Montco DA to seek death in murder of girl, 9

James Troutman appears for an arraignment on July 20, 2011.

July 20, 2011 8:35:18 AM PDT
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said on Wednesday that she will seek the death penalty against the man accused in the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl.

That announcement came during the arraignment for 24-year-old James Troutman of Souderton. Ferman said this move was significant because her office only seeks the death penalty in "extreme" cases.

"We only pursue the death penalty in cases where the facts are of such an egregiousness and the history of the case is so serious that we think it is warranted," said Ferman.

Troutman pleaded not guilty to the charges against him during the hearing. His attorney, Craig Penglase, said Troutman's mental health would play a major role in the case when it goes to trial, scheduled for January.

"Mr. Troutman has engaged in various forms of mental health treatment throughout his lifetime and that will become public once the trial begins," said Penglase.

Troutman is accused of luring 9-year-old Skyler Kauffman, a neighbor, into the basement of his apartment back in May.

Prosecutors say that's where he raped and strangled the girl.

Police found her body in a trash bin at the apartment building.

Troutman is charged with 1st and 2nd degree murder, rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and false imprisonment.