Little Elyse Marie Pahler, 15, was "sacrificed to Satan" by three San Luis Obispo teen-agers. The three boys Roger Casey, 17, Jacob Delashmutt, 16, and Joseph Fiorella, 15, took Elyse to a secluded eucalyptus grove about a quarter-mile from her home, fed her drugs, raped her, tied a belt around her neck "to make it easier to stab her", and offered her up as the "ultimate sin against God".
Elyse knew her killers from the school bus. Delashmutt, Fiorella and Elyse attended Arroyo Grande High School in San Luis Obispo, 195 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Delashmutt was expelled from the school in September of 1995; Fiorella left in February 1996 to be home-schooled. Casey attended a nearby school. The three stabbed the girl to death at at an alleged "Satanic altar". The boys "selected and stalked" Elyse believing that a virgin sacrifice would earn them a "ticket to Hell".
Elyse disappeared July 22, 1995 and had been reported missing until Casey came forward and led authorities to her body on March 14, 1996. The girl left her house voluntarily the night she died, although it wasn't clear where she was headed or at what point she encountered her killers. If the teenagers are tried as adults and the jury finds special circumstances, they face up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. If tried as juveniles, they face up to about 7 years in juvenile detention.