Sixteen-year-old Braden Matthew Rockriver is currently being held on $1 million bond for the Mesa murder of his girlfriend's mother, reports the Associated Press. The teen, charged as an adult, is accused of committing first-degree murder and first-degree robbery, The Arizona Republic also reported.
First-degree murder is a class 1 felony under Arizona law and is punishable by death or life imprisonment. First-degree burglary committed in a residential structure is a class 2 felony.
Rockriver had initially been booked into the Maricopa County Southeast Juvenile Holding Facility, but the teen was later charged as an adult. Typically, 16- and 17-year-olds booked on suspicion of murder are charged as adults, but the determination is made by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Mesa police spokesman, Sgt. Ed Wessing, told The Republic.
Rockriver allegedly lay in wait in his girlfriend’s garage on Monday intending to commit a murder-suicide of his girlfriend and himself with his father’s handgun, authorities said. He encountered his girlfriend’s mother, 42-year-old Denna Strebe, instead, who reportedly had banned him from their home.
Rockriver and Strebe struggled over the weapon, police said, which discharged and killed Strebe with a bullet wound to the head. Rockriver then proceeded to his girlfriend’s room where he was disarmed by her father and son. Although the suspect fled, he was apprehended a couple of hours later without incident, according to Wessing.
Rockriver’s next scheduled court date for the Mesa murder is August 23, according to the Associated Press. It is unclear whether he has an attorney, but with the severity of the allegations against him as a teen charged as an adult, he is going to need a good one.
- Find a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Mesa Teen Arrested in Death of Girlfriend’s Mom (Associated Press)
- Arizona Capital Punishment Laws (FindLaw)
- Prosecutors Want Teen Homicide Suspect Tried as an Adult (Phoenix Criminal Law News)