Twelve-year-old Sierra Elliott was learning to ride a horse to barrel race. She wanted to grow up to be a veterinarian but never got the chance. Investigators say her brother Levi Elliott shot her inside her family’s home. “He took my best friend. We were really close,” twelve-year-old friend and classmate Pantera Mettler said. “We were going to grow up together and now we can't. It's just me.”
Pantera Mettler just graduated sixth grade without Sierra Elliott by her side. “At graduation they had a plaque for her,” Mettler said. “They saved her a seat and they had a little box you could be notes in.” Mettler’s step-mother Ashley Mettler says the ceremony was moving. “Us parents seeing her up there and seeing her awards being read off out loud, it was beautiful,” Ashley Mettler said. “She got a lot of awards. She was really bright.”
Investigators say at the hands of her own brother Sierra's bright future was cut short. “It tore my whole sixth grade apart. Everyone was crying even the boys,” Pantera Mettler said. “Really close friends of hers we all got together at a picnic table and talked about her and what our last words were to her.”
Investigators say Sierra Elliot used her last words to identify the person who shot her as her brother. “I feel for Peggy and I feel for Jim because they lost two,” Ashley Mettler said. Many in the small community are waiting for justice -- waiting to see Levi Elliott tried as an adult. “If he did that to her, he deserves it,” Pantera Mettler said. “He took a really nice girl. Why her? It didn't have to be her.”
Pantera Mettler often wears a t-shirt with a picture of Sierra on the front. “Whenever I think about her and the sad thoughts come, I say she is in a better place,” Pantera Mettler said. “She's not in any more pain. I say she is in a better place. I know she'll be remembered.” Sierra Elliott’s family donated her organs to help save other people's lives. They also set up a scholarship fund in her name.
Levi Elliott was originally charged as a juvenile. A judge ruled he should be tried as an adult.