Crime

He killed 2 people in 12 hours on Valentine’s Day. Here’s how long he’ll be in prison

Hector Orozco Jr.is on trial for a double-murder trial

Hector Orozco Jr.'s trial has begun at Franklin County Superior Court. Orozco faces seven charges for a 2018 Valentine's Day crime spree leaving two dead.
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Hector Orozco Jr.'s trial has begun at Franklin County Superior Court. Orozco faces seven charges for a 2018 Valentine's Day crime spree leaving two dead.

Hector Orozco Jr. will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for the Valentine’s Day murder of his friend and an elderly Pasco woman.

The 43-year-old was ordered to serve 50 years for the beating and stabbing Bonnie Ross, 82, and Demetrius Graves, 39, in Pasco a year ago.

Orozco attacked the victims separately during a 12-hour crime spree just a day after he was released from jail.

Judge Bruce Spanner followed a sentencing recommendation of Prosecutor Shawn Sant and Orozco’s public defenders Friday during an emotional hearing in Franklin County Superior Court.

Orozco won’t be eligible for release until he is in his late 80s. His attorneys filed an appeal.

The victims’ relatives urged Spanner to disregard the recommendation and give the maximum sentence of 64 years, citing the suffering inflicted on their loved ones.

Ross’ sons and grandsons spoke about her generous spirit, how she faithfully sent birthday cards and her devotion to her Christian beliefs. She probably would have given Orozco her car, her son Anthony Ross told the court.

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Bonnie Ross, 82, was killed last Valentine’s Day in her Pasco home. Her son, Anthony, of Tacoma, said she was a generous and forgiving person. Courtesy Anthony Ross

Graves’ aunt remembered her brother’s son by video, saying his family expected him to move to Little Rock to take care of his dying father.

Spanner cited 10 aggravating factors in the crime, including the vulnerability of the victims and Orozco’s apparent lack of remorse.

He used Ross’ phone to call his own mother after he beat, stabbed and strangled the elderly woman at her home.

“It is apparent to me with all these aggravating factors and none mitigating that he should not see the light of day,” Spanner said, causing the Ross family to applaud..

However, he followed the recommended sentence.

The judge explained to the Ross family that he does not like to give life sentences because prisoners with no hope for release can be troublemaker behind bars.

Spanner said he wanted Orozco to have hope, even if it’s “false hope,” to encourage him to behave behind bars.

“Prisons are dangerous places. Prisons are much more difficult to manage with no hope,” Spanner said.

Orozco, wearing an orange prison uniform, was subdued during the sentencing and did not speak when given the chance.

He appeared to ignore a display board with photos of Bonnie Ross and her family, which was positioned in front of where he sat.

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Hector Orozco Jr. arrives for sentencing at Franklin County Superior Court on Friday. Orozco was sentenced to 50 years for double homicide. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-City Herald

6 crimes in 12 hours

Orozco was convicted by a Franklin County jury in January of six of seven charges for the 12-hour crime spree that left Ross and Graves dead and others injured.

The jury of four men and eight women found Orozco guilty of first-degree murder for Ross, second-degree murder for Graves; unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree assault for Anthony Nugent and Mary Gibson and driving with a suspended license.

He was acquitted on the attempted first-degree murder for Shegow Gagow, who testified about the attack on Graves near downtown Pasco.

The 50-year sentence includes 123 months for the murder of Demetrius Graves, 477 months for the murder of Bonnie Ross.

The sentences will run back to back for a total of 600 months or 50 years.

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Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.

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