Posted on | July 11, 2014 | 49 Comments
Left to right: Marisela Pacheco, Ruben Archunde, Jessica Gallegos
Marisela Narango Pacheco’s boyfriend was in jail in Tucson, Arizona. Her boyfriend’s buddy Ruben Estevan Archunde had just been released from jail and was awaiting trial on an auto theft charge. They came up with an idea of how to get the money to bail out Pacheco’s boyfriend — armed robbery — and so they called for a taxi.
Timothy Royce, 27, was a driver for Yellow Cab. He was an Army veteran, and his fianceé was four months pregnant with their son. On the night of March 5, 2008, Royce picked up Pacheco, Archunde and his girlfriend, Marisela Narango Pacheco, a 16-year-old runaway. Archunde shot Royce twice with a .45-caliber pistol and left him in an alley. The trio of robbers got Royce’s wallet and $5.
Five dollars. He died for $5.
The murder was reported in the Tucson newspaper. Pacheco and Archunde “went to the jail to show her boyfriend the Arizona Daily Star’s article on the slaying so he could know what they had done for him.” On a digital recording of that meeting, Pacheco can be heard loudly proclaiming “I was there too!” Pacheco also told her sister-in-law about the crime, and the sister-in-law called the cops.
This murder was featured on the A&E network’s The First 48, a reality show that is actually about reality: Camera crews follow around homicide investigators as they obtain evidence and testimony, interrogate suspects and, usually, solve the murder.
The First 48 is fascinating to watch because the murders these real-life detectives investigate are nothing like the exciting, suspenseful thrillers that are the subject of fictional TV crime dramas. There are no mysteries, no elaborate conspiracies. No, the victims on The First 48 are usually people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got shot, beaten or stabbed to death by stupid, vicious criminal scum. Sometimes it’s a drug deal gone wrong. Sometimes it’s a beef between rival hoodlums. Other times, it’s just a robbery like the one that led to the murder of Tucson cab driver Timothy Royce.
Gallegos was sentenced to seven years in prison, Pacheco was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and Archunde got life without parole, spared the death penalty because he had a bad childhood:
Margaret DiFrank, a mitigation specialist hired by Archunde’s attorneys, David Basham and James Fullin, spent months collecting information on Archunde’s background. She found that:
• Archunde’s mother gave birth to five children between the ages of 14 and 21. Archunde was the second-eldest.
• Archunde attended four schools in kindergarten alone, the longest for three months.
• Archunde’s father was sent to prison when Archunde was 6, for child molestation.
• Archunde’s mother moved to New Mexico when Archunde was 8, leaving her children behind with a grandmother.
• Archunde became a ward of the state at the age of 12 and made his first suicide attempt.
In sentencing Archunde, [Judge Richard] Fields said Archunde “was abused and abandoned more than anyone would wish upon their least favorite creature,” and that led to his creating “street families” to fill the void.
Whatever. Why is it that it’s only after they kill somebody that we learn about the horrendous childhood experiences of stupid vicious scum like Ruben Archunde? Why can’t police figure out that some animals are too dangerous to be turned loose on the streets? They actually had this particular scum in custody, jailed for auto theft, and turned him loose just days before he shot Timothy Royce.
Unlike the suspense-filled TV crime dramas, there’s no moral to this story. Just a dead cab driver and his son — now nearly 6 years old — growing up without a father, because of stupid vicious criminal scum.