James Troutman pleads guilty to murder of 9-year-old Skyler Kauffman

The Montgomery County man charged with strangling and dumping a 9-year-old girl’s body in a Dumpster last year pleaded guilty this morning and was sentenced to life in prison with parole.

James Lee Troutman, 25, confessed to the May 9 killing of Skyler Kauffman in the basement of a Souderton apartment complex where they both resided. Authorities found Kauffman’s body inside the Dumpster wrapped in a blanket hours after her mother had reported her missing. They said Troutman sexually assaulted and strangled the girl in the basement.

Troutman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Under Troutman’s plea agreement, he will not face the death penalty, but instead automatically receives life in prison without the chance of parole.

Kauffman’s gruesome murder shocked residents in the small town. Some blamed authorities for not arresting Troutman previously when he allegedly tried to lock Kauffman and another girl in his apartment two weeks prior to her death. Kauffman’s mother called police, but no charges were filed.

Montgomery County law enforcement officials defended their decision at the time to not arrest Troutman, claiming that there were no grounds to make an arrest.

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