Aidan Zellmer

This combo photo shows Aidan Zellmer, left, and Kiaya Campbell. Zellmer was sentenced to life in prison in the June 2017 beating death of Campbell in Adams County, Colorado.

BRIGHTON, Colo. (KCNC) - A Colorado teen who pleaded guilty to killing a 10-year-old girl has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.   

Aidan Zellmer, 16, was sentenced Monday in the June 2017 beating death of Kiaya Campbell.

Zellmer was 15 at the time and was charged as an adult. 

Police said Zellmer and Campbell were walking together to go shopping in Adams County when she disappeared.  His mother was in a relationship with Campbell’s father at the time.

Zellmer had claimed the two had been separated in a rainstorm and a search was launched for her. Campbell’s body was found the next day in a ditch. The Adams County Coroner’s Office found she had been beaten to death.

“He wanted to do this… His actions certainly dictate that he intended to kill her and it took quite an effort to do it. And then to conceal it ... Certainly, indicates that his brain was developed and he knew what he was doing,” said Adams County District Attorney Dave Young.

As part of his plea agreement deal, he’ll be in a youth detention facility until he’s 18 and continue a prison term after that. His family is hopeful he’ll get into a juvenile offender program for minors tried as adults with lengthy sentences. That could bring his eligibility for parole down from 40 years to 30 years.

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