Defense: Return Bustamante's items; Prosecution: It's Evidence
Tue, 19 Oct 2010 17:05:47 GMT —
Update: Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 5:44 p.m.
Attorneys for a teenage murder suspect asked a judge to order the return her personal property.
The day after 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten was found dead; Cole County authorities bagged and tagged various personal items from the St. Martins home of Alyssa Bustamante.
Now, Bustamante's lawyers want it back.
With Alyssa Bustamante's attorneys participating by telephone, Cole County Judge Pat Joyce asked about the documents, photos, and clothing taken from the teenager TMs home in St. Martins last fall.
"Your honor, the state's not in a position to release that property at this time, Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson said. It's quite a large number of documents, letters, cards and notes that were taken either as pursuant to a search warrant or a permission to search. And it will take more time to go through those. But, at this point, we are not able to release them and I am not able to say that they are not something that could be relevant to our evidence, so I'm not at this time able to agree to release any of those items they requested.
The teenager's lawyers appear concerned that, if left in the court file, the items could end up on public display on the internet.
"In the event that the state determines that some of this is of evidentiary value, we would certainly want copies provided through discovery for things that they believe are relevant to the case, Bustamante's Attorney Don Catlett said. Otherwise, we're asking that they be released.
Joyce wants the prosecutor to be ready to identify all items needed for evidence and to return everything else by the next pre-trial hearing scheduled for Dec. 2.
Bustamante is scheduled for trial for the murder of Elizabeth Olten for May 2011.
Elizabeth's family plans to hold a first anniversary memorial service on Friday.
Attorneys for a 16-year-old teen accused of killing a neighbor girl want prosecutors to return letters, cards and other personal property.
Alyssa Bustamante is charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the October 2009 death of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten near Jefferson City.
Prosecutors said Bustamante told police she wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.
Bustamante has pleaded not guilty.
Bustamante's lawyers filed a motion with Cole County Judge pat Joyce Tuesday asking that letters, cards and notes be given to a family member so they do not appear in public or on the Internet. The clothing was requested for court appearances.
Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson said investigators still are reviewing the items to determine if they contain evidence.
Joyce has not made a ruling on the motion and continued it for oral arguments on Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m.