18-year-old gets plea deal in 2015 rape, killing of girl

AP News
Posted: Dec 11, 2017 7:18 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An 18-year-old is pleading guilty to rape and murder in the 2015 death of a 12-year-old Utah girl he's accused of luring from her home with a story about a lost cat.

Jayden Matthew Sterzer pleaded guilty to rape in juvenile court Monday. He was 15 when police say he strangled Kailey Vijil (VIJ'-el) and left her in a horse pasture.

Sterzer also was expected to plead guilty to murder in adult court as part of a blended plea deal that will allow him to stay in a juvenile detention center until he turns 21.

The Associated Press hadn't previously named Sterzer because he was a minor and his case was being handled entirely in juvenile court.

He was found fit for trial after getting treatment for unspecified mental disorders and intellectual disabilities.