A 16-year-old boy charged in the death of another teenager during a botched drug robbery in a Hazel Dell parking lot in December was sentenced Tuesday.
Tristan Alexander Cienfuegos was ordered to remain behind bars until he’s 21.
Superior Court Commissioner Dayann Liebman imposed the sentence on Cienfuegos, who pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree murder in Clark County Juvenile Court.
Cienfuegos originally faced charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. Two co-defendants, Terrance J. Busby and Oriley J. Huynh, 17 and 15 respectively at the time of their arrests, were similarly charged in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Gage Allan Kiser.
Busby was convicted of first-degree robbery and sentenced to a range of three and a half to six years in a juvenile facility. Huynh has a hearing scheduled for Sept. 11, Deputy Prosecutor Kristine Foerster said, at which a judge will decide whether his case should remain in juvenile court or be moved to adult court.
The three boys planned to rob Kiser of marijuana Dec. 10. Their plot turned deadly when Huynh shot the Vancouver teen multiple times, prosecutors say.
In his written statement to the court, Cienfuegos said he arranged to buy marijuana from Kiser, but he did not plan to pay for it. After taking the marijuana, Kiser “was shot by someone other than me,” he wrote.
Cienfuegos said he took the plea deal offered by the state to avoid the possibility of his case being moved to adult court, according to the statement.
The court found that imposing a lower sentence would not be justified, and the agreement between the attorneys was appropriate, according to an affidavit of a finding of “manifest injustice,” a legal term used to convey that something is obviously unfair.
Foerster said the finding allowed for a sentence at the top of the sentencing range with no chances for Cienfuegos to receive credit for good time. She noted that the state’s Division of Juvenile Rehabilitation has jurisdiction to house Cienfuegos only until his 21st birthday. She declined to comment further on the sentence, citing Huynh’s pending case.
Kiser’s mother, Debra Cook, said she did not believe the punishment was fair.
“You are getting a second chance, a slap on the wrist … Does Gage Kiser? Does he get a second chance?” Cook wrote in a victim impact statement.
Kiser left behind a daughter, born July 22, according to his mother, as well as four siblings. She said the family hurts every day from their loss.
Clark County sheriff’s deputies and medics were dispatched about 2:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, to Pacific 63 Center, 6204 N.E. Highway 99, following multiple reports of a shooting. The shopping center is home to a number of businesses including a muffler shop and a martial arts studio.
Witnesses pulled Kiser from his still-running Jeep and attempted CPR before first responders arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office. Kiser was struck by gunfire four times. An autopsy found he had entry wounds in his left shoulder and two in his back, and an exit wound on the right side of his chest, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Huynh’s case.
Court records identified Cienfuegos as the marijuana buyer, Huynh as the shooter and Busby as the getaway driver. Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Smith said in a hearing earlier this year that he reviewed the evidence and determined Busby was the least culpable.