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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
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Teen Pleads Guilty to Strangling Young Girl

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) - A teenager confessed Tuesday that she strangled her 9-year-old neighbor to know what it would feel like.

Alyssa Bustamante's confession is part of plea deal to second-degree murder entered in Cole County court.

Elizabeth Olten, 9, was strangled, cut and stabbed to death in St. Martins, a small rural town just west of Jefferson City, on Oct. 21, 2009. Police initially charged Bustamante, who was 15 at the time, with first-degree murder. She was scheduled to be tried as an adult later this month.

Prosecutors said Bustamante plotted the killing and had even dug two holes to serve as her victim's grave. Over the next week, the teenager attended school and waited for the perfect time to kill Elizabeth. Prosecutors said Bustamante strangled Elizabeth without provocation, cut her throat and stabbed her.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol sergeant reportedly testified at a November 2009 hearing that Bustamante admitted to the killing, led officers to Elizabeth's body and she said she "wanted to know what it felt like" to kill someone.

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce barred prosecutors from using part of that statement in June, ruling that a juvenile officer wrongly participated in the interview.

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