Teenager sentenced to life for strangling 9-year-old neighbor
An 18-year-old central Missouri teenager resident received a life sentence with the possibility of parole for the ferocious killing of her 9-year-old neighbor, also receiving 30 years for armed criminal action. The judge ordered Alyssa Bustamante to serve her sentences consecutively, the life prison term first, a distinction that adds to the likelihood that the teen will spend the rest of her life behind bars.
This case's brutality rocked St. Martins, a small town in Missouri. At the time, 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante, a girl with large pretty eyes and auburn hair, confessed to strangling, repeatedly stabbing and cutting 9-year-old Elizabeth K. Olten’s throat because as she allegedly told police, she wanted to know how it felt to kill someone. The teenager wrote in her diary, which was read in court by a handwriting expert, "I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead." "I don't know how to feel atm. 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."
"Hundreds of law enforcement officers and regular citizens of Cole County searched for Elizabeth for two days and nights in the cold and pouring rain in October of 2009," said the prosecuting attorney Mark Richardson. Finally, Bustamante led police in the woods, to the shallow grave where she had concealed Elizabeth's mutilated body under a blanket of leaves. According to her testimony She told authorities she had dug two graves several days in advance, and on that evening she had sent her younger sister to invite Elizabeth outside to play. Bustamante also admitted telling the little girl she had a surprise for her in the woods, and then she stabbed Elizabeth with a knife she had concealed in her backpack. Bustamante had been charged with first-degree murder. She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action, thus avoiding a trial and the possibility of spending her life in an adult prison with no chance of release.
"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," said Richardson in a statement. Defense attorneys told reporters that the sentence was "harsh" and that their client was a mentally disturbed teenager, suffering from depression for years, taking an antidepressant, Prozac, that made her more prone to violence. They said she also had an attempted suicide by overdosing on painkillers.
When she heard the sentence, with her hands shackled to her waist and her feet shackled together, Bustamante rose and apologized to the victim’s family: "If I could give my life to bring her back, I would. I just want to say I'm sorry for what happened. I'm so sorry."
For information and tips on how to protect your children online, see Travis Morgan’s book titled “Catch Me If You Know How - Internet Edition” or visit the “Catch Me If You Know How” website at http://www.CatchMeIfYouKnowHow.com