The man accused of killing a nine-month-old girl and stuffing her body into a dumpster has been sentenced to 32 years in prison, plus three more for a violation in an unrelated case.
Kevin Buehler, 23, was the cousin of the victim, Iyana Perez. She was killed a year ago this week. During a sentencing hearing today, the judge planned to reject the original plea agreement, but after an amendment was agreed upon by both prosecution and defense to remove a sentencing cap, the judge accepted the deal. He sentenced Buehler to 32 years (in addition to a 3-year sentence in a separate case). The judge didn't think the 30-year sentence was tough enough on Buehler, who decided to plea guilty in the case.
When police found the body of 9-month-old Iyana Perez in a dumpster near the home Buehler was staying at in July 2009, investigators say he told them he put it there. Throughout the investigation, Buehler has claimed Iyana Perez choked to death on shampoo and cologne, but an autopsy revealed the child died from bleeding in her brain as a result of a head injury.
Iyana's parents, Ted Perez and Selena Olsen were allowed to be present for Wednesday's sentencing. Both of them are in jail on other matters.
Before the hearing, KKTV talked to Buehler's mother, Lisa DeHerrera. She says, she believes her son. "I know he did what he did," says DeHerrera about Buehler's actions in getting rid of the baby's body. "But I know my son, and I know how he is with his daughter and my other grandchildren. He didn't kill her. He didn't kill that baby," says DeHerrera.
After the hearing Iyana's grandmother, Snowie Buehler, made a statement. "She was an innocent little baby. She didn't deserve to die, and I just think he should have got life [in prison]," says Buehler.
Originally, Buehler was charged with 1st degree murder, which carries a life sentence. He was also charged with two counts of child abuse, both of which carry maximum sentences of up to 42 years behind bars. Buehler pled guilty to the fourth count, negligence.
Normally, this charge would carry a maximum sentence of 16 years, but aggravating factors allow the court to double the penalty to 32 years. Because Buehler was on probation on felony menacing charge when Iyana died, the aggravator kicked in.
Buehler will now serve the 3 year sentence tied to the menacing case, then will begin serving the 32 years the judge imposed.
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