Printed on: May 16, 2013

Death penalty sought in Aschliman killing

By RUTH BROWN
rbrown@postregister.com

Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett filed a notice of intent Friday to seek the death penalty in the case of the Blackfoot man who allegedly shot and killed a 21-year-old woman.

Adan Arroyo, 22, is charged with the first-degree murder of Kristy Aschliman, who was shot four times in the head Jan. 19 in rural Ammon.

Arroyo also was ordered Wednesday to submit his palm prints to authorities.

Pickett said in court that a palm print had been found at the scene of Aschliman's death.

Defense attorney Justin Oleson opposed Pickett's request to secure the palm prints, saying authorities already had his client's fingerprints.

Administrative District Judge Jon Shindurling sided with Pickett, saying palm prints are just as pertinent as fingerprints, footprints and other forms of evidence.

Pickett did not specify where at the scene the palm print was found.

Arroyo's arrest came shortly after the discovery of Aschliman's body. In previous court appearances, witnesses identified Arroyo as the man they saw running from the crime scene.

To seek the death penalty, prosecutors must have at least three aggravating circumstances within the alleged murder. Pickett's list included:

"By the murder, or circumstances surrounding its commission, the defendant exhibited utter disregard for human life."

"The murder was committed in perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, kidnapping and the defendant killed, intended a killing, or acted with reckless indifference to human life."

"The defendant, by his conduct ... before, during or after the commission of the murder has exhibited a propensity to commit murder which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society."

Arroyo also has a pending charge for possessing contraband in jail. On March 26, Bonneville County Jail officials reportedly found an improvised weapon in Arroyo's cell.

Also Wednesday, prosecutors dismissed the additional felony injury to jail property charge he faced for reportedly writing gang symbols on jail walls.

The defense did not contest the contraband charge but also did not acknowledged guilt.

Arroyo's next court appearance is set for 10 a.m. July 31. He remained in custody Wednesday without bond.

First-degree murder is punishable by death or up to life in prison. Felony introducing contraband into a jail facility is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Ruth Brown can be reached at 542-6750.