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Family photo
Hser Ner Moo

SALT LAKE CITY — A new trial date has been set for a Burmese man charged with the brutal killing and sexual assault of a 7-year-old neighbor girl in 2008.

Esar Met, 26, was ordered to stand trial on charges of aggravated murder and child kidnapping, first-degree felonies, in the death of Hser Ner Moo after a hearing on the evidence last year. A trial was set to begin July 15, but was cancelled and rescheduled for three weeks starting Jan. 6, 2014.

Hser apparently walked away from her South Salt Lake apartment on March 31, 2008. Her body was found the next day in the bathroom of Met's nearby basement apartment. Authorities believe the child was raped, strangled and beaten to death the afternoon that she disappeared.

The girl was looking for someone to play with on the morning she disappeared, according to court testimony. The friend she sought out, Nane We, said that she was sleeping when Hser came by. She said she and Hser would sometimes play an elephant game with Met and would ride on his back.

Other witnesses, though, said they had never seen Met play with Hser. The man's roommates said they knew the girl and her family, but were not aware she had been in their apartment around the time of her death until her body was found.

Though the girl was killed in March 2008, the case has stalled due to language barriers and the Burmese man's struggles to understand the court process. This is part of the reason that though they had the option, prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty in the case.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam