Leroy Iverson, the father of 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson, who was strangled in a Nevada casino in 1997, has died at age 60.
Iverson, who led a troubled life, died Monday of complications from diabetes at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, according to Kim Simpson of Simpson Family Mortuary in Inglewood.
Iverson had been bedridden for several months.
"He had been in declining shape for several years, but his health took a real nose dive after Sherrice died," said his attorney, Winston Kevin McKesson.
Iverson, born in Louisiana, had lived in South-Central Los Angeles for the last 30 years. He worked at various times as a laborer, tour bus driver, security guard and farmer.
"He was one of those guys who was gruff on the outside but a real sweetheart once you got to know him," McKesson said.
Iverson had five children, three of whom died as infants, McKesson said. He was never married and the mother of one of his children died in childbirth, McKesson said. He was plagued by chronic health problems, from diabetes to asthma to emphysema.
Iverson's life took a nightmarish turn May 25, 1997, when a Long Beach man trapped Sherrice at 4 a.m. in a restroom at the Primadonna Casino south of Las Vegas and sexually assaulted and murdered her.
Iverson was criticized because he had been playing slot machines and had left Sherrice in a video arcade under the care of his son, Harold. In response, McKesson, who filed suit against the casino on Iverson's behalf, pointed out that 25 to 45 other children were playing in the arcade at the time.
Jeremy Strohmeyer, then 19, pleaded guilty to killing Sherrice and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Strohmeyer recently tried to appeal his sentence but was turned down.
Iverson had been very close to Sherrice, McKesson said. "This was a man who would wash and iron his daughter's dress, take her to school, read to her. She was his life," McKesson said.
Iverson is survived by Harold, who is now 18.
His funeral is set for Saturday at Paradise Baptist Church in South Los Angeles.