The Justice Files: The healing begins for Kailey Vijil’s family

Justice Files

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The teenager who raped and murdered his 12-year-old neighbor is headed to adult prison.

Jayden Sterzer was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for each count of the rape and murder of Kailey Vijil.

This was the second time 19-year-old Sterzer was sentenced for the crime. Last year, he pleaded guilty to the sexual assault and was sentenced to juvenile detention. But the murder charge was delayed. He was to return to court when he turned 21 years old. But he recently assaulted another inmate while in detention and faced a new charge. The district attorney said that violated the conditions of his earlier sentence.
Monday Sterzer appeared before an adult judge.

Jayden Sterzer

Sterzer who committed the crime when he was 15 years old offered an apology.

“I know what I did was wrong and I am truly sorry for what I’ve done,” Sterzer said. “And I know this will not fix it but what I did I deserve (the punishment).”

Kailey’s mother has her 12-year-old daughter was the kind of person who would help anyone. And that cost her her life.

Sterzer lived in Kailey’s West Valley neighborhood. He knocked on her door late at night and asked her to help find his cat. She left with him and was never heard from again. Her body was found in a field near her neighborhood after she was sexually assaulted and murdered.

Kailey’s family was emotional and in tears. The judge prevented them from being photographed in court.

Her father, Orlando Vijil, was anything but forgiving with Sterzer.

“I want to f*** him up right now,” Vijil said in court. “If I had known you were at your house, I would have taken a baseball bat to you.”

Judge Paul Parker allowed Vijil to continue talking, but security moved in closer to Vijil acting as a bugger between the father and Sterzer.

“I want to rip his God**** head off right now,” Vijil added.

Judge Parker said he understands where Vijil was coming from. As did Sterzer’s attorney.

“All you can do is try to understand what any one of us would go through if we lost a child,” said Michael Sikora. “And so I fully understand where he’s coming from.”

Kailey’s family left the courtroom without saying anything publicly. But an attorney from the state’s victim’s legal clinic spoke on their behalf.

“They are very grateful that the judge has given them a little bit of justice and peace so that they can start healing from extreme trauma and terror they’ve been experiencing these past years,” said Crystal Powell with the Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic. “They miss their daughter. There is a wound in their soul that will never heal.”


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