Crime

Sixto Balbuena Gets 10 Years for Love-Triangle Killing; Tamara Hofmann, Former Chandler Schoolteacher, was at Center of Affair

A 21-year-old Navy man received a 10-year prison sentence in Maricopa County Superior Court today for the murder of his rival for the love of a 48-year-old Chandler schoolteacher.

Sixto Balbuena stabbed 18-year-old Samual Valdivia on April 10, 2009, after catching the younger man at the house of Tamara Hofmann, a teacher at El Dorado High School. She reportedly met Balbuena while teaching at Tempe's Marcos de Niza High School.

The steamy brutality of the case caught national attention, and Hofman surrendered her teaching credentials.

The incident started when Balbuena returned home on leave, went to Hofmann's house and caught Valdivia there with a naked Hofmann.

After it was all over, the sailor expressed remorse to police, telling them he hadn't meant to kill the younger man, just teach him a "lesson". His infamous quote about how his knife went in "like butter" still gives us chills.

Ten years seems like a relatively light sentence -- let's hope he doesn't come out of prison with a taste for more butter.


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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.