Possibility of More Appeals Following Ferguson's Release

2 years 7 months 1 week ago November 14, 2013 Nov 14, 2013 Thursday, November 14 2013 Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:22:00 PM CST in News
By: Maddie Heidenreich, KOMU 8 Reporter.

COLUMBIA - A Missouri teen who pleaded guilty to killing her nine-year-old neighbor wants her guilty pleas vacated just days after Ryan Ferguson walked free.

Alyssa Bustamante's attorney contends the teen's due process rights were violated and she faced cruel and unusual punishment.

Greg Mermelstein is a Division Director with the Public Defender in Columbia and said he receives letters from people in prison asking for help and trying to pursue an actual innocence case. "Certainty when there is a high publicity case where someone is shown to be innocent, it encourages someone who is also in prison who are innocent to want to pursue their cases," said Mermelstein.

Ferguson's release gained much publicity. He is now a free man, but was never actually pronounced innocent.

Bustamante's case is much different. Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action for the October 2009 killing of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten.

Bustamante was 15 years old at the time of the murder, which was described as a thrill kill. She stabbed, strangled and slit Olten's throat. Bustamante then left her in a grave covered with leaves. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and ordered to serve a consecutive 30 year term for armed criminal action.

"Various experts say there's maybe between two and five percent of the prison population that may be innocent," said Mermelstein. "Even if we assume that's too high and there is maybe only one percent of innocent people in prison, in a state like Missouri where there is approximately 30 thousand people in prison. That's 300 people in prison who may be innocent. So those people may be encouraged by this to try to pursue their own legal actions to show their innocence."

Bustamante has a court hearing scheduled in late January.

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA (AP) — Supporters of a transmission line that would carry wind power from western Kansas to the East Coast... More >>
10 minutes ago June 25, 2016 Jun 25, 2016 Saturday, June 25 2016 Saturday, June 25, 2016 10:51:10 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that a discrimination lawsuit against Springfield, Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops can... More >>
20 minutes ago June 25, 2016 Jun 25, 2016 Saturday, June 25 2016 Saturday, June 25, 2016 10:41:37 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Gretchen Maune said losing her sight has made her "more fearless." She wanted to stretch herself by learning... More >>
6 hours ago June 25, 2016 Jun 25, 2016 Saturday, June 25 2016 Saturday, June 25, 2016 4:55:00 AM CDT in News
BOONVILLE - A train crashed into a car near the Isle of Capri Casino and Missouri River Friday night. ... More >>
10 hours ago June 25, 2016 Jun 25, 2016 Saturday, June 25 2016 Saturday, June 25, 2016 12:04:00 AM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A judge says attorneys for the city of Ferguson and other defendants in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought... More >>
14 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 8:47:00 PM CDT in News
HOLTS SUMMIT- The Better Business Bureau is warning mid-Missouri about a new scam, where scammers claim to represent Ameren UE.... More >>
15 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 7:32:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- The Boone County Fire Protection District got an upgrade on Friday. It showed off 10 of its shiny... More >>
15 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 7:04:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The recent heat wave in mid-Missouri has already caused problems with the roads. And now it's causing major... More >>
16 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 6:50:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Some drivers in Missouri could soon be rolling down the road of the future. The Missouri Department... More >>
16 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 6:48:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Residents of Columbia say they are feeling more satisfied than ever when it comes to calling City Hall... More >>
17 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 5:36:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Your next ride with Uber or Lyft will be different than last time. Governor Nixon signed... More >>
18 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 4:32:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Three new troopers have been assigned to Troop F in mid-Missouri, according to Sgt. Scott White of... More >>
18 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 4:11:00 PM CDT in News
TROY (AP) — Authorities say they're searching for an eastern Missouri woman after her husband was found dead from an... More >>
19 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 4:00:20 PM CDT in News
SEDALIA - Gov. Jay Nixon signed three agriculture bills into law Friday evening. He was accompanied by state legislators from... More >>
19 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 3:53:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - United States Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police officers do not need a warrant to give a breathalyzer... More >>
19 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 3:51:00 PM CDT in News
MEXICO - A Missouri State Highway Patrol pursuit of a man on a motorcycle ended in a crash at Highway... More >>
19 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 3:45:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Bicycle riders in Columbia will have a new place to ride, and traffic could decrease after a new... More >>
19 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 3:28:01 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Central Missouri Humane Society launched a new Community Outreach Unit Friday to help animals in need throughout... More >>
19 hours ago June 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016 Friday, June 24 2016 Friday, June 24, 2016 3:16:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 86°
12pm 90°
1pm 91°
2pm 93°
3pm 93°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:30a
Nina's World
11:00a
Ruff-Ruff, Tweet & Dave
11:30a
Astroblast!
10:30a
Save Our Shelter
11:00a
Dream Quest
11:30a
Hatched

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
8:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld