A juvenile court judge has ruled that a 16-year-old Vernal boy will be tried as an adult in the kidnapping and slaying of 6-year-old Veronica Fitzen.
Though Roger Dale Strunk appears confused, he does know the difference between right and wrong, 8th District Juvenile Court Judge Merrill Herman-sen said Friday.The fact that Strunk was barely 16 at the time of the crime and has no prior criminal record "in no way overshadows the seriousness of the crime," Hermansen said.
State law allows a juvenile 15 or older to be tried as an adult on charges of capital murder and some other serious crimes.
Strunk faces adult charges of first-degree murder, child kidnapping and child sexual abuse in the Aug. 7 strangulation death of Fitzen, who disappeared from her back yard in Vernal the same day.
The child's remains were found Aug. 12, wrapped in a pillowcase, near a road 25 miles north of Vernal.
Strunk was being held without bail in the Uintah County Jail, where he was separated from other prisoners for his own protection.
A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Sept. 16 in 8th Circuit Court in Vernal.