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Casino Murderer Gets Life

Jeremy Strohmeyer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Wednesday for the murder and rape of a seven-year-old Los Angeles girl in a Nevada casino restroom last year.

CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes Reporting.

State District Court Judge Myron Leavitt sentenced Strohmeyer to three life prison terms without the possibility of parole -- one each for first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and sexual assault on a minor with substantial bodily harm. Those three terms would be served consecutively.

Strohmeyer was also given life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years for a fourth count of sexual assault on a minor.

Strohmeyer pleaded guilty September 8 to the four counts, just moments before opening statements were to begin in his trial. The 20-year-old's guilty plea helped him avoid a death sentence.

A former Long Beach, California, high school honor student, Strohmeyer admitted he kidnapped, molested, and killed Sherrice Iverson on May 27, 1997, in what was then the Prima Donna Casino in Primm.

Sherrice Iverson in an undated photo.
Before Strohmeyer was sentenced, Yolanda Manuel, Sherrice's mother, was allowed to make a statement about her daughter. She described an intelligent third grader who loved life and hoped to grow up to be a "policeman, a nurse or a dancer."

Beginning an emotional speech to the defendant, Manuel faced him, saying, "Jeremy Strohmeyer, you took my child away from me."

"If I had a wish, Mr. Strohmeyer, I would put you to death the same way you put my child to death," Manuel said.

Sherrice's 16-year-old brother and her father also came to the stand to make statements.

"Your mother could go see you and visit you. I can't go visit my child," Leroy Iverson said to Strohmeyer.

Recalling a sister who was a straight-A student and who had won citizenship awards, Harold Jordan said, "She was my little shadow. We had a bond."

Strohmeyer himself read a 22-page statement in which he apologized to Sherrice's family for the pain he had caused them.

"I am haunted daily by the fact that I am to blame for the death of Sherrice Iverson," he told the court.

"I am sorry for the part I took in the tragedy that early morning, the tragedy that resulted in little Sherrice's untimely death," he added.

While Strohmeyer said he "accepted full responsibility" for his actions, he went on to explain to the court how the slaying took place.

Yolanda Manuel

Strohmeyer said he was in a "drunken and drugged haze" on the night of the murder and described how he had blacked out, later waking up to find himself in a bathroom stall with the strangled girl. He went on to detail how his own mental health had deteriorated before the murder.

Strohmeyer also criticized David Cash Jr., his close friend at the time, saying, "He makes me sick. David was offering me praise for what had happened." Cash has been bitterly criticized by members of the victims' family for failing to take action to save the young girl when he happened on the assault.

Strohmeyer's attorney, Leslie Abramson, has said Strohmeyer feels "tremendous guilt" for the murder.

Abramson said he pleaded guilty to spare his life for the benefit of his parents.

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