Every night, Jose Carlos Llano-Xolo’s parents left their Hallandale Beach apartment for work, not returning until dawn.
Left alone, Llano, 14 and his cousin Juan Xolo-Merlin, 17, would slip out of their apartment and into the night, neighbors said.
Just after midnight Wednesday, the teens left their home, hoping to hook up with a prostitute. They never made it back.
Instead, the boys are being held at Broward’s juvenile detention facility, charged with second-degree murder.
According to the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, they confessed to killing the man who introduced them to the prostitute, stabbing him several times with a writing pen.
The motive: $40.
Llano and Xolo told Hallandale Beach police that they had met their victim hanging out in the 800 block of North Federal Highway. They each offered to pay him $20 if he introduced them to a female prostitute.
The man, who has not been identified by police, did as he was asked. But the prostitute turned the boys down because they each only had $5 on them.
The man still demanded his payment.
“The victim advised them he still wanted to get paid for introducing them to the female prostitute,” the arrest report reads.
Llano agreed to go home and get some more money, but when he returned, the 14-year-old was carrying an HP laptop computer. He offered to give the man the laptop instead of cash. But the man refused and a fight broke out.
Two witnesses, hanging out in front of Advanced Auto Parts at 117 N. Federal Hwy., called 911.
“I didn’t realize they were kids,” said Marcus Mauppin, one of the witnesses. “They looked like grown men.”
When police arrived, they found Llano and Xolo, both shirtless, hovering over a man laying on the ground and striking his body. The teens ran away, but did not get far. Handcuffed, they were taken into custody.
Police called Eli Llano-Caixba and Yanet Xolo-Martinez, the 14-year-old’s parents. They are also Xolo’s aunt and uncle.
Llano-Caixba told a reporter Thursday night that he was too busy to talk.
“The parents are very concerned with all the attention that has been drawn to this particular event,” said Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes, whose office is representing Llano. “They are supportive of their son and they acknowledge the loss of the family of the deceased.”
Neighbors in the Terra apartment complex said the family has only lived in the building for a few months, and Xolo lived with his aunt, uncle and cousin while his parents remained in Mexico.
“They kept to themselves,” said a neighbor who only identified herself as Louisa, adding that she would often see in the boys in the hallway. “I don’t think they went to school.”
Llano was enrolled at Olsen Middle School; Xolo was not enrolled in school.
On Thursday, during an arraignment hearing, at Broward County judge ruled the teens will remain in custody at least until Jan. 10. At that time, prosecutors will decide whether to charge them as adults. They could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
After they were taken into custody, both teens confessed to their role in the killing, according to the police report.
Llano, who was described by police as “nervous,’’ said he held the man in a choke hold while his older cousin stabbed him with a pen.
Xolo admitted striking the man with his fists, kicking him and stabbing him.
Police have not released any information on the dead man, pending notification of next of kin.
Those in the neighborhood say the victim might have been homeless.