Teen accused of rape, murder of 12-year-old judged competent to stand trial

Kailey Vijil (inset) was remembered at a vigil after her death in July of 2015. Photos: Courtesy photo, Gephardt Daily

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 17, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A teenage boy accused of raping and killing his 12-year-old neighbor in 2015 has been found competent to stand trial.

The boy, who turns 18 next week, was 15 when police say he lured a 12-year-old neighbor, Kailey Vijil, from her home by asking her to help him search for his cat.

Kailey’s body was found several hours later in a nearby horse pasture. She was naked except for a shirt wrapped around her neck. Her pajamas were found nearby, and she had fresh scratches and signs of sexual abuse.

The Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide by strangulation.

The boy was charged in juvenile court with aggravated murder and rape of a child, both first-degree felonies, but in December of last year was found incompetent to stand trial due to undisclosed mental disorders and intellectual disabilities.

On Friday, the boy appeared before Third District Juvenile Judge James Michie, who updated his previous decision, saying that the boy is now able to work with his lawyers, to understand the charges and possible consequences, and to participate in his own defense.

An attorney for Kailey’s family said her loved ones are anxious to move forward with the case, and they hope to see the suspect tried as an adult.

Kailey Vijil. Photo: GoFundMe

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