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Teen murder suspect to be tried as an adult

A photo of Alyssa Bustamante from her Facebook profile.
A photo of Alyssa Bustamante from her Facebook profile.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – A Cole County judge has decided that a teenage girl will be tried as an adult for the murder of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten.

With today's ruling, the suspect's identity has been released: 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante, a resident of St. Martins and a sophomore at Jefferson City High School.

She wore an orange jumpsuit during her status hearing this morning, and was shackled. She showed no emotion as Circuit Judge Jon Beetem announced his ruling. She was then placed under arrest by Cole County Sheriff Greg White and led away.

Prosecutors argued that Bustamante, who's nearly 16, would likely not be rehabilitated by the time she turns 21 and would be set free from the juvenile justice system.

A State Trooper testified that Bustamante led authorites to Olten's body two days after her death, and that she killed her because, "she wanted to know what it felt like."

A juvenile defense attorney argued that Bustamante suffers from depression and would not be able to get proper treatment if transferred to an adult jail.

Testimony and court documents also revealed that Bustamante attempted to commit suicide two years ago, and that her treatment included the prescripton drug Prozac.

Olton's family, including her mother and stepfather, sat quietly in the courtroom during the hearing, weeping at times.

A brief second hearing was also conducted at 1:00 p.m. Bustamante was escorted back into the courtroom, this time wearing a light green jumpsuit.

She lost her juvenile court attorney after being transferred to adult detention, and so was without legal representation during the second hearing. Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce entered a plea of "not guilty" on Bustamante's behalf.