Apr 14, 2011 7:23 PM by David Ortiviz

Gruesome murder of 8-year-old girl shocks many

A father in Pueblo County will face a first degree murder charge in the shooting death of his 8-year-old daughter. Sheriff's deputies say John French Jr., 32, shot his daughter Desirea execution style and then attempted to kill himself.

"This is one of the most difficult cases you can attend to," said Sheriff Kirk Taylor, with the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office. "Why would someone in essence execute his daughter and try to kill himself. We don't know that psyche," he added.

The gruesome murder took place Sunday inside the family's mobile home at the Meadowbrook mobile home park in Pueblo County.

John French Jr. allegedly shot his daughter Desirea once in the head. "The fatal wound was a close contact wound," said Sheriff Taylor.

Deputies say then French shot himself in the head twice. He survived but when Desirea's grandfather showed up and called 911, it was too late for her. The little 8-year-old was lifeless, face down on the living room floor.

"It's something you never want to see as a human let alone a law enforcement officer to investigate," said Sheriff Taylor.

Counselors remain at Desirea's school, Avondale Elementary to help children cope with a loss many adults can't understand. "She's in a place now where there's no hurting and we try to use gentle approaches with the kids," said Greg Keasling, with the Pueblo County School District 70.

"Everyone of her friends, remembers her happiness and her laughter and her joking," said Keasling.

A little girl gone too soon and her father accused of her murder. At the hospital, French was overheard saying: "I can't believe I did that to my daughter."

French told deputies he had a drug problem in his past and also struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. French is still recovering at the hospital, but is expected to be transferred to the jail soon.

The sheriff says French had primary custody of his daughter. Desirea's mother lives in Kansas.



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