Jeremy Strohmeyer was a high school senior when he murdered 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson inside a restroom stall at a casino in Primm, Nevada, near the California border.
Strohmeyer was 18 years old, and he attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach. But in the early hours of May 25, 1997, he was at the Primadonna Resort and Casino with his friend, David Cash.
It was also where he met Sherrice, who was a second-grader at 75th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, California.
She and her family drove from their home to the state of Nevada to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. But when they arrived at the casino, there weren’t any rooms available.
Her father, LeRoy Iverson, used that opportunity to have a few drinks and gamble while Sherrice and her older brother, Harold, played in the arcade.
After a few hours of playing, Sherrice wandered off alone—twice. A security guard found her and returned her to her father, who was then asked to leave the casino.
Leroy disregarded the security guard’s request and continued gambling.
Sherrice returned to the arcade, where she fell asleep, according to AP News. About 45 minutes later, she was gone.
Leroy and the casino’s security team began searching for her, but it wasn’t until 5:30 a.m. that she was found dead.
An employee discovered her body in a restroom stall. Her clothing had been removed, except for a shirt, and placed inside the toilet.
The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide after the autopsy showed she died from asphyxiation due to strangulation.
When investigators reviewed surveillance footage from the Primadonna Resort and Casino, they saw Sherrice playing hide-and-seek with Strohmeyer.
At around 3:48 a.m., Sherrice ran into the women’s restroom, and Strohmeyer followed behind her. His friend also followed, but he walked out a few minutes later.
For the next 25 minutes, several women were seen entering and leaving the restroom, but no one reported seeing or hearing anything unusual during that time.
And finally, Strohmeyer was seen leaving the restroom.
On May 28, 1997, Strohmeyer was arrested at his California home and booked into the Los Angeles County Jail, where he was held without bail.
He was ultimately extradited to Nevada, where he was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and sexual assault of a minor.
In a recorded interview with the Las Vegas police, Strohmeyer confessed to sexually assaulting and murdering Sherrice.
He told detectives that after they entered the women’s restroom, he forced Sherrice into a handicapped stall, muffled her screams with one hand, and stripped her of her clothing with the other.
During that time, his friend noticed what he was doing when he looked over the stall. And instead of putting a stop to it, Cash walked out of the restroom, according to the Review-Journal.
When he left, Strohmeyer said he began sexually assaulting Sherrice, and she screamed. To silence her, he said he “squeezed her neck until she stopped screaming.”
He continued his sexual misdeeds but was interrupted by two women who walked into the restroom. But by that time, Sherrice was unconscious.
He then placed her body on the toilet, sat in front of her, and leaned back—making it appear as if there was only one person in the stall, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
When he heard her gurgle and gasp, he put his hand over her mouth.
Strohmeyer told detectives that he decided to kill her because he wanted to experience death.
So he broke her neck by placing one hand on her head and the other on her shoulder before twisting it until he heard a loud pop, just as he had seen on television.
Sherrice was still moving and barely breathing, so he twisted her neck again. Afterward, he grabbed a napkin and wiped the blood and saliva from her face.
He then left her body in the restroom stall and joined his friend in the arcade.
Strohmeyer apologized at his sentencing, according to UPI, and he asked the victim’s family for forgiveness.
“I have done a monstrous thing, and I’m prepared, indeed willing, to be punished for it for the rest of my life,” he said.
“If I were given the opportunity to exchange my life for Sherrice’s and bring her back, I would not hesitate, not even for a second.”
He said he blacked out during the crime and only remembered a portion of it.
“Can you imagine what it would be like to open your eyes, not knowing where you were or how you got there? To find yourself looking down on a half-naked, dying little girl?” Strohmeyer said.
“You killed an innocent child who wasn’t doing anything to you,” Sherrice’s mother, Yolanda Manuel, responded. “I don’t know what possessed you. You are a demon, a devil. I can’t forgive you. I want you to suffer.”
To avoid the death penalty, Strohmeyer pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting and murdering Sherrice. He was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.
Cash was not changed in the case, as not stopping a crime was not illegal at the time. The Daily Bruin reported that in an interview with KLSX hosts Tim Conway, Jr. and Doug Steckler, Cash claimed that he didn’t do anything wrong.
He said, “I have a lot of remorse toward the Iverson family. It was a very tragic event.”
“The simple fact remains I don’t know this little girl. I don’t know people in Panama or Africa who are killed every day, so I can’t feel remorse for them. The only person I know is Jeremy Strohmeyer.”
“I’m not going to get upset over someone else’s life,” he said, “or lose sleep over somebody else’s problems. I just worry about myself first.”
Sherrice’s murder inspired the Sherrice Iverson Good Samaritan Law, which “makes it a crime to witness the sexual assault of a minor without notifying police,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The bill was signed into law after authorities learned that Cash “witnessed the beginning of the assault,” but he did anything to stop it nor did he report it to the police.
Rep. Nick Lampson said, “In a perfect world, reporting crimes against children would be common sense.”
“This case highlights the fact that this is not a perfect world and Congress needs to pass legislation to make sure witnesses ‘do the right thing.’”
In 2000, Strohmeyer appealed his conviction. He claimed his attorneys pressured him to plead guilty to the charges, but in 2006, a federal judge denied his request for a new trial and upheld his murder conviction.