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“I didn’t know evil could be so young,” teen hears from West Valley murder victim’s family

“I didn’t know evil could be so young,” teen hears from West Valley murder victim’s family (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) – The family of Kaylie Vijil told the teen who killed her that his actions devastated many lives.

“I don’t think this pain will ever go away, I miss her so much,” Orlando Vijil, Kaylie’s father, told the court at a disposition hearing Friday. “He created this hell and that is why he is going to rot in hell.”

Jayden Matthew Sterzer, 18, admitted to luring Vijil from her home in July 2015 by telling the girl he lost his cat. Vijil went with Sterzer and was taken to a field near 3600 South and 5200 West where she was raped and strangled to death.

West Valley Police apprehended Sterzer several hours after Vijil’s body was found.

After a years-long legal battle, Sterzer accepted a plea deal in December 2017.

He pled guilty to murder, a first-degree felony, and sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.

A judge ordered Sterzer to serve time in secured juvenile detention until he turns 21 when he will be sentenced in adult court.

He faces 15-years-to-life in prison for the murder charge and one-to-15 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a child charge.

Judge James Michie told Sterzer that he understood Sterzer faced many challenges as a child, but nothing justified his actions when he killed Vijil.

“What you did to Kaylie, shocks the conscience, it shocks it to the core,” Michie said. “You had the capacity to choose, Kaylie didn’t because you took that from her.”

Prosecutors say Sterzer had been going around the neighborhood telling young girls that his cat was lost for several days before Vijil went with him.

“There are four or five girls out there who don’t know how lucky they are to be alive,” Orlando Vijil said in court.

The Vijil family spoke for around 30 minutes to Sterzer, who was 15 at the time of the crime.

“I didn’t know evil could be so young like that, itself. It came knocking on my door that night,” Orlando Vijil said.

For his part, Sterzer issued an apology that his attorney read in court.

“She could have had a better life if I’d never done anything,” The statement read. “I found a verse in the bible that reminded me of her and I wanted to share it with you, ‘she is more precious than rubies.’”

The Vijil family did not appreciate his statement.

“Hearing him cite a verse from the bible was kind of insulting to them, trying to make it sound as if he knew Kaylie, he didn’t,” family attorney Spencer Banks said.

The Vijil family said they will be there when Sterzer is sentenced in adult court after he turns 21.

“There’s no actual true sense of justice, true justice would be Kaylie coming back and that’s never going to happen,” Banks said.

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