Teens charged as adults for Parrott murders

Teens charged as adults for Parrott murders »Play Video
Luis Palafox, left, and Kyle Hoffman appear in court Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008.
Two teenagers were charged as adults for the murders of Joe and Dorothy Parrott, an elderly couple authorities say were stabbed and beaten during a home burglary in early August.

Seventeen-year-old Kyle Hoffman of Bakersfield and 16-year-old Luis Palafox of Moreno Valley were in court Tuesday, charged with two counts each of first-degree murder during their initial appearance in Kern County Superior Court.

Members of the Parrott family came to the hearing, but couldn't get inside the crowded courtroom. "We wanted to see them" said great niece Monica Goodell. "We wanted them to see us, and what they've done to our lives."

The two teenagers were identified as suspects and arrested after someone called Bakersfield Police Sunday, and reported Hoffman was connected to the crime.

Goodell said the family is shocked at how young the suspects are. "That's amazing to us. We have children in our family that are 16 and 17 years old, and we can't even imagine them ever doing anything like this," said Goodell. "We're sorry for their families, too."

Kern County District Attorney Ed Jagels said with suspects over the age of 16, and with certain violent crimes -- his office can decide whether to try the case in adult court.

Jagles says he decided to try Hoffman and Palafox as adults because of the brutal nature of their crimes. "These absolutely helpless victims, sleeping in their own home were stabbed and beaten with a baseball bat," said Jagels. "And, we think if any case ever required the juvenile to be treated as adults, this is it."

The suspects are also charged with "special circumstances." They face charges of felony robbery, felony burglary, and special circumstances for allegations of multiple murders.

Jagels says if the suspects are convicted on these charges, with they could face a maximum sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.

Investigators say the Parrotts were assaulted Aug. 4 in their central Bakersfield home. The bodies were found Aug. 6 after friends reported the couple hadn't been seen or heard from in a few days.

The Parrott's son went to check the house, noticed a widow and sliding glass door open, and called police.

Police now say they believe the home was picked as a burglary target because it was not well-lit, with no cars in the driveway -- and the suspects thought no one was home.

Detectives say Items stolen from the Parrotts' home were found at both suspects' houses. After the tip came in, Hoffman was arrested Sunday in Bakersfield and Palafox was arrested Monday in Riverside County.

Relatives of the victims say the arrests are a relief. "We're not vengeful people, we're not malicious people. We just want justice and we're very happy and very relieved, and can sleep a little better," said great niece Goodell outside the courtroom Tuesday.

Goodell was disappointed no one from the Parrott family could be inside for the hearing. Asked if she had a message for the suspects, Goodell said the family still struggles with questions about the violent crime.

"I think more than anything, we just want to know -- why? why? Joe and Dorothy would have given them anything you want, and they would have handed it over in fistfuls. They didn't deserve that."