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Javier Righetti death penalty trial could start soon

Righetti confessed to killing Alyssa Otremba
Posted at 9:07 AM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-18 01:49:40-05

The man who pleaded guilty to killing 15-year-old Alyssa Otremba in September 2011 is going to trial.

The Nevada Supreme Court decided on Thursday to upheld a lower court's decision to reject the guilty plea made by Javier Righetti a year ago.

Righetti, who was 19 at the time of Alyssa's death, pleaded guilty to 10 counts, including murder with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping and sexual assault of a child.

A judge tossed the plea out a month later because Righetti did not specifically admit that the murder was premeditated, willful and deliberate.

RELATED: Death penalty trial delayed for man who killed 15-year-old girl

That admission would allow a jury to consider more factors when deciding on a sentence for Righetti.

Righetti and his lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court to reinstate his guilty plea in an effort to avoid the death penalty.

Justice Pickering wrote in the unanimous decision that "While a criminal defendant has a statutory right to tender a guilty plea, he does not have a right to plead guilty a la carte in order to avoid the state’s charging decisions.”

Otremba was killed during the first week of school at Arbor View High School. The freshman student had stayed home from school that day because she was not feeling well. Later in the day, she left her home to pick up a textbook from a classmate. She never came home.

Righetti confessed to raping Otremba and then stabbing her more than 80 times. He then attempted to burn her body in an effort to conceal her identity.

He is due back in court on Wednesday. The judge will hear arguments that time about Righetti's mental capacity and whether he should face the death penalty. If he is found fit, he could go to trial as early as next month.