Man sentenced in beating death of teen

EVERETT — A man who systematically beat a homeless teenager to death in 2006 was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison Monday.

Aaron Robert Bander, 22, of Sultan, was convicted by a jury in October of first-degree murder in the beating death of Terilynn Gardner, 18, who was described in court Monday as “a beautiful person” who had goals and dreams in life.

“No human being deserves to die in such an ugly, brutal way,” Gardner’s aunt, Wanda Billingsly, told sentencing Judge Richard Thorpe.

Gardner’s death was horrific, Thorpe said. The circumstances merit the high end of the sentencing range, he added.

The prosecutor said Gardner was suspected of stealing some clothes and jewelry from Bander’s girlfriend, Suzie Kay Le. Together Bander and Le lured Gardner to an Everett apartment where was kept for days, tied to a chair and beaten, the prosecutor alleged.

Le pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is scheduled to be sentenced later this week.

Gardner was a drug user who had been living on the streets, and who was known by her street name, “Precious.” Her body was wrapped in a shower curtain and a blanket, and dumped in the trunk of a stolen car. Her body wasn’t discovered for several days after her death.

Bander’s trial included a parade of forensic scientists who linked Bander’s DNA to the crime, including a cigarette found on the floorboard of the stolen car.

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