed or cut more than 34 times in the head, neck, back, hands, and chest.
Luis Arroyo was automatically prosecuted as an adult. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Cristobal Arroyo, who was 14 at the time of the murder, would also be treated as an adult.