UPDATE: Jury recommends death penalty for Javier Righetti

Righetti found guilty of Alyssa Otremba's murder

UPDATE ON 7 P.M.:  A jury has recommended the death penalty for Javier Righetti in the murder of Alyssa Otremba.

The official sentencing will be May 9.

UPDATE ON MARCH 21: The jury is now deciding on whether or not Javier Righetti should be put to death for killing 15-year-old Alyssa Otremba.

Righetti's mother spoke on Tuesday as did Righetti himself. His mother said she understands what her son did, but also described a life of abuse by her husband and his father. She was in tears talking about visiting her son in prison and asked to keep him alive so she could keep doing that.

Righetti apologized, asking Otremba's family for forgiveness, and asked for mercy for his family. He also told the jury that no matter what decision they made, he would respect it.

A verdict was reached Tuesday evening.

UPDATE MARCH 20: The defense had its chance in court Monday to sway the jury into sentencing Javier Righetti to life in prison instead of death.

Testimony in the penalty phase of his trial continued with Righetti's oldest sister, Alexia, taking the stand. 

"If he gets executed, I don't know how my mom will survive that," she said through tears. 

Prior to the family's testimony, the prosecution called one more witness -- a cousin who testified that she was raped by Righetti in 2011.

Testimony is expected to continue Tuesday.

UPDATE MARCH 17: Alyssa Otremba's mother and sister testified in front of jurors as the penalty phase of Javier Righetti's trail began Friday.

"You try to find a sense of normalcy, but it's never really there," said Alyssa's mom Jennifer Otremba. 

It has been 5 years since Alyssa was found brutally killed near the family's home, but it is a moment mother Jennifer recalled so vividly to jurors today.

"My entire body went numb, I couldn't move, I had no function," she said. 

Alyssa's younger sister Megan also took the stand talking about the last words she said to the person she called her best friend. 

"I told her that I loved her and she told me she loved me too," Megan said. 

The most emotional moment came when mother Jennifer talked about seeing her daughter for the last time. She told jurors Alyssa's body had been so badly mutilated that the family was only allowed to see her foot. 

"They had her body so tightly wrapped because nobody wanted us to remember her like that," she said. 

The prosecution is pushing for the death penalty. They spoke about Righetti's past and how he may have attacked other women, including two women who took the stand Friday. 

"He just strangled me until I lost consciousness, and when I woke up, my shorts were off, my shoes were off," said the first victim, who Righetti is accused of sexually assaulting in a city underground tunnel.

The other victim said she encountered Righetti in her high school bathroom back in 2009.

"He was saying shut up and I won't hurt you," the victim recalled. 

The defense is expected to bring Righetti's family to the stand on Monday in hopes they will sentence him to a life in prison instead of death. 

"Javier amongst other horrific things took a life, but our system does not require you to," the defense said to jurors. 

UPDATE MARCH 16: A jury found Javier Righetti guilty of first-degree murder Thursday.

Righetti confessed to killing 15-year-old Alyssa Otremba in September 2011.

The sentencing phase is set to begin Friday at 10 a.m.

ORIGINAL STORY

Witnesses began taking the stand in the trial of Javier Righetti on Friday.

Righetti confessed to killing 15-year-old Alyssa Otremba in September 2011. Righetti reportedly raped her and stabbed her more than 80 times. He also carved the initials "LV" into her body.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Righetti pled guilty to 10 counts related to the murder a year ago. However, one of the pleas was thrown out because it lacked an admission that the killing was premeditated, which prosecutors say should have been included.

The trial resumes Monday.

If Righetti is sent to Nevada's death row, he would be its youngest member. He was 19 when he killed Otremba.

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