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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- A 15-year-old boy who admitted raping and killing another teen will be the youngest inmate at Utah State Prison, his attorney said.
Carlos Hernandez was immediately sentenced to 20 years to life in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday.
He was 14 last January when Keely Hall, 15, was strangled at Dixie Downs Park in St. George. Washington County authorities prosecuted Hernandez as an adult.
"I am troubled, as is his mother, that he could engage in such a horrific act," 5th District Judge James Shumate said.
When asked if he understood the consequences of his guilty plea, Hernandez quietly said, "yeah."
Defense attorney Alan Boyack said Hernandez will be moved to the state prison in Draper as soon as possible.
"Myself, the county and prosecuting attorneys have had extensive communication with the Department of Corrections because he will be the only one of that age that will be there," Boyack said.
He said Hernandez "feels a great deal of remorse."
Prosecutor Ryan Shaum said Hernandez attacked Hall when she rebuffed his sexual advances.
"The sentence was deserved," he said. "It doesn't rectify the tragedy, but hopefully the (Hall) family will find some peace."
The victim's father said the day of his daughter's death was the worst of his life.
"I would ask Carlos 'why' if I thought it would do any good," Troy Hall said.
Hernandez' mother, Antonia, spoke in court through an interpreter. She said her son had never been violent.
"I only ask with all my heart that Keely's family forgive my son," she said.
Information from: The Spectrum
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