UPDATE: Arvizu sentenced to 28 years in prison for murder and assault

Courtney(Burton) Arvizu

Robert Arvizu, who killed his young newlywed wife Courtney, was sentenced Tuesday to 28 years in prison; 25 years for the murder and three additional years for breaking the nose of the man he accused of flirting with her.

“This is a double tragedy,” Judge David W. Stuart told San Fernando Superior Court Tuesday. “Mr. Arvizu took Courtney’s life and threw away his own life.

“We’ve seen this domestic violence situation too often in court, where an extremely jealous husband is extremely controlling of his wife, who is extremely insecure.

“A man willing to use his size advantage against the women in his life,” he said.

The judge added: “I don’t know if he’s a monster, but I know that he is a bully. He is bully plain and simple.

“Courtney is killed. Courtney is gone. And, Mr. Arvizu has thrown his life away,” Stuart said, after which he delivered his sentence.

Robert George Arvizu, 50, was sentenced 25 years to life for first degree murder and three consecutive years in prison for assault.  A second count of assault for which he was also convicted was to be served concurrently.


Victim impact statements

The body of 25-year-old Courtney Arvizu, was found inside her husband’s Newhall apartment on 9th Street between Newhall Avenue and Chestnut Street, shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Sunday May 24, 2015.

She had been punched in the face and then smothered to death, according to evidence presented by Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer.

The judge heard “victim impact” statements from friends and family of both the killer and his victim.

“I am grateful to the jury for seeing the truth in this case,” one woman told the court.

“I’m not here to gloat or be happy. This is such a tragedy for my family and Rob’s family,” she said.

Eric Shapiro, the man whom Arvizu assaulted on the day Courtney was killed, addressed “the anger” he had seen in his friend.

“I know Rob,” he told the court. “I know the best parts of him and, unfortunately, I know the worst parts of him.

“His anger brought out the worst in him. The anger is still in him and I don’t think it’ll ever go away,” he said.

In addressing the judge, Shapiro said: “Make sure he can’t hurt anybody ever again.”

The judge gave Arvizu an opportunity to speak.


Killer speaks

Turning to face the family and friends of the woman he killed, Arvizu, handcuffed and sitting next to his lawyer, told them: “There is nothing I can say or do that will bring Courtney back.

“One day you will know,” Arvizu said, stopping short of continuing, but implying he had more to tell them at a later date.

“I honestly don’t remember that night,” he told them, referring to the night he killed Courtney.

“There is going to be a day I will let you know what happened,” he said. “There was a lot of lying on the (witness) stand.”

Arvizu mentioned, quietly at times, that he should have shared his feelings with a friend.

“I should have talked about things back then but I didn’t,” he said.

After two and half years behind bars, Arvizu said: “There’s no anger in me now.”

The closest he came to an apology came when he told the judge: “I’m sorry for everything that’s gone on in here,” referring to the courtroom.

“My family is suffering too,” he said.

Two women identifying themselves as Arvizu’s cousin and aunt told the court of a man markedly different from the “monster” portrayed during media coverage of the trial.

Arvizu’s cousin said she had difficulty reconciling the murder with “happy” photos of Courtney and Robert Arvizu that she received on her phone the day of killing.

“I have pictures of that last day of them being happy,” she said. “I was shocked because this is not the cousin I know and love.

“It’s been hard for us,” she said. “We got to know Courtney and love her.

“We’re sorry for your loss,” she told members of Courtney’s family sitting on the other side of the courtroom.

“I love my cousin,” she said, as Arvizu watched her over his shoulder.

“He was not a monster,” she said.

The judge asked the cousin if she attended the trial. She said she had not.


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