Emotional sentencing of 2 teens in Queen Creek girl's murder

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

FLORENCE – Two Valley teenagers have been sentenced for their role in the brutal killing of 17-year old Amber Hess.

Vicious was just one of the words used by the judge to discuss the murder. Just before the judge sentenced the two teens, who were crying profusely, Amber’s mother, Candy Hess, described in detail to the judge how her daughter was killed. She also explained how Tom Hoke and Nicolas Castillo, 16 years old at the time, tried to choke her daughter, beat her and then stabbed her to death.

With tears running down her face, Candy talked about how the two boys left Amber’s body in the desert and set it on fire.

Despite the sentencing, the motive in this murder is still unclear. Hoke had previously said he killed Amber because “he didn’t like her” but Amber was, at one point, pregnant with his child.

Because Amber’s body was burned, it was unclear if she was still pregnant at the time of the murder or if she had possibly had a miscarriage just before.

Candy told the judge, “Todd didn’t have to take an extreme argument which I believe was about her telling him she was 10-weeks pregnant with his child. DNA proves it was his child. Not only did you kill Amber, you killed your only son.”

Due to plea deals, Hoke received life in prison. He can possible seek parole after 25 years. Castillo was sentenced to 24 years behind bars.