Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Alyssa Bustamante and the Murder of Elizabeth Olten

Entering a Plea

On December 8, 2009, Alyssa Bustamante walked in shackles and handcuffs into the Jefferson City courtroom wearing a lime green prison jumpsuit. Her brown hair hung in her eyes. Her chin still jutted, but her defiance had been muted by the events of the previous months.

The circus had come to town: reporters were allowed inside.

Even with a confession, Bustamante entered a not guilty plea.

More than two years later, on January 10, 2012, Alyssa Bustamante pleaded guilty to second degree murder and armed criminal action.  Her first-degree murder trial was scheduled to start later in the month; if convicted, she faced life without parole.  Now, having entered a guilty plea, she stood a chance of being released.  The punishment for murder in the second degree can be life with the possibility of parole, or 10-30 years.  The sentence for armed criminal action is three years to life.

After she pleaded guilty, Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce had Alyssa describe her actions on Oct. 21, 2009. 

"I strangled her and stabbed her in the chest," Alyssa said. When asked if she also cut Elizabeth Olten's throat, she responded, "Yes."

According to her attorney Charlie Moreland, Alyssa decided to plead guilty because "she wanted to take responsibility for it."

On February 8, Alyssa Bustamante was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.  During a sentencing hearing, forensic consultant Don Locke read aloud to the court a page from Bustamante's diary, dated the day of the Elizabeth Olten's murder.  The entry had been scratched out, but Locke was able to recover it. It read,

"I just f*cking killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throats and stabbed them. Now they're dead. I don't know how to feel ATM. It was ahmazing. As soon as you get over the 'Oh My Gawd. I can't do this' feeling it's pretty enjoyable. I'm kinda nervous and shaking though right now. Kay, I got to go to church now LOL."

Alyssa Bustamante
Alyssa Bustamante

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