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Teens plead not guilty in killing of girl’s father

Updated June 25, 2021 - 8:26 pm

A teenage couple accused of fatally stabbing the 16-year-old Las Vegas girl’s father pleaded not guilty Friday to murder and other charges.

Sierra Halseth and her 18-year-old boyfriend, Aaron Guerrero, are accused of killing 45-year-old Daniel Halseth in early April before fleeing to Salt Lake City, where they were later apprehended.

The girl’s father suffered about 70 stab wounds and cuts during the fatal attack and subsequent “mutilation,” according to an autopsy report.

Along with murder, the teens face charges of conspiracy, arson, robbery and fraudulent use of a credit card. Prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty against Guerrero.

In entering their pleas, Sierra Halseth told District Judge Tierra Jones that she had completed 10th grade, while Guerrero said he had completed 11th grade.

The judge scheduled a trial for December.

Daniel Halseth’s body, “burned from head to toe,” was found April 9 in the garage of his northwest Las Vegas home, near Durango and Alta drives, according to court documents. His body had been stuffed in a sleeping bag before it was set on fire, resulting in burns to about 40 percent of his body, the autopsy report said.

The autopsy report also detailed numerous stab wounds and cuts that apparently were inflicted after his death, including a “saw type wound” found on his right wrist.

When searching Halseth’s home, police found Home Depot and ATM receipts. Surveillance footage from the store showed Guerrero buying saws and gloves that were later found in the home, and ATM surveillance footage shows Sierra Halseth using her father’s debit cards, prosecutors have said.

The day before Daniel Halseth’s body was found, Guerrero ran away from home and the teenagers purchased a circular saw, saw blades, bleach, lighter fluid, disposable gloves and drop cloths from stores near the victim’s home, according to court transcripts.

Sierra Halseth and Guerrero dated from June to December but were kept from seeing each other after their parents learned they had planned to run away to Los Angeles, according to court documents.

Investigators confiscated Sierra Halseth’s phone and found a video showing the couple giggling and discussing what officials have said is the slaying of her father.

“Welcome back to our YouTube channel, three days after murdering somebody,” Guerrero said on the video.

“Whoa!” Sierra Halseth said. “Don’t put that on camera.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.