BRIGHTON – A judge sentenced a 16-year-old boy to a life sentence in prison with the possibility for parole in connection to the murder of 10-year-old Kiaya Campbell.
Aidan Zellmer, 16, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder after deliberation on Feb. 1. He was charged as an adult for the crime, which happened when he was 15 years old.
Campbell, 10, was found a day after an Amber Alert was issued for her disappearance on June 7, 2017. She had been walking with Zellmer before she was reported missing. Prosecutors said she was beaten to death with a metal pipe.
“In 27 years as a prosecutor, I have never seen a 15-year-old commit such a violent act,” Adams County District Attorney Dave Young said in a news release.
Zellmer had told police that they became separated during a storm that evening and that he didn’t know where she was. Authorities said Zellmer directed police to areas of Thornton away from the area where Campbell’s body was found.
“When he talked to police, he was calm, cool and collected. He misled and deceived police who were looking for her,” Young said. “This is a rare case. Thank God we don’t have other 15-year-olds doing what he did.”
Zellmer will be eligible for parole after a 40-year prison sentence.