SALT LAKE CITY - A Burmese refugee convicted of killing a 7-year-old girl has been sentenced to life without possibility of parole.
Esar Met, 27, maintained his innocence Wednesday at the sentencing hearing.
"I'm telling the truth that I didn't kill the girl," Met told Judge Judith Atherton, referring to neighbour girl Hser Ner Moo. "That's all I have to say."
A jury earlier this year found him guilty of child kidnapping and aggravated murder.
DNA evidence showed Met kidnapped, raped and killed Hser Ner Moo in 2008, authorities said. He left her tiny body inside the apartment he shared with four other Burmese men, they said.
Met had been in the U.S. just a month.
His attorney, Michael Peterson, has said the death was the result of innocent play with the girl in his basement.
Met contends he was visiting his aunt and uncle's home at the time Hser Ner Moo was killed.
"This girl is a girl I used to play with," he said. That girl loved me and I loved her."
Met, 27, faced two possible outcomes: life without the possibility of parole, or 20 years to life in prison.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com
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