Woman pleads guilty to her role in death of transgender teen

8 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Friday, May 10 2019 May 10, 2019 Friday, May 10, 2019 6:03:48 PM CDT May 10, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

HOUSTON, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri woman pleaded guilty for her role in the 2017 killing of transgender teen who had been living with her.

Briana Calderas, 26, pleaded guilty Thursday to abandonment of a corpse, concealing a felon and evidence tampering just days before she was scheduled to be tried on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld, The Springfield News-Leader reported.

Some of Steinfeld's burned remains were found in September 2017 in a chicken coop near Calderas' mobile home in Cabool, a rural area about 70 miles (113 kilometers) east of Springfield. Steinfeld's mother, Amber Steinfeld, said Steinfeld had dated Calderas and had been living with her and two other people accused in the teen's death.

Calderas and Isis Schauer, who is serving a 20-year sentence for second-degree murder, told authorities that they helped burn Steinfeld's body after another suspect, Andrew Vrba, gouged out Steinfeld's eyes, repeatedly stabbed the teen — including multiple times in the genitals — and bragged about the killing, according to court records. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Vrba when he goes on trial next year. He told to a detective that he attempted to poison Stenfeld before the stabbing attack, a detective wrote in charging documents.

Vrba, along with Schauer, also told authorities that Calderas mentioned several days earlier that she wanted Steinfeld to die. But Calderas disputed that, saying she didn't want Steinfeld dead, the detective wrote.

A fourth suspect, 27-year-old James Grigsby, was sentenced to four years in prison for abandonment of a corpse for helping the others to dispose of the body.

Calderas has a sentencing hearing in July.

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