Killer of girl, 7, goes to prison for life

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The Independent Online
A MURDER CASE that has haunted America came to an abrupt end yesterday when the defendant pleaded guilty.

Jeremy Strohmeyer took Sherrice Iverson, a seven-year-old girl, into the toilets of the Primadonna Casino in Las Vegas, sexually molested her and killed her when she struggled. The murder, in May 1997, shocked the country because of the age of the girl, the nature of the attack and that it could have been committed in a public place. Police said Strohmeyer confessed, saying he wanted "to experience death". He had a lot of pornography, and admitted fantasising about sex with young girls, police said.

As the trial was about to get under way in Las Vegas, he changed his not-guilty plea, and admitted to the murder. It means he will get a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He stood with his head bowed as the judge asked repeatedly whether he understood that he would never be released. He said he did. The defence had been prepared to argue in mitigation that Strohmeyer was a deeply disturbed person, whose father is in prison and whose mother is in a mental hospital.

But many unsatisfactory and unpleasant loose ends have been left. Chief among them is the case of Strohmeyer's friend David Cash, who reportedly saw the crime but did not stop it or report it. He has not been charged because Nevada has no "Good Samaritan" law, but his statements - that Strohmeyer was a friend of his and a good person, and that he felt no responsibility because he did not know the girl - have caused widespread anger. Now the trial is over, there will be strong pressure for Nevada and other states to enact Good Samaritan laws.

r Police investigating the killing of six people in three separate incidents in Denver on Monday arrested a teenager yesterday. "We ... are wanting to find out if he knows anything about this homicide and if he does, what his participation, if anything, was," a police spokesman said.