WALLA WALLA -- He tells his story casually, between yawns, revealing unspeakable horrors the way most people talk about the weather.
Joe Kondro, shackled at the wrists, rests a chin on his big hands as he tells how he used them to rape and kill a little girl, and get away with it for a dozen years.
For Kondro it was simple: He hid 8-year-old Rima Traxler so well that no one ever found her.
"I figured if I could take her and bury her in a place far enough away, there was no way they'd go find her or go looking for her there," he says. "I was right."
On the afternoon of May 15, 1985, Kondro, then a 25-year-old laborer, was driving to the store for beer and cigarettes when he saw Rima walking home from St. Helens Elementary School in Longview.
Rima's parents were his close friends; she trusted him like family. Just that morning, he had been at her home, drinking beer with her step-dad, an old high school pal.
"I pulled over and thought, 'If she gets into my car, I'm going to take her out to the woods . . . ' " Kondro says. "And she just jumped in."
Kondro drove to a remote swimming hole on Germany Creek west of town. He raped, bludgeoned and strangled the third-grader, then buried her behind a tree. When Rima didn't return home from school, her desperate mother went to Kondro for help.
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