A Pinal County judge ruled Monday that two Queen Creekarea boys charged in the slaying of Amber LeAnn Hess in June must submit swabs with saliva that can be tested for DNA.
An attorney for Nicolas Castillo had fought submitting the evidence, but Pinal County Superior Court Judge Boyd Johnson decided that Castillo and Todd Hoke must submit the swabs as well as fingerprint analysis.
Hoke and Castillo, both 16, are behind bars on charges that include first-degree murder in the death of Hess, a 17-year-old they went to high school with.
When Hess’ parents returned home from a weekend away June 24 they found a bloody kitchen and discovered their daughter was missing. The following day her burned body was found in the desert northwest of Florence.
During Monday’s hearing, Hoke and Castillo wore green and white jail stripes and handcuffs. A trial date has not yet been set.
Johnson also reviewed a motion the media put forward for release of the statements Hoke and Castillo made to Pinal County sheriff’s investigators. Sheriff Chris Vasquez has said that the teens admitted to disliking Hess. However, their full statements have been withheld from the media.
Johnson said he would take everything under advisement and will set a hearing date when he makes a decision.