Bustamante certified, indicted, arraigned
Wed, 18 Nov 2009 23:55:48 GMT —
During the adult certification hearing, at which no videographer was allowed, Alyssa Bustamante was named publically for the first time. Her attorney, Kurt Valentine made an impassioned plea to leave the case with juvenile authorities.
He argued Bustamante would never survive in an adult jail or prison system, calling certification a "death sentence" for his client.
Juvenile court prosecutor Samantha Green argued that Bustamante could not be rehabilitated through any program in that system. Green became emotional when discussing murder victim Elizabeth Olten, both in court and afterward.
"I would hope that the public will remember Elizabeth for who she was, and not remember her for the crime that was committed upon her, Green said.
In sending the case to adult court, Judge Jon Beetem ruled that the crime was serious and vicious and the state had no adequate facilities or services to treat Alyssa in the juvenile court system. County prosecutor Mark Richardson immediately brought the case to the already-seated grand jury, which returned the indictment for first-degree murder.
"After deliberation, by strangling her, cutting her throat, and stabbing her, Richardson said.
That's as much as Richardson would say about the facts of the case. At one point in juvenile court hearing, a highway patrol investigator testified that Alyssa had dug two holes in the woods, five days before Elizabeth Olten disappeared.
Richardson said that he cannot tell us if Olten TMs body was found in only one of those holes.
Because the case went to the grand jury, there is no probable cause statement for a preliminary hearing. Such documents generally provide significant details of the crime.
"The charge in this case gives pretty much what I would expect a probable cause statement to reflect regarding the manner of the killing, Richardson said.
If convicted, the maximum punishment faced by Bustamante is life in prison.
Missouri law does not allow people under the age of 16 who commit murder to be executed.
Circuit judge Pat Joyce would not allow photography Bustamante in the adult court hearing, because she had no legal counsel.
Valentine was appointed to defend Bustamante in juvenile court. After her case was moved to adult court, Valentine was released as her counsel.
Judge Joyce entered a not guilty plea for Bustamante and scheduled another hearing for Dec. 7.
At that time, Bustamante likely will be represented by the public defender and the status of the case will be reviewed for trial scheduling.