LAS VEGAS, Nev., Oct. 14 -- The 20-year-old Southern California man who raped and strangled a 7-year-old girl in the restroom of a Nevada casino has been sentenced to life in prison after giving an impassioned apology. Jeremy Strohmeyer told a Las Vegas courtroom today he's 'haunted daily by the fact that I am to blame for the death of Sherrice Iverson,' and wouldn't hesitate to exchange his life for the little girl's if he could bring her back. In a lengthy speech, Strohmeyer repeatedly berated his former best friend, David Cash, for witnessing part of the attack and failing to stop it or inform police. Strohmeyer said, 'I was stricken with guilt and sick with remorse because I knew that this little girl was dead because of me...My best friend at the time, David Cash, was repeatedly showering me and himself with accolades for what we had supposedly gotten away with...He may be proud of what he did that morning, but he makes me sick.' Prosecutors said they didn't have enough evidence to charge Cash, who was seen on a videotape going into the bathroom after Strohmeyer and the little girl went in, then emerging a few minutes later. Strohmeyer said he accepts responsibility for the tragedy. But he blamed drugs, alcohol, incompetent doctors, the Internet, the casino, an emotionally abusive girlfriend and lack of knowledge about his biological parents' mental problems and chemical addictions for turning him from an honor student with hopes of becoming an Air Force pilot into the killer of a helpless little girl.
Strohmeyer was arrested after he and Cash were identified from a security videotape at Primadonna Resort and Casino on the California- Nevada border in May 1997. He was a 17-year-old Long Beach high school senior at the time and just turned 20 on Sunday. The little girl, who was from Los Angeles, had been left in the casino arcade with her teenage brother while her father gambled. Her parents, Yolanda Manuel and Leroy Iverson, told the judge they wished Strohmeyer was facing a harsher penalty than life in prison, and Iverson should pay the family for their loss. ---
Copyright 1998 by United Press International. All rights reserved.