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Preliminary hearing begins for murder suspect as man describes ‘horrific’ scene finding his mother-in-law stabbed to death

Crime Watch

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Dustin Alfaro appeared in a Bannock County Courthouse for his preliminary hearing Tuesday. | Rachel Cox-Rosen, KPVI

POCATELLO — It was a tearful day at the Bannock County Courthouse as 87-year-old Arlyne Koehler’s family members sat for hours and listened to details of her murder investigation.

Dustin Alfaro, 18, of Yuba County, California, is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in Koehler’s March murder. Isaac Rodriguez-Romero, 17, of California, is also charged in connection to the crime.

Bannock County prosecutors called over ten witnesses Tuesday to testify on the murder in order to prove there is enough evidence to take Alfaro to trial.

Those witnesses included Bannock County Coroner Eli Taysom, several Pocatello Police Department detectives and officers, a PPD evidence technician, and Koehler’s son-in-law, Don Stallsmith, who first discovered her body.

Stallsmith says the scene in her home on March 19 was “horrific.”

He and PPD witnesses described blood in the kitchen and dining room, a blood trail that went out of the home on McKinley Avenue all the way to Eldridge and Koehler’s dead, bloody body on the floor of her bedroom.

Corner Taysom testified that after an autopsy by a doctor in Boise, he concluded that Koehler died from bleeding out after being stabbed in the heart, spleen, liver and carotid artery.

Yuba County Sheriff’s officials testified about arresting Alfaro and Rodriguez-Romero, and collecting Alfaro’s DNA. The prosecution also entered a photo of a cut on Rodriguez-Romero’s hand into evidence.

The prosecution played the tape of an interview between Alfaro, the Yuba County chief deputy DA and an investigator with the DA’s office. In the tape, Alfaro is convinced to tell some of his side of the story. Alfaro admits to breaking into the house through a back window, but blames Rodriguez-Romero for the stabbing of Mrs. Koehler.

Alfaro’s preliminary hearing will continue Wednesday. Rodriguez-Romero’s will be Thursday and Friday.

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