Man accused of killing Vegas girl, 15, pleads not guilty
The man accused of killing her, Javier Righetti, 19, pleaded not guilty Thursday to numerous charges, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. (He is also accused of sexually assaulting another teenage girl in March.)
Clark County Dist. Atty. David Roger has said he plans to seek the death penalty.
Alyssa’s slaying is considered among the most disturbing crimes here in recent memory, and not simply because of her age and her horrific final minutes. It has raised tough questions about whether the justice system mishandled a potentially dangerous teenager.
The Review-Journal reported that when Righetti was 17, he cornered a fellow high school student in a bathroom stall. The assault was brief --another student heard the girl’s screams and flagged down help. Righetti was eventually sentenced to one year in a juvenile facility for kidnapping and other offenses.
Righetti was never charged with a sex crime, however, and therefore not labeled as a sex offender. That might have changed how the juvenile justice system treated him, the Review-Journal said.
After Alyssa’s death, experts and law enforcement sources told the paper that Righetti’s alleged actions mirrored those of a budding serial killer.
A member of her high school band, Alyssa was walking home from school one night when Righetti allegedly approached her, the Review-Journal said. There’s no evidence that they’d met before.
After Alyssa was killed, prosecutors said Righetti called his friend Daniel Ortiz for a ride to a store, where Righetti bought gasoline and matches. Ortiz then dropped off Righetti at the vacant lot.
Later, when Ortiz’s girlfriend heard about Alyssa’s disappearance, she called police and said she suspected Righetti.
Prosecutors said Righetti confessed to Alyssa’s slaying, adding that he’d carved the initials “LV” into her thigh because “it made him seem more like a gangster or a thug,” the Associated Press reported.
He also allegedly told authorities that he'd been committing rapes since he was 12.
--Ashley Powers in Las Vegas
Photo: Hundreds of people gather at a candlelight vigil for Alyssa Otremba, 15, at Arbor View High School in Las Vegas. Credit: John Locher / Las Vegas Review-Journal