Anderson sentenced to life in prison

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On Friday, March 2, Zachary Anderson of Coon Rapids appeared in Cass County District Court and plead guilty to first-degree murder and first degree criminal sexual conduct in the death of Alayna Ertl, 5, in August of 2016.

    Anderson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Because Anderson plead guilty with a life sentence, a jury trial on the remaining counts was deemed unnecessary.

    Anderson spent the night at the Ertls’ home in Watkins on August 19, 2016 after playing softball with  Ertls’ father. Her parents reported her missing the next morning as well as their vehicle.

    Anderson was apprehended at a cabin in Motley after a tip was received from Anderson’s father. He led authorities to Ertl’s body hidden by some brush in a swampy area. She was also sexually assaulted. 

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