The 16-year-old Hoquiam youth who pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing an off-duty corrections officer last year will spend more than 18 years in prison.
Thursday’s sentencing in Grays Harbor Superior Court was emotional for both sides of the packed courtroom — roughly 40 friends and family members of the victim, Jon Favro, on one side, and more than 20 loved ones there for Favro’s killer, Teddy Bryan. Bryan pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Jan. 10.
Bryan was just a few weeks past his 16th birthday when he stabbed Favro, 22, on July 14, 2012. The two were arguing about Bryan’s girlfriend outside her Hoquiam apartment when Bryan reached into Favro’s car and stabbed him high in the chest and once in the thigh. Favro drove away, making it a few blocks before his car got stuck on an embankment, then he walked to a nearby yard where he was found dead by emergency personnel.
Judge Mark McCauley’s sentence is at the top of the standard range for the charge, precisely 220 months — 18 years, 4 months. Prosecutor Stew Menefee said the only unusual thing about the case was Bryan’s age, but he argued that Bryan had been essentially living and socializing as an adult.
After stabbing Favro, Menefee said, Bryan went into his apartment, washed his clothes, cleaned his knife, and prepared to dispose of it in the Chehalis River.
“What he did after clearly indicated he knew what he did was wrong. This was not the result of an immature mind,” Menefee said.
Bryan’s attorney, Orlando Tadique, argued for leniency, citing a difficult upbringing and youth for Bryan.
Tadique told the court Bryan suffered verbal and physical abuse from relatives, some of whom struggled with addiction to methamphetamine. He mentioned the youth’s softer side, staying by his father’s bedside as he died.
“With the right environment and the right treatment, Teddy can be that person that he was meant to be,” Tadique said.
Bryan himself made a short statement, taking a long pause to fight back tears.
“I just want to say I’m sorry. I never meant to kill anybody,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do to take that back, that I took somebody’s life.”
Favro’s mother, Carla, read a letter to the court encouraging the maximum sentence.
“Jon had a whole life ahead of him, pursuing his dreams in law enforcement. He was always there, no matter what time of day, for his family and friends. All we’re left with are memories,” she said. “This has been a life-shattering experience, something that no one should ever have to go through.”
Carla Favro also read a letter from her 9-year-old daughter.
“I cried so much I could barely sleep,” the girl wrote of losing her brother. She also told the court “the person should stay in jail for a while.”
Judge McCauley gave a long explanation before announcing his sentence, speaking to the struggles of both families.
“It’s a tragedy when you lose someone early in their life, when they have their life in front of them. It’s nothing you can ever get over, but it’s something you can get through and try to get on with life,” he said.
“I feel sorry for the defendant, for the choices he made that night. I have some sympathy for his plight as a youth and the poor upbringing that was described, but I can tell you from sitting as a judge for many years … most tragic crimes have perpetrators who have dysfunctional and difficult upbringings. That’s not an excuse for committing any crime, and certainly not an excuse for committing the most violent crime you can commit — murder.”
McCauley noted Bryan had already received leniency: He was allowed to plead to second-degree murder although “the argument could be made that this is close to first-degree premeditated murder,” and there was no deadly weapon enhancement, which would have added a year or so to his sentence.
With good behavior, Bryan may serve as little as 16 years, but as sentenced, he would be 34 years old when he leaves prison.
“Although I feel sorry for him, if he’s well-behaved and he takes advantage of the stability of prison and the opportunities … he can have a pretty full life ahead of him at 32,” he said.
Although it was positive to see the maximum sentence, Carla Favro said after the hearing the time “isn’t enough.”
Now that this chapter of her son’s death is closed, all that’s left is to focus on his life, being together with her family, and “just recover, and know (Bryan) is locked up for a long time.”
“It’s sad. We have two young people, and any future they had is pretty much ruined,” Menefee said. “At least Mr. Bryan has a chance. Mr. Favro doesn’t.”