Alyssa Bustamante was fifteen years old when she murdered nine year old Elizabeth Olten. This teen killer who planned to kill more people would be arrested and sentenced to life in prison
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A teenager who slit her young neighbor’s throat and called it “enjoyable” may have the opportunity to walk free one day.
Alyssa Bustamante, 18, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in a Missouri courtroom today.
The teen expressed remorse for brutally killing her neighbor, Elizabeth Olten, in October 2009, in what prosecutors described as a thrill killing.
“I know words can never be enough and they can never adequately describe how horribly I feel for all of this,” Bustamante said to Olten’s mother and siblings, who sat silently. “If I could give my life to get her back I would. I’m sorry.”
Bustamante stabbed the 9-year-old girl in the chest, strangled her, sliced her throat and left her in a shallow grave covered with leaves so she could find out what it felt like to kill.
“I just f***ing killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead. I don’t know how to feel atm [at the moment],” Bustamante wrote in her diary.
She later added: “It was ahmazing. As soon as you get over the ‘ohmygawd I can’t do this’ feeling, it’s pretty enjoyable. I’m kinda nervous and shaky though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church now…lol.”
Elizabeth’s mother, Patty Preiss called Bustamante “an evil monster” and said that she “hated her” on the first day of the teen’s sentencing hearing.
Prosecutor Mark Richardson had argued for life in prison, plus 71 years, accounting for the years Elizabeth lost.
“These sentences are appropriate and fit what happened to Elizabeth at the hands of a truly evil individual who strangled and stabbed an innocent child simply for the thrill of it,” Richardson said in a statement.
The defense cited Bustamante’s depression and a suicide attempt as a reason for a reduced sentence.
On the teen’s YouTube page, a video appears to show the suspect with her brothers purposefully shocking themselves on an electrified fence. She listed “killing people” as one of her hobbies under her profile.
Her Twitter messages around the time of the murder spoke of “addiction” and “terrors.”
One message said, “all I want in life is a reason for all this pain.”
“She committed the murder after deliberation, which means cool deliberation or cool reflection on the matter for any length of time,” Cole County prosecutor Mark Richardson told the court Wednesday.
Convicted child killer Alyssa Bustamante just turned 20 years old Jan. 28 and is now nearly four years into a life sentence with the possibility of parole. She is appealing her sentence.
Bustamante was sentenced in 2012 for what prosecutors called the thrill kill of a 9-year-old neighbor girl, Elizabeth Olten in October 2009.
She testified in Cole Co. Court today that when she accepted the plea agreement, she did not fully understand the current state of the law on sentencing juveniles as an adult, and would have possibly put her fate in the hands of a jury instead.
“The threat of (life without parole) as a mandatory sentence was allowed to intimidate Alyssa into accepting a guilty plea she would not have otherwise accepted,” Attorney Gary Brotherton wrote in documents filed with the Cole County Circuit Court claiming Bustamante had ineffective counsel at the time she pleaded guilty.
Brotherton told the court that two cases could have had an effect on Bustamante’s options.
Miller v. Alabama was decided in 2012 — after Bustamante was sentenced — in which the United States Supreme Court held that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders. A previous case in 2010, Graham v. Florida, ruled that life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders is unconstitutional, barring murder.
Bustamante was charged as an adult with first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole. She accepted an agreement with the prosecution that she would plead guilty to a reduced charge of murder in the second degree and armed criminal action. She was sentenced to 30 years with the possibility of parole for the murder charge, and 30 years for using a knife to kill her victim, which is ordered to run at the conclusion of her life sentence.
Brotherton asked Bustamante on the stand if she had spoken with her attorneys about legal issues.
“Yes,” she answered, “but I didn’t really understand legal issues.”
“At that time you had barely started the 10th grade?” he asked.
Bustamante’s state-appointed attorneys, Don Catlett and Charles Moreland, had each testified that she had accepted the plea agreement less than an hour after it was offered. She told the court she felt pressured to make a decision, and that she just wanted to get it over with.
“I didn’t really, couldn’t wrap my mind around it,” she said. “It was just … hopelessness.”
She confirmed that she was being treated with medication for depression and anxiety at the time, and said while being held by the county, she slept a lot and continued cutting herself.
Judge Pat Joyce has given Brotherton 30 days to send her proposed orders. She’ll make a decision after that whether to declare Bustamante’s counsel was ineffective and order a new trial or let the current sentence stand.
Olten’s mother, Patty Preiss, was in the courtroom but declined to comment. Also present was Bustamante’s grandmother, Karen Brooke, who had custody of Alyssa when Olten was killed.
Bustamante admitted prior to her sentencing that she killed Olten by strangling her and slashing her throat. She then buried her in a shallow grave in a heavily wooded area near the girls’ homes. She had written in her diary that the experience was “ahmazing,” and later told investigators she had done it because she wanted to see what it was like to kill someone
A Missouri woman sentenced to life in prison when she was a juvenile for slaying a nine year-old girl will remain in prison.
Judge Patricia Joyce has denied Alyssa Bustamante’s motion to set aside and correct a judgement for a plea deal Bustamante accepted in 2012.
Bustamante was facing a first-degree murder charge for killing nine year-old Elizabeth Olten, but she plead guilty to second-degree murder in January 2012 and was sentenced to life with the chance of parole.
Bustamante testified in January that she wouldn’t have plead guilty if she had known about a pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving juvenile murder defendants.
After Bustamante was sentenced, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life prison sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional.
It remains unclear if Bustamante intends to appeal Judge Joyce’s ruling.
A Missouri woman whose 9-year-old daughter was killed by a teenage neighbor in 2009 has agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit that requires the imprisoned killer to pay her more than $5 million.
Patricia Preiss signed a deal Monday to settle the lawsuit she filed against Alyssa Bustamante, who was 15 when she killed Preiss’ daughter, Elizabeth. Prosecutors alleged Bustamante committed the crime to see how it felt to kill someone.
Bustamante, who is now 23, confessed to the killing. She was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
It’s unclear if Bustamante has the means to pay the settlement. Attorneys for her and Priess did not immediately return phone calls seeking details Tuesday from The Associated Press.
Bustamante signed the settlement agreement in March, but documents show Preiss didn’t agree to the deal until Monday, The Jefferson City News-Tribune reported. A trial was scheduled to begin on Aug. 7. Bustamante is serving her sentence at the Women’s Eastern Missouri Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia.
Bustamante pleaded guilty in 2012 to luring Elizabeth to the woods in the small town of St. Martins, just west of Jefferson City. She slit the girl’s throat and strangled her before burying her in a grave she had dug several days in advance, according to investigators.
Under the lawsuit settlement, Preiss agreed to dismiss any remaining counts. Bustamante also is required to notify Preiss if she receives any compensation arising from publicity about the case.