Man Who Raped And Murdered Girl In Tacoma Park Sentenced To Prison

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) – A man who killed a 12-year-old girl in a Tacoma park in 1986 is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.

The News Tribune reports 70-year-old Gary Hartman was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in the death of Michella Welch during a bench trial that lasted less than two hours.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stanley Rumbaugh sentenced Hartman to more than 26 years in prison. Hartman cried and apologized in court.

Welch was killed March 26, 1986, after taking her two younger sisters to play in Puget Park.

That night, a search dog found Welch’s body in the nearby gulch.

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