JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – A state appeals court denied the request of a 16-year-old accused murderer who wants to continue her education in prison while she awaits trial. Alyssa Bustamante, 16, is charged with killing her neighbor, 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, in October 2009.
Police say Bustamante confessed to the crime and led them to Olten’s body in a wooded area outside of the small town of St. Martins, 10 miles west of Jefferson City.
Bustamante pleaded not guilty to adult charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. She remains jailed and her attorneys sought to have her finish her high school education through a distance learning program.
The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District’s ruling is the third time Bustamante’s lawyers have been defeated on the education issue. Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce had twice denied such requests. Cole County Sheriff Greg White argued in court that it is not his department’s job to further a prisoner’s education.