PROSECUTORS: TEEN ACCUSED OF STABBING TO DEATH ELDERLY POCATELLO WOMAN LIKELY TO BE CHARGED AS ADULT
POCATELLO — A 17-year-old alleged accomplice to a grisly Pocatello murder in March who contested his extradition from California will likely be charged as an adult, according to Bannock County prosecutors.
The prosecutors said they plan to get court approval to charge the 17-year-old boy as an adult in the near future, at which point his name will be released.
The 17-year-old, who’s currently being held at a local juvenile detention facility, has been charged in Bannock County with first-degree murder for his alleged role in killing 87-year-old Arlyne Koehler in her Pocatello home on the 1000 block of McKinley Avenue on either March 18 or 19.
Pocatello police announced Koehler’s murder during a press conference on March 20. Members of Koehler’s family discovered her body during the evening of March 19.
Police say the 17-year-old and Dustin Garrett Alfaro, 18, of Marysville, California, stabbed Koehler to death. Alfaro was arraigned at the Bannock County Courthouse last month for first-degree murder for his role in allegedly killing the elderly woman.
The 17-year-old, who’s also from Marysville, was transported from California to Idaho earlier this week and appeared in front of Judge Todd Garbett on Thursday for his arraignment hearing at the Bannock County Courthouse.
JaNiece Price, Bannock County’s assistant chief deputy prosecutor, told the Journal on Thursday that Garbett set the 17-year-old’s bond at $1 million before remanding him back to the local juvenile detention facility where he’s currently being held.
During Alfaro’s arraignment on April 8 at the Bannock County Courthouse, Judge David Hooste set his bond at $1 million before sending him back to the Bannock County Jail where he is currently incarcerated. Alfaro was extradited from California to Idaho on April 5.
The Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office filed a warrant with the governor’s office in California to force the 17-year-old’s extradition to Idaho. That warrant was served earlier this week, and the boy was immediately extradited to Idaho.
The cases involving Alfaro and the 17-year-old have been sealed from the public via judicial order, something Price said was done early on to protect the integrity of the investigation. Authorities haven’t yet commented on what they believe the teens’ motives were for allegedly traveling from California to Idaho and killing Koehler, who lived alone.
Alfaro and the 17-year-old were arrested in Yuba County, California, on March 20 by Yuba County Sheriff’s Office deputies after warrants were issued for their arrest in connection with Koehler’s death.
Pocatello police have not yet commented on what caused them to believe Alfaro and the 17-year-old had allegedly murdered Koehler.
If convicted of first-degree murder for allegedly killing Koehler, Alfaro could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will seek the death penalty against him.
In a 2005 decision in the case of Roper v. Simmons, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the execution of people under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the federal constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, the 17-year-old cannot face the death penalty if convicted of murdering Koehler. But he will face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Dave Martinez and Scott Andrew, the attorneys with the Bannock County Public Defender’s Office who are representing Alfaro, explained at his arraignment hearing last month that because Alfaro could face the death penalty, the Bannock County Public Defender’s Office does not have the resources to represent the 17-year-old if he is tried as an adult.
Andrew said that if the 17-year-old is tried as an adult and needs a public defender, an attorney from outside of the Bannock County Public Defender’s Office would be assigned to represent him.
A hearing that will determine if there is enough evidence to take the 17-year-old’s case to trial has been set for May 29 at the Bannock County Courthouse. Hearings that will determine if there is enough evidence to take Alfaro’s case to trial have been set for June 13 and 14 at the Bannock County Courthouse.