POCATELLO — One of two teens accused of killing an elderly Pocatello woman last month had his bond set at $1 million on Monday during an arraignment hearing at the Bannock County Courthouse.
Dustin Garrett Alfaro, 18, of Marysville, California, appeared in front of 6th District Judge David A. Hooste via video conference from the Bannock County Jail.
During the hearing, Hooste addressed two criminal charges against Alfaro, a misdemeanor charge of failing to report a vehicular accident in Jefferson County and the first-degree murder charge in Bannock County for allegedly killing 87-year-old Arlyne Koehler.
Police say that Alfaro and a 17-year-old male accomplice stabbed Koehler to death last month in her Pocatello home at 1055 McKinley Ave. Authorities haven’t yet commented on what they believe the teens’ motives were for allegedly killing Koehler, who lived alone.
Hooste ordered Alfaro to be held at the Bannock County Jail on $264 bond for the Jefferson County misdemeanor charge and $1 million bond for the Bannock County murder charge.
Attorneys with the Bannock County Public Defender’s Office, Dave Martinez and Scott Andrew, appeared in front of Hooste on Alfaro’s behalf. Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog appeared for the state of Idaho. Both Herzog and Andrew declined to comment on the case after the hearing ended.
Members of Koehler’s family and Alfaro’s mother were present in the courtroom on Monday. Aside from commending local authorities for their hard work on the case thus far, members of Koehler’s family declined to comment.
Alfaro has been incarcerated at the Bannock County Jail since Friday, when he was extradited from California to Pocatello to face the charges against him. He and the 17-year-old, also from Marysville, California, were arrested in Yuba County, California, on March 20 by Yuba County Sheriff’s Office deputies after warrants were issued for their arrest within 48 hours of Pocatello police announcing Koelher’s murder.
Pocatello police have not yet commented on what caused them to believe Alfaro and the 17-year-old had allegedly murdered Koehler.
The 17-year-old, whose name has not yet been released, is currently incarcerated in California. He has contested the process to extradite him from California to Pocatello for the adjudication of the murder charge against him for allegedly killing Koehler, authorities said.
Authorities incorrectly told the Journal last week that the 17-year-old had already been transported to Pocatello to face the charges.
Herzog told the Journal before Alfaro’s hearing began Monday that his office has filed a warrant with the Governor’s Office in California to force the 17-year-old’s extradition. The next step of the process involves an extradition hearing held in California to determine if the 17-year-old should lawfully be transferred to Pocatello for the criminal proceedings.
During the extradition hearing, the court will have two main objectives — to determine if the charges against the 17-year-old are valid and to determine if the 17-year-old is, in fact, the person believed to have 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.
The 17-year-old is facing the same first-degree murder charge for allegedly killing Koehler.
But in a 2005 decision in the case of Roper v. Simmons, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the execution of people who are under age 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.
Andrew and Martinez explained in court that because Alfaro could face the death penalty the Bannock County Public Defender’s Office cannot represent the 17-year-old if he is tried as an adult in this case. 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 Alfaro’s case to trial has been set for April 18 at the Bannock County Courthouse.