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Tamara Hofmann Latest Teacher in Sex Scandal, but One With Deadly Consequences

The stories are always headline-grabbers, a teacher and student carrying on an illicit (and, more importantly, possibly illegal) affair. It shouldn't be surprising, after all, it's a betrayal of public trust of the highest order. But today comes a sobering story of one such affair that brought with it a deadly result. The tragic case arose after Arizona high school teacher Tamara Hofmann and her 18-year-old student, Samuel Valdivia, were caught together in bed by her 20-year-old boyfriend Sixto Balbuena.

Balbuena, who also happens to be one of Hofmann's previous students, then stabbed Valdivia to death, although the AP noted he told police he did not intend to do so:

"...he never meant to kill Samuel Valdivia. He allegedly told police 'the blade went in like going into butter' and that he just wanted to show Valdivia how much he hurt him by sleeping with Tamara Hofmann."

Regardless, Balbuena, was arrested on a charge of second degree murder and is in jail with bail set at $100,000. Arizona's second degree murder statute is distinguished from first degree murder by the absence of "premeditation". Regardless, the statute still requires an intent that death or serious physical harm result from the accused's conduct. Although voluntary manslaughter is the charge that best fits cases where someone kills another person "in the heat of passion", sometimes the circumstances of an offense nevertheless merit a murder charge.

Although this would clearly fall in the "too little, too late" category, Hofmann is being investigated for misconduct in regard to her relationship with Valdivia. Worse yet, the AP notes that police actually suspected Hofmann of having a sexual relationship with Balbuena back when he was 17 years old. However, because both Balbuena and Hofmann denied carrying on such a relationship, police pursued it no further. Although it is difficult to fault police for that, considering they had no victim, at the same time this may end up raising questions as to whether the school knew about those allegations and whether it did everything it could to monitor and prevent any teacher misconduct.