It took a Pierce County jury less than 24 hours to decide Tyler Savage raped and murdered a developmentally disabled South Hill teenager in a vacant lot three years ago.
Jurors on Tuesday convicted Savage, 21, of aggravated first-degree murder in the death of Kimberly Daily.
Savage faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of the state's highest crime. Judge Linda Lee will formally sentence him Jan. 17. Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist chose not to pursue the death penalty for Savage.
He showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
The jury got the case Monday after a trial that included testimony from Savage, who took the stand in his own defense. He claimed he and Daily, 16, engaged in consensual sex and that the girl accidentally died after the clothing he'd tied around her neck as part of a sex game strangled her.
His defense team, Les Tolzin and Lisa Mulligan, had argued Savage was guilty only of second-degree manslaughter.
But the prosecution, led by Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, convinced the jury that Savage premeditated the girl's death, killing her to cover up the fact that he'd raped her.
"This was a rape. This was a murder. That's what we pointed out to the jury. That's what the jury found," Lindquist said after the verdict was delivered. "This was a horrible case for the community, and, of course, you can't bring someone back, but we were happy to get justice for the community and the victim in this case."
Tolzin offered his thanks to the jury for "the time they spent working on this case."
"This was a hard case to sit through," he said.
Jurors left the County-City Building in downtown Tacoma without talking to reporters.
Daily's father, Cecil Daily, exchanged hugs with friends, relatives and prosecutors after the verdict. He declined to talk to reporters.
Kimberly Daily, who went by Kimmie, died Aug. 17, 2010. Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, she had the cognitive ability of a fifth grader and disabled feet that left her with a limp.
Savage was the last person seen with her and for days denied knowing what happened to her. He eventually led detectives to her body and admitted he killed her.
It wasn't until trial that he contended she'd died accidentally, a fact prosecutors brought up repeatedly during trial.