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Arkadelphia Siftings Herald - Arkadelphia, AR
  • Riakos Lizana changes plea

  • Riakos Lizana changed his plea Friday morning to guilty of three counts of capital murder and one count of aggravated residential burglary.
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  • Riakos Lizana changed his plea Friday morning to guilty of three counts of capital murder and one count of aggravated residential burglary.
    Lizana was due for a pre-trial hearing. He admitted to the court that he entered Bobby Jean “Chino” Galbraith’s South 11th Street home on Dec. 6, 2012, with the intentions of committing theft. He additionally admitted to killing his two step-daughters, Adiele and Marley Crutchfield, ages 6 and 4, respectively.
    He was sentenced to four life terms without the possibility of parole; those sentences will run consecutively.
    Clark County Prosecutor Blake Batson said he discussed the change in plea “thoroughly” with Anna Galbraith, the mother to the two slain girls and wife to Chino Galbraith, and said all parties were in agreement with the plea change. Prior to court proceedings, Galbraith sat weeping silently in the gallery, removing her eyeglasses and wiping her face with tissue.
    She took the stand after Circuit Judge Robert McCallum accepted the sentence, saying her words or actions toward Lizana “couldn’t change anything that happened, nor could it make it equal.” Galbraith’s statement was given in spurts between pauses of heavy sobs.
    “I lost my kids, I lost my best friend,” she continued. Since the murders, she said she continuously struggles with her identity. “I’ve been trying to keep myself together this whole time, but inside I don’t feel normal.”
    Neither the life sentences nor the death penalty, which could have been an option had Lizana been convicted at trial, are “good enough,” she said. “What I feel needs to be done can’t be done.” Referring to her daughters and husband, she said, “I know they’re in a good place now.”
    She said she still struggles with what she’ll tell her youngest daughter — the infant who was unharmed when Lizana broke into the house and committed the heinous act — when she is old enough to know about the crime. “I still don’t know how. I don’t have all the answers,” she remarked, concluding her statement by telling Lizana that he “ripped my heart out of my chest.”
    Once court was recessed, Anna’s father shouted at Lizana, calling him a “sniveling coward” and saying he was “not human” while Lizana was escorted back to the jail. Anna’s father, too, was escorted from the courtroom.
    Clark County Prosecutor Blake Batson had this to say in a prepared press release: “This family deserves closure, this family deserves for this case to end today without reliving this horrific crime at a trial and the appeals that would result from it. This recommendation is made after numerous and extensive discussions with the family and law enforcement. I have sought out and considered the input and opinions of all involved, including other prosecutors. These results were made possible because of the tireless and thorough work of our local law enforcement officers and they are to be commended for their dedication and service to our community. This is the right decision.”
    Page 2 of 2 - That same release ends with this statement from Sheriff Jason Watson: “I agree with this decision, and I believe that justice has been served.”

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