Amber Hess Memorial Ride 2007 and 2008

Amber Hess was a young lady taken too soon. She was our neighbor in the rurals behind our development. We put together this first motorcycle run to help the Mike and Candy pay for their daughters  funeral. The second run was to help fund programs that would set troubled kids on the right path. Amber was murdered by two friends. You can read the account of the sentencing trial below.

May 29, 2010

“It’s a Long, Dark Road” – Sentencing for the Killers of Amber LeAnn Hess

In a press conference yesterday after the sentencing of Todd Hoke and Nicholas Castillo, the confessed murders of Amber Hess, Candy Hess said that from here on out it’s a long, dark road trying to figure out who they will be. Mike has yet to grieve. Candy talks to a picture of her baby daily.

But yesterday was a milestone in that road. It was three years coming that felt like a lifetime of reliving daily the tragedy that was the brutal murder of their child Amber. In the sentencing Candy spoke for Mike and Candy. She relived for an hour through tears the horrors of the day she and Mike returned from Rocky Point only to find their blood soaked home ransacked; their daughter missing.

After an hour of testimony, she turned to Mike. It was then that I could see the toll in her eyes of constant crying. Mike gave her a nod. Candy turned back to the judge then asked for the maximum sentence to be imposed on Todd Hoke and Nicholas Castillo. Then she spoke directly to the young men who plotted and murdered her child.

Todd Hoke received a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 25 years for first degree murder minus 1066 days of time served. Nicholas Castillo received 22 years for second degree murder plus two years for abandonment or concealment of a body minus 1066 days of time served.

Mike and Candy had their day. Candy knows that Amber has forgiven those two. That’s just the kind of person she was. But as parents of a child murdered it’s tough to live up to the high standards you instilled in your daughter.

I spoke with Mike about the possibility of doing another motorcycle run for the benefit of their choice. They are all for it and we are looking at sometime in October after it cools down. The first one helped pay for funeral costs. The second Amber’s Ride and Drive ( Mike and Candy wanted the monies raised to go to the PCSO Justice Foundation and be earmarked for programs that will help kids in need. Kids in trouble.

Violence is not a solution. Violence should never be an option.

Candy spoke yesterday of parents taking their children for granted. She spoke also of the kids that need love. They need to be shown their worth and given high expectations. It’s not rocket science, man. You have kids, you raise them how you want them to turn out. Mike and Candy did.

At Amber’s memorial Mike and Candy greeted for two and a half hours family and friends of Amber. They heard stories they never knew of how Amber helped this person and that. One such story was that a kid ran away and Amber told (him, her?) that you need to go back and talk to your Mom. Right now. That person did and was better for it. Amber changed lives.

And if you are wondering why I am writing this it’s because Mike and Candy live in the rural area behind behind San Tan Heights. This hits home. Mike and Candy are our neighbors.

The next motorcycle run Mike said they want to benefit Victims with Voices.

Here is the link to the channel 10 news report with video.


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