POCATELLO, Idaho – A judge has sentenced two teenagers from California up to life in prison for their roles in the fatal stabbing of an 87-year-old woman in Idaho in 2019.
District Judge Robert C. Naftz sentenced Maryville, California, residents Dustin Garrett Alfaro, 19, and Isaac Angel Rodriguez-Romero, 18, to at least 22 and 27 years, respectively, to up to life in prison, the Idaho State Journal reported Friday.
Alfaro and Rodriguez-Romero pleaded guilty in October to first-degree felony murder charges in the fatal stabbing of Arlyne Koehler inside her home in Pocatello in March 2019 during an attempted robbery.
Prosecutors said the men stabbed her more than 50 times before boasting of their actions. Authorities said they were arrested a week later in California and made a plea deal that dropped several other charges including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and weapon enhancement charges.
“She died alone and terrified in the presence of pure evil,” said Theresa Dickerson, one of Koehler’s six children. “I can only imagine how terrified and alone she must have felt. I am able to feel her fears from the nightmares I have had since her death.”
Koehler is survived by her six children, 15 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren.
Both men waived their right to appeal and the right to ask the court for leniency following the sentence, the Journal reported.
Bannock County public defender attorney Dave Martinez, one of Alfaro’s lawyers, objected to Koehler’s family members using religious authority and generalizations about Alfaro’s character and objected to sentencing recommendations by the family.
“This is not an opportunity to make sentencing recommendations or characterizations about the defendants,” Martinez said, citing his defendant’s Eighth Amendment rights.
Naftz overruled the objection, saying he would not be prejudiced by their statements in his ruling.
“I would just like to apologize to the Koehler family for my involvement in this,” Alfaro said. “It was horrible.”
Rodriguez-Romero’s attorney issued an apology to Koehler’s family on behalf of his client. Rodriguez-Romero did not address the court.
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