Judge orders life without parole to prevent other child murders
Esar Met, who killed 7-year-old neighbor girl, is 'extremely dangerous,' jurist says
Porter admitted that she "cringed" when she saw the pre-sentencing report that indicated her client showed no remorse. But she attributed that in part to the cultural differences. Porter said she knew her client was going to prison, but wanted Atherton to give him "a light at the end of a decade's long tunnel."
"Two thousand two hundred twenty-six days later, this case will come to a close. "He starts going to prison today," Porter said. "The majority of Esar's adult life will be behind bars, but that doesn't have to be the end of the story."
But a tearful Wa pleaded with Atherton to give him the maximum penalty, saying her family has waited six long years for justice.
"Everybody dies some day. But the way my daughter died was very unfair," Hser's mother said. "It's something I can never forget in my life."
Both of Hser's parents referred to many hardships the family has suffered since the murder.
"Our family never has the same peace as before," Pearlly Wa said.
She said her daughter's death has even made her question her decision to leave the refugee camps. "If I hadn't come to this country, maybe my daughter would still be alive," she said.
"I have been waiting for this justice for six years, now is the time you will judge him as he deserves," Wa told Atherton in conclusion.
Five members of Hser's family ultimately urged the judge to give them justice. Cartoon Wah said he used to sing to his daughter. Now he can't sing at all because it reminds him of Hser.
"Now, instead of singing, I cry," he said through an interpreter. "Now my life is not stable anymore. My family always argues."
One of Hser's brothers asked Atherton if there is a death penalty in this country. She explained that there is, but said it was not an option in this case. The brother went on to say that he's bothered that Met gets to live when his sister doesn't.
"Why does he stay in this world?" he said through an interpreter. "I don't want to see him alive in this world."
Hser's other brother then addressed Atherton and showed her the tattoo he got on his forearm in memory of his young sister.
"I don't want to look at him," the brother said emotionally while pointed at Met.
He then asked the judge if "there's a life in heaven," apparently asking if he'll see his sister again. Atherton said she couldn't answer that.
Salt Lake County deputy district attorney Robert Parrish asked the judge to sentence Met to the maximum penalty, noting that it was a heinous crime — Parrish counted 21 "clear" blows to Hser's body — and that Met has not accepted any responsibility.
"There's really nothing here to rehabilitate," he said.
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