Yesterday we reported that jury selection had begun in the trial of a Burmese refugee accused of raping and murdering a 7-year-old fellow refugee in 2008.
From KSL.com (Utah):
SALT LAKE CITY — Paramedic Andrew Maurer well remembers being led into a South Salt Lake basement where the body of 7-year-old missing girl had just been found.
“It was spooky that night,” he testified Tuesday, noting the dark basement and all the flashes going off from police investigators taking pictures. “It just looked like a horror scene to me.”
Maurer was one of 10 people who testified on the first day of the murder trial of Esar Met, which began nearly six years after the body of young Hser Ner Moo was found in Met’s basement bathroom.
Met, 26, is charged with aggravated murder and child kidnapping, first-degree felonies, in the March 31, 2008, death of the Burmese refugee girl. Her disappearance sparked a wide search effort, leading to the discovery of her body the next day.
Maurer and former South Salt Lake Fire Capt. Paul Rasmussen were called by police to the basement of Met’s apartment to confirm what detectives already suspected, that the little girl was dead.
“I observed a body that was in the bottom of a shower area. I was taken back by what I saw,” Rasmussen testified. “She had a lot of blood all over her.”
Hser’s hair was matted with blood. Rasmussen bent down to touch her skin and try to move her leg, and found she was “very, very cold.” Rigor mortis had already set in.
“I saw the girl in the bottom of the shower stall, curled up, face down, her head was away from us,” Maurer testified. “I could see that (her left arm) was bent back, broken.”
The testimony of the paramedics describing the gruesome crime scene was accompanied by graphic photos that were shown to the jury.
One of the things the defense is arguing is that Esar Met and the girl were friends and thus her DNA might have already been on his clothes (yeh, right!). However, when you watch the news clip associated with this story, note that Met had only arrived at the apartment complex a month before, so one wonders how close a “friendship” this could have been.
I would love to know which resettlement contractor placed him, a Muslim, in a building housing Christian Karen people. Do you think the contractor learned any lessons?
The murder happened in 2008, but the trial was delayed (and the death penalty removed) due to an “extreme language barrier”:
Though the girl was killed in March 2008, the case has stalled due to language barriers and the Burmese man’s struggles to understand the court process. Translators are being rotated during the court hearings, constantly interpreting to Met what others are saying. Several times during Tuesday’s hearing, attorneys were asked to slow down while questioning witnesses so the translator could relate everything to Met. Met wore a set of headphones as the interpreters spoke softly into a microphone so he could hear.
Because of the extreme language barrier the case has presented, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill decided not to seek the death penalty in the case.
We will keep you posted as the trial progresses. Don’t hold your breath for any reference to the alleged murderer’s religion (is he a Rohingya Muslim?).
See this line in the Salt Lake Tribune report:
But defense attorneys painted a picture of Met’s relationship with his four roommates as cold — stemming from their being from different ethnic groups.
They just can’t say the ‘M’ word!