Maintenance man admits murdering 7-year-old

Updated:

Joseline Rivera listens to a man explain how he killed her daughter in a Cherokee County courtroom. Phil Skinner pskinner@ajc.com
CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga.,None —

A 20-year-old maintenance man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a 7-year-old girl at an apartment complex in Canton.

Ryan Brunn was charged in connection with the Dec. 2 killing of Jorelys Rivera at the apartment complex where she lived. He was charged with various offenses, including murder, false imprisonment, enticing a child for indecent purposes, sexual exploitation of children, making false statements and abandonment of a dead body.

Brunn, appearing in court Tuesday in an orange jumpsuit and shackles, described what he did to Rivera as the child's mother sobbed just a few feet away.

Channel 2's Ross Cavitt, seated in the courtroom between Brunn and Rivera, said Judge Frank Mills repeatedly pressed Brunn for the reasons why he killed the child

Prosecutors revealed that Brunn had been viewing child pornography on a friend's computer and had noticed the 7-year-old near the playground and lured her into an apartment under the pretense of trying to find one of her lost roller skates.


PHOTOS: Suspect walked out of complex | Vigil held for Jorelys


"I came to the conclusion that I was going to lure her in for sexual conduct with myself," he told Mills. Brunn explained how he made Rivera take her clothes off and then panicked when she wanted to go home. "I never had an idea of killing a child in my life ... I was just so terrified and scared. I didn't want her to tell her mom and dad on me and I just ... I cut her."

Brunn said he slashed the girl's throat with a knife and she had survived so he killed her by beating her in the head with her own roller skate. Brunn wrapped the girl's body, dumped it in a trash compactor, then helped search for the missing girl. Two days later, he taped a hand written note on the compactor. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation found the note and linked it to Brunn. Prosecutors also explained that they had DNA evidence from Brunn on shoes, gloves and duct tape that linked him to the murder.

 

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"I'd like to apologize for everything I've done and I do deserve everything that you are about to give me. Lo siento in Spanish. Sorry," Brunn said without looking at the Rivera family.

Brunn's plea allowed him to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced immediately by Mills to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Cherokee County District Attorney Gary Moss said the victim's family did sign off on the plea deal.

"The decision to resolve this case was reached after much prayer and with the united support and concurrence of Joreyls' mother," said Moss. "The graphic nature of it (the murder), the severity of the torture involved certainly affected each and every one of us personally, emotionally and professionally."

Brunn's attorney spoke quickly with Channel 2's Richard Elliot outside the courtroom.

"He's remorseful, but a child's life was lost and he's been sentenced and that's the bottom line ladies and gentlemen," David Cannon said.
"It's over."