By BERNARD CHOI / KING 5 News
TACOMA – A young man who had a promising future in medicine was sentenced Friday for bludgeoning a man to death outside his Tacoma home last year.
Cyril Walrond, 19, should have been starting his sophomore year at the University of Washington, studying pre-med with a full scholarship. Instead, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for first degree murder.
As Cyril's pastor attests, the former Mount Tahoma High School standout was, by all accounts, a pillar of his community, responsible and hard working.
"That's one of our good kids. This is one of our examples. This is someone we're all very proud of," said Pastor Terry Harris, Tacoma Christian Center.
That all changed on April 22, 2006. Prosecutors say Walrond and two classmates brutally attacked Dien Huynh outside his Tacoma home, seemingly for no reason, but just for the thrill of it.
"Mr. Huynh was fleeing for his life. Losing his glasses. The defendant chased him down. To chase him down like Mr. Huynh was an animal," said Pierce Co. deputy prosecutor Terry Lane.
Authorities say Walrond used a hammer and bludgeoned Huynh in the head multiple times. The 65-year-old, who fled Vietnam to find a better life in the U.S., died two days later.
"I stand here today acknowledging my transgressions and accepting full responsibility for my actions and the role I played in this case," said Walrond in court. "I wake up each morning with innocent blood on my hands and the pain and guilt in my past stupid decisions lay heavy on my heart."
Walrond didn't explain why he attacked an innocent man, just saying he made some horrible decisions.
The judge said in more than 20 years, he has never received so many letters supporting a defendant, but in light of the horrific crime, he sentenced Walrond to 35 years.
The victim's family had little to say except that they trusted what the judge and prosecutor did in the case.
Cyril's pastor apologized to the victim's family, saying he can't help but think the system somehow failed in this case.
The two other students who pled guilty for their roles in the killing will be sentenced next month.