A 17-year-old boy has been held on a $1 million bail by a judge at the Kitsap County Superior Court in Washington state on Monday for the rape and murder of a 6-year-old girl. Gabriel Z. Gaeta, a wrestler on the Olympic High School team, was arrested Saturday, and has been booked on murder and rape charges.
The teen suspect reportedly made his first appearance in court on Monday when prosecutors filed court documents stating they had enough evidence to hold Gaeta for first-degree murder, felony murder and first-degree rape. According to reports, the court has ordered the suspect’s face not be photographed until the charges are formally filed against him, while prosecutors said that Gaeta is expected to be tried as an adult.
Kitsap County prosecutor Kelly Montgomery said that "based on the heinous nature of the crime that is alleged,” Gaeta should be held on $1 million bail.
Jenise Wright was reportedly found dead last week after she went missing on Aug. 3 from her home in Bremerton, Washington, on the Kitsap Peninsula west of Seattle. The body of the girl was found on Thursday and court records released Monday revealed that the minor girl had suffered “blunt-force trauma to the head,” and was sexually assaulted and strangled.
According to The Seattle Times, the victim’s father, James Wright, said that the teen had visited their home “many, many times” and was a friend of their older children. "It's devastating, and it's going to be hard to forgive," he reportedly said.
According to the court documents, Gaeta “clearly nodded yes” when asked if he was the only one involved in the crime.
"Certainly, as you can see from the probable cause statement, his interactions suggested that he knew that responsibility was rightfully focused on him," Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said, according to The Associated Press, or AP.
Court officials reportedly said that Judge Kevin Hull accepted the request made by prosecutors for a mental-health evaluation of the teen. His next court hearing date has been set for Aug. 28.