JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A central Missouri teenager who confessed to strangling, cutting and stabbing a 9-year-old girl because she wanted to know how it felt to kill someone was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Alyssa Bustamante, 18, pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 slaying of Elizabeth Olten in St. Martins, a small rural town west of Jefferson City.
Bustamante had been charged with first-degree murder and by pleading guilty to the lesser charges she avoided a trial and the possibility of spending her life in an adult prison with no chance of release.
Bustamante was 15 years old when she confessed to strangling Elizabeth, repeatedly stabbing her in the chest and slicing the girl’s throat. She led police to the shallow grave where she had concealed Elizabeth’s body under a blanket of leaves in the woods behind their neighborhood.
The teenager’s defense attorneys had argued for a sentence less than life in prison, saying Bustamante’s use of the antidepressant Prozac had made her more prone to violence. They said she had suffered from depression for years and once attempted suicide by overdosing on painkillers.
But prosecutors sought a longer sentence. They noted that Bustamante had dug two graves several days in advance, and that on the evening of the killing had sent her younger sister to lure Elizabeth outside with an invitation to play. Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. David Rice testified that the teenager told him “she wanted to know what it felt like” to kill someone. Prosecutors also cited journal entries in which Bustamante described the exhilaration of killing Elizabeth.
“I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead,” Bustamante wrote in her diary, which was read in court by a handwriting expert. “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.”
Bustamante then headed off to a youth dance at her church while a massive search began for the missing girl.
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It started as a simple Twitter beef, 140-character spurts of anger by two young men who grew up together.
But the tough talk exploded out of cyberspace and onto the streets of Harlem, where a college student was gunned down feet from Gov. Paterson’s home.
Now tweets sent by victim Kwame Dancy, 22, and accused killer Jameg Blake, 22, could become key evidence in a murder trial, the Daily News has learned.
Dancy’s mother, Madeline Smith, is appalled Internet chest-thumping could have led to blood spilled on the sidewalk.
“That’s not a reason to shoot somebody,” she said last week. “That’s crazy. I don’t know what’s going on with that Twitter thing.”
Dancy, who was studying to be a nurse, was killed by a shotgun blast to the neck Dec. 1 across from Lenox Terrace in Harlem, where he grew up with his father.
Blake – who lived on the same floor as Dancy, one floor below Paterson in the luxury high-rise on W. 132nd St. – was arrested two days later.
Charged with murder, he pleaded not guilty Wednesday and was held without bail.
RISING SUN, Ind. —
Ignoring his younger brother’s plea of “Andrew, stop,” a 17-year-old who told authorities he identified with a television serial killer strangled the boy, dragged the body to his car and drove to see his girlfriend, an Indiana prosecutor said Thursday.
Andrew Conley of Rising Sun was calm and showed no remorse or emotion as he described strangling 10-year-old Conner Conley as the two wrestled Sunday, a probable cause affidavit said. Conley told investigators he dumped his brother’s body near a park in the Ohio River community about 90 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
“Sometimes people are just evil,” Dearborn-Ohio County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard said. “This is an evil child.”
Prosecutors filed preliminary charges of murder against Conley along with a supporting affidavit Thursday. Conley is being charged as an adult and will appear Friday in court, Negangard said.
Conley’s family did not immediately return messages for comment Thursday. Negangard said Conley had an attorney but none was listed in the affidavit.
The teen told investigators he had had fantasies about killing someone since he was in eighth grade, including cutting somebody’s throat, and felt “just like” the serial killer Dexter on the Showtime television series of the same name. He said killing his brother satisfied a craving like a hamburger satisfied hunger.
“Like I had to … like when people have something like they are hungry and there is a hamburger sitting there and they knew they had to have it and I was sitting there and it just happened,” Conley told investigators in the affidavit.
The slaying comes six weeks after 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante told Missouri authorities she strangled, stabbed and cut a 9-year-old neighbor’s throat because she wanted to know what it was like to kill someone.
The affidavit in Conley’s case described him killing his brother before visiting his girlfriend and other friends. It said:
The two brothers were wrestling while their parents were at work. Conley put Conner in a headlock, causing the younger boy to pass out and fall to the floor. Conley dragged Conner to kitchen, put on a pair of gloves and choked the younger boy for about 20 minutes until he noticed blood flowing from Conner’s nose and mouth.
He told investigators the child’s last words were “Andrew, stop.”
Conley put a plastic bag over his brother’s head, secured it with black electrical tape, and dragged the body by its feet down steps to the basement and then from the home to his car. Conley struck Conner’s head on the ground several times before putting the body in the trunk of the car.
With the body still in the trunk, Conley drove to his girlfriend’s house and gave her a sweetheart ring. She told investigators Conley “seemed happy, more happy than she had seen him in a while.”
Negangard said he will consider seeking the maximum prison term of life without parole. Conley’s age makes him ineligible for the death penalty.
“I believe Andrew Conley is a dangerous person, and that’s why we’ll be considering the maximum penalty that we can impose,” Negangard said.
Conley also told investigators that on the morning of Conner’s death, he stood over his sleeping father with a knife and thought about killing him. Conley went to police Sunday night, admitted killing Conner and told investigators where to find the body.
The teen had no juvenile record and his teachers considered him a good student, Negangard said.
“This kid, Conner, was a good kid, and Andrew was an A and B student,” he said. “This comes as a shock to the community.”
Conley has been held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Lawrenceburg but was to be moved Thursday night to the Switzerland County Jail in Vevay.