NAPA (CBS SF) — A Napa couple was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole for the 2014 torture murder of the woman’s three-year-old daughter, prosecutors announced.
After a morning filled with emotional statements from family members, Judge Francisca P. Tisher sentenced 27-year-old Sara Lynn Krueger and 29-year-old Ryan Scott Warner to the maximum prison term for the death of Krueger’s young daughter — Kayleigh Slusher.
The pair had been found guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of a death involving torture and also an assault on a child causing death charge.
In a Facebook post, the Napa County District Attorney’s Office said, “We’ve waited a long time for this day to come.”
During the trial, evidence was entered that showed the young girl suffered multiple blunt impact injuries to the head, torso and extremities.
Krueger had her attorney, Jim McEntee, read a statement and Warner personally made a statement to the court. Both defendants proclaimed their innocence and took no responsibility for Kayleigh’s death.
“Kayleigh’s death is an absolutely tragedy,” Warner told the court according to the Napa Register. “I myself am completely brokenhearted over it … I did not cause any harm to this child.”
He told Kayleigh’s father Jason Slusher, her grandfather John Krueger and her grandmother Robin Slusher that he hoped they would “find some type of closure.”
Jason Slusher was incarcerated when his daughter was killed and also addressed the the court Thursday.
“It is very difficult for me to discuss Kayleigh’s death,” he said according to the paper. “I feel like Kayleigh was the only right things that happened in my life.”
In a prepared statement, Napa County Deputy District Attorney Lance Hafensteins said: “We are very gratified by the sentences given to both defendants today.”
“This has been a long ordeal to pursue justice for the murder of Kayleigh, and that ordeal is thankfully over. Kayleigh was a bright, happy little girl, and her death affected many family members and friends. Hopefully, this verdict brings some solace and closure to those who knew and loved her.”
Slusher’s body was placed in a freezer then left in a suitcase on a bed in an apartment at the Royal Gardens Apartments on Wilkins Avenue in Napa. Police went to the apartment after a request for a welfare check on Feb. 1, 2014 and found Slusher’s body, which had with 41 visible injuries and multiple internal injuries.
Krueger and Warner were seen leaving the apartment with luggage. A citizen reported seeing them at a restaurant in El Cerrito, and BART police officers contacted them at the El Cerrito del Norte station, Napa police said. Napa police responded and arrested Krueger and Warner after interviewing them.
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