SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah)- It’s been a long two years for the family of Kaili Vijil.
She was found in a field near her home in West Valley in 2015. Police said she was sexually assaulted before being murdered.
A neighbor boy was charged with the crime in juvenile court. In 2015, West Valley police said the teen lured Vijil from her home by having her help find his kitten. She was found the next day in the field.
Last year the juvenile judge found him incompetent to continue in the court process.
Friday a judge ruled that a 17-year-old accused of killing Vijil is competent
“I was surprised,” said her father Orlando Vijil afterwards. “It’s been a long two years.”
As part of Friday’s ruling Judge James Michie said the teen still had mental difficulties but is capable of understanding what’s before him under Utah law.
“I am finding that (teen) currently has an adequate ability to understand the nature of the proceeding against him and of the possible dispositions and an adequate ability to consult with counsel and participate in the proceedings against him,” said Judge Michie.
The teen will now face a preliminary hearing to see if he should stand trial.
“I don’t think there was any winners,” said Vijil. “We both are going through the same thing. There’s nothing to celebrate here.”
The family has been following the court proceedings since the charges were first filed. The elder Vijil said the wait has been long and it’s been difficult just to continue living in the neighborhood.
“Probably a hell on earth for me I guess because they live down the block from me and I can’t go down the other street because that’s where she passed away,” said Vijil. “If you ever lost a child you would know.”
The teen will return to juvenile court December 5th. A date will be set for his preliminary hearing and at some future date the prosecution is expected to attempt to have him charged as an adult.