Man Given Life Sentence For Killing Girl; Awaits Sentencing In Deaths Of Wife, 3 Kids

Monday, September 17th 2007, 9:53 pm
By: News On 6

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) _ A man was sentenced to life in prison Monday for the abduction and slaying of a 10-year-old neighbor whose body was left in a gravel pit.

Simon Rios pleaded guilty in April to abducting Alejandra Gutierrez in December 2005 as she waited near her school bus stop, driving her about 60 miles south of Fort Wayne to the gravel pit, then sexually assaulting and killing her.

He also has admitted that days later he killed his wife and three young daughters inside their Fort Wayne home. He pleaded guilty last month to four counts of murder and prosecutors agreed not to seek his execution.

``Simon Rios is the most contemptible offender I have ever encountered,'' prosecutor Mark McKinney said. ``He should be put to death for what he has done, but there is truly no punishment that is severe enough.''

Circuit Judge Marianne Vorhees accepted the plea agreement calling for Rios to be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for killing Alejandra and two 50-year sentences for rape and child molesting.

Rios offered no statement before the judge announced the sentence. Defense attorney Michelle Kraus said he has not given a reason for the killing spree.

Members of Alejandra's family did not attend the sentencing hearing, but her brother, Jose-Luis, wrote a letter to the judge, saying his sister's loss was too great to ever be made up by the legal system.

``No type of punishment will ever bring my sister back to us,'' he wrote.

Rios is awaiting sentencing for the deaths of his wife and three daughters.