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Jury supports longer sentence for child killer

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Doney (The Spokesman-Review)

A jury today re-affirmed a previous jury’s decision to sentence child killer Robert Doney to more time in prison than outlined in the standard sentencing guidelines.

The jury today unanimously found that Doney showed deliberate cruelty to someone who was vulnerable when he crushed the skull and killed a 2-year-old Spokane girl in 2003.

Doney, 35, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder just days into his 2005 trial. He admitted killing 2-year-old Victoria Ramon the day after Christmas 2003 inside an apartment at 1412 W. Dean Ave. Doney killed the girl as her mother banged on the locked door, pleading for her life.

Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque on Oct. 12, 2005, sentenced Doney to 35 years in prison, seven years more than the standard range for first-degree murder. Doney appealed, and the Washington Supreme Court ruled that a new jury should decide whether Doney exhibited deliberate cruelty to a particularly vulnerable victim, which would justify the longer prison term.

Now that the jury has decided, Leveque will sentence Doney at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 23. With the aggravating factor, Leveque has the discretion to sentence Doney to more than the maximum of 28 years under normal guidelines.

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