Strong words from the victim of an unspeakable crime were uttered at the sentencing of 17-year-old Danny Peterson Thursday.
Peterson shot Deserae Turner in the head during a robbery last year leaving her unable to use her left arm, wheelchair-bound and in constant pain.
Turner showed up to Peterson's hearing in a wheelchair to give a statement before his sentencing. "I hate you," she told Peterson as he sat at the defense table weeping."
"I hate what you did to me. I hate that I trusted you. … Your life will be confined to a small room, and my life will also be confined," Turner said.
She went on to tell Peterson that she often can't remember words from a page when she reads, and how she hopes he will think of her when he has a headache and multiplies the pain by "a thousand" so that he remembers the pain he caused her.
Turner must permanently live with a bullet lodged in her brain and the discomfort it causes. First District Judge Kevin Allen sentenced Peterson afterward to 15 years to life in prison in the Utah State Prison.
Peterson pleaded guilty in October to aggravated attempted murder, a first-degree felony, and a second-degree felony robbery charge.
Judge Allen also sentenced Peterson to one to 15 years for the robbery count but ordered that latter to run concurrently with the other sentence.
The victim's family and prosecutors asked the judge for the maximum sentence allowed by the law calling his plot to kill the girl "cruel" and "evil".
Peterson admits that he and a 17-year-old friend named Jayzon Decker lured Deserae Turner to a canal to murder her. Peterson fired a shot at the girl's head before leaving her for dead.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/f42a6ed85b01b1e5ae51b38f4b888806f9b91c9091ac826e89876c02db1b3e3a.jpg" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Eli Lucero | The Herald Journal</span>
The bullet lodged in her brain and doctors determined it would cause more damage to try and remove it than to just leave it in there, but she will be faced with lasting effects of the bullet such as pain and the inability to use certain motor functions.
Turner's family says she will no longer be able to ride horses like she once loved to do and will never be able to pursue her goal of being a nurse.
"Why did you have to do this to my little girl?" her parents cried. "This shouldn’t have had to happen!" Peterson's parents spoke as well asking the judge for mercy.
"I pray the punishment will be just," Peterson's father said. His attorney Michael McGinnis asked the judge for leniency citing his client's young age and willingness to testify against his cohort.
"I don’t think Colter is a monster, your honor. I think Colter is a good kid who did something really horrible. We can’t throw Colter away; I think there’s still hope for Colter and his life," McGinnis said.
Peterson sobbed through the entire sentencing before eventually addressing the court himself. "I want to pay for what I’ve done," Peterson said. "And I will spend the rest of my life making up for this, with the hope that one day I will be forgiven."
Prosecutors say Peterson's plan was first to slit her throat with knives they brought, but Peterson fired a bullet into the back of Turner's head as his accomplice encouraged him.
The two teens stole cash and electronics from Turner's backpack before leaving her for dead in the ditch. She was reported missing by her parents when she never came home from school.
Preliminary hearing testimony revealed she was found later that night by two women who were searching for Turner near the canal.
She was hospitalized for nine weeks as a result of the shooting and suffers from partial blindness, paralysis, and weakness on her left side.
After the sentencing, the victim's father said, "We are glad there is a justice system in place. A justice system that ensures this individual is no longer a risk to our community safety."
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