- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CANTON, Ga. — A 20-year-old maintenance man faces life in prison for beating, raping and killing a 7-year-old north Georgia girl, who disappeared from a playground at her apartment complex and was found in a trash bin.

Ryan Brunn pleaded guilty Tuesday to several charges including murder in the Dec. 2 killing of Jorelys Rivera. He responded “Yes, sir,” when a judge asked if he was pleading guilty to the charges. The judge accepted his plea.

Brunn said he chose Rivera because he happened to find her roller skate and used it to lure her to a vacant apartment, where he beat, assaulted and killed her, he told the judge.

He said he sexually assaulted her in the apartment.

“I didn’t want her to go home and tell her mom or dad on me. So I cut her,” he told the Cherokee County judge.

The charges against Brunn also include aggravated assault, aggravated battery, cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated child molestation, false imprisonment, enticing a child for indecent purposes, sexual exploitation of children, making false statements and abandonment of a dead body.

Authorities found the child’s body three days after her mother reported her missing from the Canton apartment complex.

Brunn spoke softly and candidly to the judge as members of Rivera’s family sat in the front row sobbing.

Police say Brunn snatched the girl as she walked from the playground to her apartment to get sodas for her friends

According to the indictment, Brunn bound Rivera’s hands with plastic ties and taped a rag into her mouth before he beat her with a “hammer-like object,” cut her throat and stabbed her in the chest. Authorities say Brunn also molested the girl.

Brunn had pornographic material of a young female child in his possession, according to the indictment.

Brunn was being held without bond at the Cherokee County jail. His family has said he is innocent.

District Attorney Garry Moss has not said whether he plans to seek the death penalty.

Brunn has no known criminal past and he cleared background checks by the company that runs the apartment complex where he had been working about a month. Authorities say Brunn had keys to the apartment and the trash compactor bin where Rivera’s body was left.