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TUCSON, Ariz. -- An Ajo man could be facing the death penalty after being convicted in the 2009 rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl.

Pima County prosecutors say a jury Thursday found Kyle Alegria guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor under the age of 15.

Alegria was accused of killing Rhia Almeida, a friend of his younger brother who had come to the house to visit.

Authorities say the girl was brutally beaten and stabbed before Alegria disposed of her body in the wash next to the home he lived in with his parents in Ajo.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that jurors on Friday will start to determine mitigating factors of the murder conviction. After that, the sentencing phase of the trial begins.

Associated Press,

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