The youngest woman in Utah history to be tried as an adult for murder began serving a 5-years-to-life prison sentence Friday.

Venus Ann Sherard, 18, was found guilty Feb. 10 of second-degree murder in the March 7, 1987, stabbing of Ruby Kelly.After reading her a poem, 3rd District Judge David Young gave Sherard the maximum sentence, denying defense requests to have the charge reduced to manslaughter.

Sherard maintained during the trial that the killing was in self-defense. Kelly was stabbed nine times during a fight at a party at 1018 W. Seventh South.

Prior to sentencing, Sherard apologized to Kelly's family. "I'm sorry it happened, but I can't bring her back."

At age 16, Sherard, because of her extensive criminal record as a juvenile, was certified by the juvenile court to stand trial as an adult.

Shortly after being bound over for trial in district court in January 1988, Sherard escaped from a foster home. She was arrested last August in Tacoma, Wash.