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Killer sentenced

The week's news at a glance.

San Diego

A San Diego judge last week sentenced David Westerfield to death for the murder of his 7-year-old neighbor, Danielle van Dam. The girl was snatched from her bedroom on Feb. 2; her body was found four weeks later. Defense attorneys asked the judge not to “acquiesce to the mob mentality” by ordering Westerfield’s execution. Judge William Mudd said the crime’s brutality—Danielle’s body was found unclothed, her front teeth bashed out—sealed Westerfield’s fate. The girl’s mother, Brenda van Dam, urged Westerfield, 50, to “reclaim some decency” and apologize. “It disgusts me that your sick fantasies and pitiful needs made you think that you needed Danielle more than her family.” Westerfield declined the opportunity to speak.

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