VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - The man accused of killing a 5-year-old girl in Vancouver was back in court on Thursday where he is facing an additional murder charge to his case.
Ryan Burge is now being charged with both first and second-degree murder in the death of Hartley Anderson.
Prosecutors told FOX 12 they decided to file the additional first-degree murder charge after reviewing the evidence in this case.
They can’t tell us what that evidence is, but they do believe Burge acted with premeditated intent.
Court records show that prosecutors are seeking a tougher sentence than normal guidelines allow because they say Hartley was “particularly vulnerable or incapable of resistance” due to her age.
Investigators say the little girl was killed by her mother’s boyfriend last Friday, who was babysitting while her mother was at work.
According to court records, Ryan Burge told police he did not hurt the girl and that she hurt herself, banging her head against the wall during a tantrum.
Investigators say they found “impacts to the drywall” in the apartment where she was found unconscious.
But doctors who evaluated her say her injuries could not have been self-inflicted.
They say she had severe head trauma saying she even had a stroke and didn’t survive.
We’ve learned Burge has a criminal record dating back to 1999.
Thursday, her grandfather told us he supports the DA’s decision to charge Burge with first-degree murder.
“She will be missed by all of us, but justice will happen. We’re going to win this. We’re going to win this.” Hartley’s grandfather Tim Luchau said. “When he’s found guilty it will mean more time. It better be life. That’s what I want, I want life."
There will be a vigil tomorrow night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Leroy Haagen Memorial Park in Vancouver.
Hartley’s funeral will be Sunday starting at 3 p.m. at the Cowlitz County event center in Longview.
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