The mitigation phase in the trial of Kyle Alegria continues today, as attorneys for the man convicted of killing a seven-year-old Ajo girl try to spare their client the death penalty.

Alegria was convicted last week of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15 for the 2009 murder of Rhia Almeida.

The girl had been a friend of Alegria’s younger brother and came to house for a visit, however, Alegria was the only person home at the house he lived in with his parents.

At the start of mitigation phase last week, the judge allowed Rhia Almeida’s mother, Elayne Gregg, to read a statement at the onset.

Gregg spoke of the terrible loss she continues to feel and the love she and other family members have for Rhia Almeida.

She wept often while reading the heartfelt letter. Many people in the gallery also cried along with much of the jury as Gregg tearfully recounted her child’s short life.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or On Twitter @pm929.