October 26, 2020

Prosecutors describe teen as thrill killer

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri teenager who confessed to murdering a 9-year-old girl faces the possibility of life in prison when
 she’s sentenced.

Prosecutors described Alyssa Bustamante, 18, as a thrill killer who lacked remorse. Defense attorneys said she was a disturbed child who deserved the chance of freedom one day.

The trial’s conclusion follows days of testimony in a small courtroom in Missouri’s capital city. Proceedings descended into chaos Tuesday as prosecutor Mark Richardson made an impassioned request for a lifelong sentence for Bustamante, who pleaded guilty to murdering Elizabeth Olten, a neighbour, in October 2009.

Bustamante’s grandmother and grandfather stormed out of the courtroom. That prompted Bustamante — who had been staring blankly downward as Richardson recounted her crime — to begin silently crying for the first time in her court proceedings that have spanned more than two years.

Then as Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce announced that she would reveal her sentence on Wednesday, Elizabeth’s grandmother interrupted and cried out from her wheelchair.

“I think Alyssa should get out of jail the same day Elizabeth gets out of the grave!” declared the grandmother, whom a prosecutor later identified as Sandy Corn.

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