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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Missouri Child Killer Gets Life Sentence

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) - A teenager who killed her 9-year-old neighbor because she wanted to know what it felt like to kill somebody was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Alyssa Bustamante, 18, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and armed criminal action for the murder of Elizabeth Olten. Bustamante was 15 when she led police to Olten's body and confessed to the crime. By taking the plea, prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge and a possible sentence of life in prison without parole.

Bustamante's attorneys argued for a lesser sentence because they claimed Bustamante's use of the antidepressant Prozac made her prone to violence. But prosecutors said Bustamante deserved life plus 71 years to account for the years Elizabeth lost.

They also pointed to evidence that Bustamante had dug two graves several days in advance and then sent her younger sister to lure Elizabeth outside with an invitation to play.

Bustamante's journal also chronicled the killing. A handwriting expert read several excerpts from the journal including, "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]" and "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."

That night, Bustamante attended a youth dance at her church while a massive search began for the missing girl in their small town of St. Martins, which is just west of Jefferson City, the Associated Press reported.

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