Man ordered to stand trial for murder in brutal killing of neighbor girl

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15 2012 6:00 p.m. MST

Once at the apartment they were informed they had been called to pronounce death.

"Honestly, it was spooky," Maurer said. "The light in the bathroom wasn't working and there was a photographer taking pictures — there was that strobe going off. It was, to me, a horror scene."

He said they quickly confirmed the young girl was dead.

Forensic scientist Chad Grundy earlier testified that DNA testing showed two blood samples from the apartment were a match for Hser, though one blood sample had a mix of DNA. Eight stains were found on the back of the jacket Met was wearing on March 31, 2008, and when he was arrested the next day. Four tested positive for human blood. A DNA test matched the blood to Hser.

The four other occupants of the apartment testified they lived upstairs and rarely, if ever, went into the basement where Met lived. They said Hser sometimes came over to the apartment, but only with her brother. They said they didn't ever see her play with Met.

But Nane We, who was 10 years old at the time, testified that she and Hser would often play with Met. Though she said in court that she never saw Met take Hser into his bedroom and close his door, Travis Peterson, an investigator with the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, said Nane told him differently in an interview in 2008.

Then, he said, Nane told him that Met had twice taken the girl into his room and closed the door. But he also said the girl did not appear to be uncomfortable or alarmed and confirmed that Nane never said Met harmed them.

The girl's parents said she was healthy and happy the morning of March 31, 2008. Later, her mother, Pearlly Wa, went to a dentist's appointment and left Hser in the care of an aunt and uncle. When the woman returned, Hser was gone. Nane said her mother told her Hser had been looking to play with her, but Nane was sleeping. Another woman who lived in the apartment complex said she saw the young girl between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. No one is believed to have seen her after.

Met's uncle, Mar Phi, said he saw Met on a bus on the afternoon of March 31, 2008, and Met came home and spent the night there with the family. He was there until his arrest the next day. Phi and his wife, Mi Cho, both testified that Met was acting normally.

The case has taken more than four years to get to this point, largely due to language barriers and Met's struggles to understand the court process. Two Burmese interpreters, an interpreter who speaks both Burmese and Karen, and a Spanish interpreter have aided witnesses and Met during the preliminary hearing.

An arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 7. 

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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