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Convicted murderer given the maximum sentence

The man arrested, charged and convicted of the first degree murder of a child will spend the rest of his life in prison.

On Monday, March 8, Nye County Fifth District Court Judge Robert Lane sentenced Cole Engelson to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the July 15, 2017 murder of three-year-old Yessenia Camp.

Last year, it took a jury roughly two hours to find Engelson guilty of first-degree murder after an eight-day trial.

On Tuesday, March 9, Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia issued a news release on the sentencing hearing.

“I have grown to admire Yessenia’s family for their courage and grace, so I am thankful that this case ended in a way that paid respect to Yessenia and gave her people a chance to address the court and get a little more closure,” Arabia said. “We can all take some comfort from the knowledge that Engelson can never do anything like this again.”

A team effort

Arabia also lauded the work of first responders and Chief Deputy District Attorney Kirk Vitto, who tried the case along with the rest of the prosecutorial team in the DA’s office.

“The fire rescue people, the detectives and deputies, and the medical professionals who all did so much to help us get justice for Yessenia,” he said. “They were great and I am grateful.”

While speaking to the Pahrump Valley Times last November, following Engelson’s guilty verdict, Arabia described the nature of the physical trauma the child experienced.

Disturbing details

It should be noted that Engelson weighed roughly 350 pounds when he began attacking the child, who sustained numerous injuries, including a skull fracture, hemorrhages in both eyes, lung damage, along with dozens of bruises and other injuries all over her body.

“The injuries this child suffered were so horrible, because she had severe eye hemorrhaging,” he said. “It’s possible to get an injury like that in a car accident, or if you fell out of a six-story window. It was savage, and she had a fracture in the occipital bone, which is the hardest bone in the skull. She also had abrasions, contusions, and bruises everywhere. The medical examiner had to list the injuries by region, because they were so extensive.”

During testimony, Arabia also reminded the jury about Yessenia’s joy at squirting water out of her little rubber ducky at her brother during bath time the night before she died.

“At that moment, her life expectancy was about 80 years, but it turned out that it was only about 18 hours,” Arabia said. “This was a 350-pound man at the time and the little girl weighed only 37 pounds. The jurors deserve a lot of credit, because they had to look at and listen to some horrible things, but they stepped up and served this community.”

The family speaks

During the sentencing hearing, Camp’s family members asked the court to impose a life-without-parole sentence.

“Such a sentence would be proper because little Yessenia would never have the chance to “come back” in 20 years, so Engelson should not have that chance either,” the family told the courtroom.

Additionally the “shocking brutality” of the crime and Engelson’s apparent lack of remorse were also discussed during the hearing, where Judge Lane kindly spoke to Camp’s family and did not hesitate before imposing the life without parole sentence, according to the release.

As a result, Engelson will have no parole date.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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