Amanda Bennett and Sebastian Dowell were two teenagers in Missouri who decided that they wanted to kill someone. According to court documents Amanda Bennett and Sebastian Dowell texted four people asking them if they wanted to hang out. Unfortunately for Kaytlin Root she answered the text and soon after the young woman would be dead. The teen killers would strangle the young woman before slitting her throat and stabbing her multiple times. The young woman would be stripped and left in the woods. At trial Sebastian Dowell would plead guilty and would be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for twenty five years. Amanda Bennett would be sentenced to life in prison as well
Amanda Bennett 2020 Information
|Offender Name||Amanda Donna Bennett|
|Date of Birth||10/22/1999|
|Height/Weight||5’11” / 151|
|Hair/Eyes||Brown / Green|
|Assigned Location||Chillicothe Correctional Center|
|Address||3151 Litton Road, Chillicothe, MO 64601|
|Active Offenses||MURDER 2ND DEGREE|
|Completed Offenses||Completed sentence not found|
|Aliases||Amanda Donna Bennett|
Sebastian Dowell 2020 Information
|Offender Name||Sebastian Dudley Dowell|
|Date of Birth||09/24/1998|
|Height/Weight||5’8″ / 142|
|Hair/Eyes||Brown / Hazel|
|Assigned Location||Jefferson City Correctional Center|
|Address||8200 No More Victims, Jefferson City, MO 65101|
|Active Offenses||MURDER 2ND DEGREE|
|Completed Offenses||Completed sentence not found|
|Aliases||Sebastian Dowell; Sebastian Dudley Dowell; Sebastian D Dowell|
Amanda Bennett And Sebastian Dowell More News
A teen who pleaded guilty to murder has filed a motion outlining a number of reasons why her sentence should be reviewed and set aside or corrected.
Amanda D. Bennett began serving a life sentence in December for her role in the stabbing death of Kaytlin Root last October at Krug Park.
While incarcerated in the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Missouri, she has filed a standard application for review of her case.
Bennett’s first claim is against her attorney, Dawn Williams. Bennett claims Williams didn’t do her job correctly by failing to explain court procedures or devoting her full effort to Bennett’s case.
Bennett maintains she was a 16-year-old minor at the time of the murder and neither her parents nor a juvenile officer was present when she was questioned. She also claims she was coerced to enter a guilty plea.
Bennett also said there was a third person involved in the murder who was never interviewed. She claims not all the evidence was presented to her in a timely manner.
Finally, she maintains her life sentence is a cruel and unusual punishment and cites two other cases to support her claim.
Williams and Dwight Scroggins, the Buchanan County prosecutor, had argued for some 40 minutes before Circuit Judge Patrick Robb about what would and wouldn’t be heard at sentencing. Scroggins had intercepted a letter Bennett wrote to her co-conspirator, Sebastian Dowell. In the letter, Bennett is quoted as writing to Dowell that “I always said I could get away with murder.” The letter also contained a threat to do another murder and do it her way.
A mental examination also figures in Bennett’s claims for changing the sentence. She claims she never got the results of a mental examination. She outlines her status as a minor at the time of the murder, the fact she wasn’t taking her prescription medication and said she had been diagnosed as suffering from postpartum depression.
For all these reasons, Bennett is asking for the judicial review.
Robb hasn’t set a date for any hearing. Scroggins will represent the state in the matter.
Amanda Bennett And Sebastian Dowll Other News
An emotional hearing ended with an audible, collective gasp of relief as Circuit Judge Daniel Kellogg sentenced Sebastian Dowell to life in prison for the Oct. 2016 murder of Kaytlin Root.
“It’s the only appropriate sentence,” Kellogg said.
Kaytlin’s mom Jamie Jaramillo agreed. “I’m ecstatic,” Jaramillo said. “I got the verdict I wanted. I will be at every parole hearing, every hearing he ever has. His family, they show no remorse, they don’t know what pain is. They didn’t lose a child. They get to go to prison and see their child. I don’t.”
Root was found naked, strangled and stabbed, in a remote area of the Krug Park trails on October 16, 2016. Dowell and co-defendant Amanda Bennett were charged with second-degree murder after an investigation that Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Scroggins said was a combination of great luck and great police work.
Both suspects have pleaded guilty. Bennett is scheduled for sentencing next week.
During Dowell’s two-hour sentencing hearing Thursday, Scroggins laid out details of the crime that had not been publicly revealed before. One of the lead detectives, Frank Till of the St. Joseph Police Department, described how they linked Dowell and Bennett to the crime.
They found part of Root’s damaged cell phone, and later, after a much wider and more exhaustive search, they found the rest of it. Within the phone’s memory they were able to piece together a Facebook Messenger dialogue with Root’s killer. They also found a cell phone photograph of Dowell at a convenience store where they stopped briefly, shortly before the murder. From the store’s surveillance video and that cell phone photo, and the Facebook dialogue, they were able to identify the two suspects.
Scroggins says Dowell will be eligible for consideration for parole in a little over 25 years. This fact figured prominently in his decision to charge the teenager with second degree murder. He told the judge that given the facts, first-degree murder was appropriate. But Scroggins says that if Dowell had been charged and convicted of first-degree murder, given his age, and some recent Supreme Court rulings, the only possible sentence would be life without parole. He says the more appropriate way to ensure a just outcome for an 18-year-old murderer is to let the parole board consider his case in 25 years.
“Despite the awful tragedy of what occurred in this case, I think the more appropriate way in which to actually have a just outcome, is to let somebody take a look at this person 25 years down the road and see who he is then,” Scroggins said. “I think that decision, because of the gravity of it, is better made 25 years down the road, than if it is made today, in the light and the emotion of the crime having just happened.”
Scroggins said the defendants didn’t really care who they killed that night. They sent out Facebook messages to four or five people, and only Root responded. They asked if she wanted to hang out, and she said yes. “That’s very unusual in a homicide,” Scroggins said. “There’s usually some motive connection.”
Scroggins says that’s more heinous than a homicide with a motive, and an intended victim, and it deserved a harsher sentence.
He also said he doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the defendants’ claims that this was part of some ritual sacrifice. The defendants don’t agree on whose idea it was, or which one believed in what was described as “dark religion.”
In an interview, Dowell told Detective Till he had “dabbled in” that sort of thing since he was a child. But he said the killing was Bennett’s idea. Scroggins also said it doesn’t really matter which of the co-defendants strangled Root. Each one blames the other in interviews.
Till said after strangling Root, the pair took off some of her clothes, cut off the rest, and then stabbed her and slashed her throat. Scroggins said it doesn’t matter who did what, because they had the knives, they had the gloves, and they had the plan. And because she was the one who responded to the Facebook messages, they had Root.
Arranging the meeting at random, via social media, was frightening for Jaramillo. “It is scary to know that she was number four or five, and the rest didn’t comment, but she did,” Jaramillo said.
“But she loved everybody. And social media, it does scare me, because who’s to say there isn’t somebody that says ‘hey you want to hang out?’ and then the next thing you know…”
Jaramillo trailed off, not wanting to describe what happened next to her daughter. She was quick to change the subject.
“I’ve told everybody from day one, I’m thankful that somebody found her, that I got to see her, I got to say goodbye. It might have been her laying in a casket, but I got to see my baby.”
“And they stole my best friend.”
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