Murder Trial To Begin in Jan. for 17-Year-Old Bustamante

8 years 6 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, December 28 2011 Dec 28, 2011 Wednesday, December 28, 2011 3:48:00 PM CST December 28, 2011 in News
By: Meghann Mollerus

JEFFERSON CITY - After multiple delays, a Jan. 30 trial date has been set for 17-year-old Alyssa Bustamante, accused of first-degree murder in the 2009 killing of her nine-year-old neighbor, Elizabeth Olten. According to Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce's pre-trial order released Dec. 22, the location of the trial has been moved from the Cole County Courthouse to the United States Courthouse for the Western District of Missouri, located on Lafayette Street in Jefferson City. The order cites the location change is due to "the heightened interest in this case, the necessity of protecting the litigants and the jurors, and to ensure the integrity of the court process."

The judge has imposed strict media regulations on the trial, saying "no electronic coverage is permissible from the courthouse or its courtrooms." The media will be allocated eight seats in the courtroom and an additional eight seats in the auxiliary courtroom. The public, in accordance with the order, will be allocated 34 seats, 14 of which are available in the main courtroom and are to be designated each day based on applications submitted to the Cole County Courthouse by Jan. 20.

Bustamante has been held at the Cole County Jail since August of 2010 and will stand trial as an adult. KOMU 8 News did contact her public defender, Donald Catlett, but he declined to comment on the trial beyond what is stated in the judge's order. He did confirm that he expects opening arguments to begin Jan. 30, but said it is hard to tell whether the trial will span longer than the estimated 10 days. He also confirmed jury selection will take place the week before in Springfield due to an approved request for a change of venue.

In June 2011, the prosecution lost what could have been a crucial piece of evidence in dispelling Bustamante's not-guilty plea. Joyce suppressed Bustamante's confession after determining Juvenile Officer Tobie Meyer participated in the initial Highway Patrol interview of Bustamante and used "deceptive tactics" in encouraging Bustamante to confess to the murder. In the order to suppress the confession, Joyce wrote, Meyer's participation in the interrogation "went far beyond her statutory role as a juvenile officer, which is limited to observation and protection of the juvenile's rights."

Since Bustamante was in juvenile custody at the time of the interrogation, statements disclosed to Meyer were not to be admissible in an adult criminal proceeding. Had Mayer not participated, Bustamante's statements to Highway Patrol Sgt. David Rice could have been valid for use in trial, according to an original assertion in the court order to suppress evidence. At a Nov. 2009 hearing in which Bustamante was certified to stand trial as an adult, Rice testified Bustamante confessed to stabbing and strangling Olten, citing she "wanted to know what it felt like" to kill someone. Rice also said it was Bustamante who led authorities to Olten's well-concealed body, found in the woods near her home in St. Martins on Oct. 23, 2009, two days after she had gone missing while walking home from a neighbor's house.

Prosecutors filed suggestions on Aug. 12, 2010 for DNA testing of a knife and jeans found at the crime scene and seized by authorities as evidence. In Aug. 2011, Richardson and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Anji Gandhi informed the court in a motion hearing that evidence testing would not be completed for another six weeks. This information thereby delayed the trial set for Sep. 13, 2011.

KOMU 8 News placed calls to Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Richardson, all of which went unreturned. Cole County Sheriff Greg White was reached for comment, but said he no longer can comment, as the case has been turned over to the prosecuting attorney. White was part of the team responsible for searching and eventually discovering Olten's body.

The Olten family has not spoken to the media, and family friend and spokesperson Pam Cafourek could not be reached for comment. In an interview with KOMU on Oct. 19, 2011, in light of the two-year anniversary of Olten's death, Cafourek said, "We have the faith that we will get a murder conviction."

Cafourek previously described Olten as "your normal nine-year-old--full of life, full of dreams. She was an excellent student, and she loved to read." If convicted of Olten's murder, Bustamante faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Catlett declined to say whether Bustamante will testify.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA- Tiger Academy of Gymnastics is hosting a summer camp for kids to attend, but it is going to look... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 2:22:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – As Boone County struggles to keep up with the need for contact tracing in the community, volunteers are... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 12:49:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - UM System leaders unveiled a new plan to bring broadband access to a rural pilot community on Wednesday.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 12:09:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Bicentennial Bridge project is a $3.75 million dollar bridge to connect the Missouri State Capitol Complex... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 11:51:43 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved Missouri’s request for a federal disaster declaration for severe storms in... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 11:38:46 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The city mask ordinance for Columbia goes into effect at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and education will be... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 11:00:00 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - In the midst of Missouri’s budget crisis, $125 million from the CARES Act will help higher... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 10:42:31 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COOPER/BOONE/CALLAWAY COUNTY - Crews will begin striping work on I-70 on Sunday, and the work will continue into August. ... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 8:01:00 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Kansas City Chief's player Mitchell Schwartz spoke out on Thursday about DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic social media posts ,... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 6:45:00 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 4:29:00 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Deputies have identified the man whose body was found near Millersburg on Thursday as 31-year-old Ervin Hayes... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 7:36:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY- Businesses outside the city limits of Columbia are now having to decide what to do about the mask... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 6:33:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot about how we live, and unemployment benefits weren't left out. Unemployment... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 5:45:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – As cases are beginning to spike, some counties are struggling to keep up with the demand for... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 5:38:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
MOBERLY - The city has acquired what was formerly the Moberly Junior High School, and now is working to figure... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 2:42:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia Parks & Recreation will host a public input meeting tonight to discuss plans for a new trail... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 2:31:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - People have been busy buying masks to prepare for the mask ordinance taking effect Friday, and businesses are... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 1:51:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
MCDONALD COUNTY - An Amber Alert issued in McDonald County was cancelled early Friday morning at 12:30 a.m. Both victims,... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 1:14:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 85°
3pm 85°
4pm 85°
5pm 85°
6pm 85°