So Many Signs Missed With Budding Serial Killer


The girl did not know the tall boy with jet-black hair.

He might not have known her, either. Centennial High School is a big place.

But he wasn’t interested in a formal introduction.

As the 16-year-old girl disappeared into a school bathroom, the boy followed. And when she tried to exit her stall, he pounced.

She screamed as the boy’s hands clamped around her throat. He forced her back into the stall and jammed her against the toilet.

It’s unclear how long the assault in 2009 lasted. It ended after another student heard screams and followed the sound into the bathroom.

That student was the person who later identified the boy to Clark County School District police: Javier Righetti, then 17, and now charged with murder in the brutal rape and killing of 15-year-old Alyssa Otremba over Labor Day weekend.

Because Righetti was a minor, the juvenile court sealed the case. The Review-Journal learned about the Centennial incident through multiple sources with knowledge of the offense.

Experts now say the attack may have been the first documented incident in a pattern of behavior pointing to a budding serial killer.

Righetti, now 19, was expelled from Centennial, in the northwest valley, after the 2009 assault. He was charged with felony kidnapping, coercion and battery, according to sources. He was sentenced to one year at the Caliente Youth Center, a secure facility.

What troubled investigators — at the time of the Centennial assault and again after Otremba’s death — was that Righetti was not charged with a sex offense in the bathroom attack.

Because of that, he probably wasn’t treated as a potential sex offender while incarcerated, said Alexis Kennedy, a criminal justice professor at UNLV and an expert in youth sex offenses.

“If he wasn’t charged with anything sexually related, they probably wouldn’t have done a sex offender assessment,” Kennedy said. “It wouldn’t have been on their radar.”

Rehabilitation is the primary goal of juvenile justice, Kennedy said. But how do you fix a sex offender if you don’t know he’s a sex offender?

Katherine Ramsland, a criminal justice professor at DeSales University in Pennsylvania and an expert on serial killers, said courts are hesitant to label juveniles.

Although authorities may have suspected Righetti was a potential sex offender, labeling him as one in 2009 would have been premature without additional evidence.

“No matter what their opinions were, if you overreach and label a kid as a sex offender, that could be detrimental for life,” she said. “But this kid has shown, he was on his way.”

I understand not classifying the kid publicly but we, as a society, have to warn officials.  Since he did not get ‘help’ (although I wonder if there is help for serial killers even as teens) the local police and school system should have been told.

Actually I can not understand why he was not forced into some kind of therapy in the juvenile facility. That should be mandatory.

The similarities between the 2009 assault and Otremba’s killing were striking.

In both cases, Righetti was accused of approaching a girl whom he did not know in a busy area. In the first case, it was at school; in the second, a well-lit, heavily traveled street.

In both cases, the motivation was sexual, sources said. But in the Centennial incident, there was no physical proof of a sexual assault.

“He just didn’t have time to do anything to her. This guy was a sick puppy,” said one source, who requested anonymity.

Otremba was not as fortunate.

The Arbor View High School freshman was raped before being stabbed more than 40 times, Las Vegas police said. Her body was then doused with gasoline and set ablaze.

Righetti confessed to police, according to his arrest report. In the interview with detectives, Righetti also admitted to another rape and robbery. Detectives are investigating those claims as Righetti awaits his fate in the Clark County jail.

One law enforcement source called Righetti a “monster” who was already a serial rapist with a growing compulsion to kill.

Ramsland agreed, assessing that the suspect fits the profile of a budding serial killer.

“He’s got the anger issues, he uses weapons, he has brutalized people, he takes risk, and he’s starting young,” she said. “Those are all pretty big red flags.”

Why was not addressed while he was locked up? Why was he allowed to go free?

In both incidents, authorities said Righetti attacked girls despite a high probability of being caught.

That’s an impulse act, as opposed to a calculated plan, Ramsland said.

“The opportunity was there, and he had the compulsion to act,” she said. “The driving need usually comes from a rich fantasy life where he (a serial killer) does things like that. When he sees an opportunity to actually do it, he may act.

“Only after the feelings recede does he realize the risk he took,” she said.

Kennedy said it’s natural to cast blame toward authorities after a heinous event, but predicting behavior in teenagers is an imprecise science.

“Human behavior is so hard to predict,” she said. “This was the worst possible outcome of the worst possible scenario.”

Because juvenile records are sealed, the public doesn’t know exactly how Righetti’s case was handled.

Kennedy said the “choking” aspect of the Centennial incident should have concerned authorities. That’s a sign of escalating violent tendencies, she said.

Could Otremba’s death have been prevented? No one can know, Kennedy said. Even in the best-case scenario, with all the right treatment and therapy, Kennedy said sex offenders may relapse.

“Everyone in corrections at juvenile justice is saying, ‘I hope I haven’t had this person,’ ” Kennedy said.

“Every system that had contact with him is second-guessing themselves, looking at what they might have done differently.”

They should be second guessing themselves. This kid was a time bomb and no one seems to even have tried to diffuse him.

  1. I don’t understand why the courts want to protect teens who commit heinous crimes. If identified there is a good chance other victims may come forward. The majority should be protected from the minority!!!
    As for this guy, no rehabilitation in the world will make him safe to the public 😦

    • This case was so poorly handled. This kid should not have been released into an unknowing society without strict supervision.
      Even then he would have always remained a threat.
      I am sure that there were other signs, animal abuse and arson come to mind. We know he was committing robberies and sexual assaults. I can only imagine what we don’t know.

  2. It ended after another student heard screams and followed the sound into the bathroom..That student was the person who later identified the boy to Clark County School District police Javier Righetti then 17 and now charged with murder in the brutal rape and killing of 15-year-old Alyssa Otremba over Labor Day weekend..Because Righetti was a minor the juvenile court sealed the case. The Review-Journal learned about the Centennial incident through multiple sources with knowledge of the offense..Experts now say the attack may have been the first documented incident in a pattern of behavior pointing to a budding serial killer..Righetti now 19 was expelled from Centennial in the northwest valley after the 2009 assault.

    • 173HHKing
    • March 16th, 2017

    I went to high school with Javier at Arbor View from roughly 05 to whenever he transferred to Centennial. He was a bully, a real outcast. He would pick on kids he felt couldn’t defend themselves, until they did, and he would never mess with them again. I always remember him saying sick things, but as teenagers, we never really took it seriously. I just remember how uncomfortable he made me feel. I never saw him again after he transferred, but I knew people who still hung out with him. A vast majority of them were shocked when this happened, that he could do something like that, but some of them weren’t AS shocked. They knew about the incident at Centennial, and there were rumors he was hanging out in a drainage area in the NW where a girl was mugged and possibly sexually assaulted (that story wasn’t widely publicized in Las Vegas but growing up in the NW I knew the girls sister). I know some people can be helped through rehabilitation and therapy but I geniuenly believe this man was pure evil.

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