Alyssa Bustamante’s Guilty Plea Appeal Delayed
COLE COUNTY, Mo. (KMOX) – The appeal of Alyssa Bustamante’s guilty plea will not be heard tomorrow as previously scheduled.
The Cole County Circuit Court confirms that Bustamante’s attorney has been granted a continuance. No new date has been set.
Attorney Gary Brotherton contends that Bustamante was denied her right to due process when she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the October 2009 strangulation and stabbing death of nine-year-old Elizabeth Olten.
Bustamante was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in February 2012, the maximum possible sentence. Brotherton argues that Bustamante’s public defenders provided ineffective counsel.
Bustamante was 15-years-old at the time of Elizabeth Olten’s murder in the small town of St. Martins, just west of Jefferson City. Evidence presented during her hearing revealed that Bustamante had dug a shallow grave in the woods several days in advance, then used her younger sister to lure Elizabeth out of her home with an invitation to play.
Bustamante, who had hidden a knife in a backpack, said she had a surprise for Elizabeth in the forest. She used the knife to slit the young girl’s throat after strangling her into unconsciousness.