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Teen held on $1 million bail in death of girl, 6


PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) -- The parents of a 6-year-old Washington girl found slain last week sat in a courtroom as a judge ordered a 17-year-old boy under investigation in the child's death and sexual assault held on $1 million bail.

Prosecutors in Kitsap County filed court documents Monday saying they had sufficient evidence to hold Gabriel Gaeta on first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances, felony murder and first-degree rape of a child. They are pursuing the case in Kitsap County Superior Court, where Gaeta is expected to be tried as an adult.

Kitsap County prosecutor Kelly Montgomery asked for $1 million "based on the heinous nature of the crime that is alleged."

She also asked for other conditions, including that he not be allowed to contact minors under age 18 or frequent areas where minors would go. Judge Kevin Hull agreed to both the bail and other restricting conditions. Hull also granted prosecutors' request for a mental-health evaluation for Gaeta.

Prosecutors said they want that competency evaluation before filing charges against the teen.

Court records released Monday showed Jenise Wright suffered blunt-force trauma to the head and was strangled and sexually assaulted. Authorities said they linked evidence found near the girl's body to the DNA of Gaeta, who was friends with her family.

A message left with Gaeta's lawyer Monday was not immediately returned.

Gaeta arrived in court with a black jacket over his head. He spoke softly as he answered the judge's question. His next court date was set for Aug. 28.

Jenise's parents sat in the courtroom's second row. James Wright, Jenise's father, told The Seattle Times the suspect was a close friend of the family and had visited their home many times.

"It's devastating, and it's going to be hard to forgive," he said.

Court documents lay out grisly details into the death of Jenise, who was last seen when she went to bed Aug. 2 at her family's home in a Bremerton mobile-home park. Officials have said there were no signs of forced entry at the residence and no indication Jenise was taken from her room.

The girl's body was discovered Thursday almost entirely submerged in a nearby muddy bog. It appeared to have been moved between a half-hour and three hours after she died.

Searchers found a small wood pallet over the body, and also located a nylon duffel bag on top of the pallet. They earlier discovered Jenise's underwear and shorts about 15 to 20 feet from where her body was found.

Authorities say forensic evidence analyzed by the Washington state crime lab linked the clothing to the teen's DNA. The sheriff's office collected DNA cheek swabs from Gaeta and dozens of other nearby residents during the investigation.

Detectives interviewed the teen Saturday, during which time he "clearly nodded yes" when they asked whether he was the only one involved, according to court documents.

"Certainly, as you can see from the probable cause statement, his interactions suggested that he knew that responsibility was rightfully focused on him," Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said.

Authorities then searched his home and found evidence, including a blood- and mud-covered shirt and a bloody towel in Gaeta's bedroom.

His residence is two homes away from the access to a wooded trail leading to where the body was found, according to the court document.

Katelynn Christenson and her friend Amanda Ungren, both 18, were among those who crowded the courtroom Monday.

The two said they went to the same junior high school as the suspect. They said they weren't close with him but saw no signs of violence.

"He was a nice kid," said Christenson, who said she called her mother in tears when she heard who the suspect was.

Ungren said she didn't know Jenise's family but lived in the same trailer park when she was a child.

"It hit close," she said. "I came to support her and only her."

Community Grieves For 6-Year-Old: 'No Child Deserves This Fate'

Related links:
Boy, 2, falls to death from NYC apartment window
Officials: 17-year-old boy arrested in death, sexual assault of 6-year-old Washington girl
Several hundred at vigil for slain girl, 6

Join the discussion

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buddwhyzr August 12 2014 at 3:01 PM

OK...evidence, DNA and otherwise, found in this pukes home. He raped and bashed in the skull of a little 6 yr old girl. There is no need of this sick "F" above ground.

Flag Reply +34 rate up
3 replies
Annika August 12 2014 at 4:15 PM

Bail? There should be no bail for people like him!

Flag Reply +29 rate up
2 replies
greycat.kramer Annika August 12 2014 at 9:59 PM

That is what I said......or make it 100,000 million.....don't think the folks can come up with that.....and make it CASH BAIL.
This puke and any puke attorney that would defend him.....both belong in hell.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
plybon72 Annika August 13 2014 at 2:36 AM

The COTUS provides that there shall be reasonable bail.

As much as I would like to see the kid punished for the crime,, this and many other bails are not meeting any definition of reasonable.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
WILD BILL August 12 2014 at 3:21 PM

He`s one sick bastard put him in jail for the rest of his worthless life. He`s already said he did it why waste all this money on this piece of ****.

Flag Reply +19 rate up
4 replies
AMedicGary August 12 2014 at 3:45 PM

don't waste time and taxpayer's money convicting this pos ....... clint eastwood the sob - - - hang 'em high.

Flag Reply +19 rate up
1 reply
reginatorw AMedicGary August 12 2014 at 4:49 PM

Why, because you say so and you're above the law?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
Greenie reginatorw August 12 2014 at 5:18 PM

reginatorw, you need help, what would you say if it were your kid that was killed. Above the law my a$$.

Flag +5 rate up
greycat.kramer reginatorw August 12 2014 at 10:00 PM

You are an idiot..............and probably a maggot, as well.

Flag 0 rate up
jimj6635 August 12 2014 at 3:43 PM

Why can't parents just keep tabs on small children better... Stop going to sleep or shipping and leaving them in the home or in a hotel to go off and eat.. Just keep your kids safe... All over the world we hve scum just waiting to do crap like this and it is the parents that have to keep kids safe and by them all the time...Not letting them go off and play or go out side at a small age alone just because they have done it before does not make it safe

Flag Reply +17 rate up
6 replies
Carol August 12 2014 at 5:18 PM

Jenise's father said that "he's forgiven the killer". I don't get it. I guess maybe it's easier for one pedophile to understand and forgive another pedophile. I don't care what anyone says, a normal father doesn't get over their baby girl being brutally raped and murdered, in 48 hours.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
9 replies
milliebsp August 12 2014 at 4:20 PM

I can't think of ANY punishment that would be SEVERE enough!!

Flag Reply +14 rate up
6 replies
jimj6635 August 12 2014 at 3:46 PM

Most of the time when something like this happens it could have been stopped by the parents keeping tabs on the small children better. My small kids never get outside unless someone is with them and watching all the time. Even in the back year some one is looking over them to be safe and not letting them out the door to wonder around the area

Flag Reply +9 rate up
6 replies
Janice August 12 2014 at 4:28 PM

Bail he should be shot. PERIOD

Flag Reply +9 rate up
kimcrdr August 12 2014 at 3:40 PM

so very sad, instant death would be to easy for this vile bastard, hang him from his wavels for several days and then cut his head off!!!

Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
olympictorchrun4 kimcrdr August 12 2014 at 4:38 PM

A perfect praxis ground for the ISIS.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Tim kimcrdr August 13 2014 at 2:23 AM

jail time in a community cell with several men

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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