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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mo. girl, 15, pleads not guilty in 9-year-old's slaying


UPDATED: Bustamante has pleaded not guilty. The prosecution's alleged motive?

Earlier Wednesday, a police officer testified that Bustamante had confessed to killing Elizabeth because she wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.

Police testified that Elizabeth Olten did nothing to provoke the attack against her, and that the teenage suspect led authorities to the girl’s body after they questioned her.

Asked by juvenile justice attorney Samantha Green whether the teen gave a reason for killing the girl, highway patrol Sgt. David Rice replied “ultimately, she stated she wanted to know what it felt like.”

UPDATED: The News Tribune reports that Alyssa Bustamante, 15, has been certified to stand trial as an adult.

PREVIOUSLY: In Jeff City, a judge is going to hear arguments today whether the 15-year-old accused of murdering Elizabeth Olten, 9, in Cole County should be tried as an adult. (Olten disappeared while walking home a couple of weeks ago. Her body was later found in a wooded area.)

How do they decide if a youth should be treated as an adult? Slate's Explainer feature had a piece on this a few years ago:

The factors judges consider also vary by state, but based on the Supreme Court's direction in Kent v. United States, they generally include the following: the nature and circumstances of the crime; whether the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, or premeditated manner; the merit of the charges; the sophistication, maturity, and prior history of the minor; the need to protect the public; and the likelihood that the child can be treated and rehabilitated.

Like all judicial findings, these decisions are subject to appeal.

File photo of Olten above ...


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