A teenage girl and her boyfriend who were seen on video laughing about “murdering someone” after allegedly killing her father may be unaware of the consequences of their alleged actions, a therapist said.
Jacent Wamala, a licensed family and marriage counselor from Las Vegas, said she noticed a troubling sign in the footage made public Wednesday, showing Aaron Guerrero, 18, and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Sierra Halseth, playfully recalling how they killed someone and then “had a lot of sex” while on the run from authorities.
“There was a lot that showed dynamics in the relationship and a little bit of power relationally,” Wamala told KTNV.
The disturbing footage shows Guerrero repeatedly slapping Halseth’s face lightly and then putting his hands around her throat, prompting the teen — whose mom is a former Nevada state senator — to choke and gasp for air.
“Welcome back to our YouTube channel … Day 3 after murdering somebody,” Guerrero said on the clip filmed in April, six days after they allegedly stabbed Sierra’s 45-year-old father, Daniel Halseth, stuffed his body in a sleeping bag and set his home on fire.
“Whoa! Don’t put that on camera,” a giggling Sierra replied before divulging the couple’s torrid love connection. “And we had sex a lot today.”
Wamala said she wasn’t surprised to see the young accused killers speaking so plainly about murder, saying those who grew up inundated with technology and social media generally put up few barriers.
“They just do what they know how to do without the separation of the consequences and repercussions of those actions,” Wamala said.
The therapist said exposure to outside influences can affect the behavior of teens and young adults, but acknowledged she couldn’t comment directly on what may have allegedly motivated Guerrero and Halseth to kill.
“What are they watching?” Wamala asked. “What are they learning and what are they not learning, right? What are they not learning in school? What are they not learning in society?”
Prior trauma or a major shift in a young person’s living situation could be among the “compounding factors that build up to create a perfect storm,” according to Wamala, who called on parents to communicate more with their children.
“Parents and families and communities can begin to wrap around each other and have honest conversations about what’s going on,” the therapist continued. “I think it can reduce a lot of high-risk behavior or criminal activity.”
Court documents show Sierra Halseth and Guerrero dated from June through December, but were told by their parents they could no longer be together, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Guerrero can potentially face the death penalty if convicted. He and Sierra are both facing charges of murder, arson, robbery and fraudulent use of a credit card, but the 16-year-old girl cannot face capital punishment in Nevada due to state law.
Guerrero’s attorney told KLAS Wednesday that the case will be reviewed by the district attorney’s office next week.
Sierra’s mother, Elizabeth Halseth, is a former GOP state senator who was elected as the youngest person to the Nevada Senate in 2010, the Review-Journal has reported.
Elizabeth Halseth — now Elizabeth Helgelien after remarrying — has not spoken publicly on the allegations facing her daughter.