Moniza Murillo Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Young Champions Arson Fire

Categories: Crime Blotter

The last of the three surviving karate instructors who burned down the Phoenix headquarters of a youth-instruction firm has been sentenced to four years in prison.

murillo moniza myspace.jpg
Murillo's MySpace page
Moniza Murillo

Moniza Murillo, 20, received the lightest sentence of the three, apparently as reward for providing the most help to authorities following the June 14 blaze. As New Times reported in January's feature article about the case, Murillo was a full participant in the arson of the Young Champions of America building in 40th Street just north of Roeser Road.

Phoenix investigators found that she helped Jeffrey Otto, Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Antonucci buy gasoline and haul gas cans onto a 2nd-floor balcony at Young Champions. Robinson, a 28-year-old, divorced father of three, burned to death after striking a match while standing in a fuel-soaked office.

Murillo and Otto drove to a field and burned the black clothing they had worn, which reeked of gas. Then they went home and watched the movie, "Liar, Liar" with Antonucci.

antonucci and otto doc.jpg
AZ Department of Corrections
Otto and Antonucci's DOC mug shots

All three lied to police initially. Yet, as our January article revealed, Murillo was the first to crack, tearfully 'fessing up to Marika McCue, a Phoenix Fire Department investigator.

Murillo soon signed a plea agreement that required her to testify against Otto, who maintained his innocence until pleading guilty in April.

Antonucci, who had embezzled money from Young Champions and launched his own company to teach karate to kids, pleaded guilty in November and was sentenced in March to 14 years in prison. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Kreamer told Antonucci he found it disturbing that children who took instruction from the arsonists had to cope with the aftermath of the crime.

Kramer handed Otto a 10-year sentence last month.

My Voice Nation Help

YCOA LOYAL: The tape showed two PEOPLE not specifically Jeff, Jon, or Monika. Get YOUR facts strait. 


Her name is MONIZA not MONIKA get your facts straight

Anonymous 1 Like

Justice not served: You are an idiot. The company should not have kept these kids on their payroll if there was ANY indication that they might be stealing. This whole thing could have been averted if the company had taken proper measures. Instead these kids were manipulated into helping their mentors/teachers/friends into committing a crime. You never made a dumb decision when you were young? Well they will be paying for this poor decision for the rest of their lives and have to live with the fact that they saw their mentor/teacher/friend die before their eyes. I hope you are proud of yourself. 

B Shino
B Shino

The system is a joke. Instead of looking at the facts, the prosecutors said crap like "Jeff had no remorse for what he did," "he did this just for the money," and bs like that. I know for a fact it was hard for him. He was at my house several nights before being arrested. We didnt know what was wrong, but he looked terrible, had a quivering voice, told me he kept having nightmares, and was sick looking. Fucking prosecutors can suck it. He also told me he did it because he thought the company was trying to set up his mentors and best friends. I know him, I have for 15 years. We grew up together. He is my brother. He is not fucking greeding. Nor was he careless- one of his best friends died jack asses. How many times have any of you given to the homeless? Spent hundreds of dollars on food and clothes? Well, he spent at least six hundred- with me, at four different nights. He made a mistake, and was manipulated, so again, stfu.


You have to admit, the little smirk on his face in the picture in the orange jumpsuit does not scream "remorse"...just sayin'...

B Shino
B Shino

He poured gasoline. He was pulled into a plot against a company he was told was trying to set up his best friends and mentors.

B Shino
B Shino

Your right, a 20 year old should get ten years for pouring gasoline. Go to hell. If it was your son or brother, you wouldnt be such a judgmental bitch. Youd know how great and charitable he was. Youd know he got manipulated into thinking he was saving his best friends, from a company he thought was setting them up. But you dont know him, so stfu.

Sensei Josh's student
Sensei Josh's student 1 Like

I have forgiven all three of them because that is what Sensei Josh would have wanted us to do. I miss you so much and i never go a day with out thinking about you Sensei. You were like my dad and I will do everything i can to make you proud...

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