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Friday, September 24, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Three Teens Arrested In Killing In W. Seattle

Three arrests have been made in one of this summer's most mysterious and brutal killings. But Seattle Police aren't saying how they did it.

The suspects are all males, two 18-year-olds and one 16-year-old, and all live in the Southwest Seattle area. A fourth suspect is being sought.

One of the 18-year-olds in custody appeared in King County Superior Court yesterday in a hearing to establish bail, which was set at $500,000. He remains in jail for investigation of homicide.

Sheryl Jean Hernandez, 27, was killed Aug. 16 while talking with Ernest Chris Roybal, 28, as the two sat on a park bench along Beach Drive Southwest in West Seattle.

A man approached them and asked the time, then pulled a handgun from his belt and shot both Hernandez and Roybal, police reported.

Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said Roybal managed to stagger to a truck and drive for help, but suffered the loss of his left eye.

Police had only a sketchy description of the killer from Roybal and no motive or other firm evidence to pursue.

For more than a month, there was no apparent progress made in the investigation. The police homicide unit was inundated with tragedies, as 14 people were slain in Seattle between Aug. 1 and last week.

But over the past week, information started to come together that led detectives to the four suspects. Police believe the shooting started out as a robbery attempt.

"They were driving around looking for someone to rob," said police spokeswoman Vinette Tichi.

None of the suspects has been formally charged.

Relatives of the suspects said they were shaken by the arrests.

The 16-year-old lives with his grandfather in the High Point area in West Seattle. That community has been the site of several recent killings, and High Point residents staged a march last weekend demanding an end to violence in the neighborhood.

The grandfather of the 16-year-old said he knew nothing about the August killing and also didn't know his grandson was a suspect.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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