JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Alyssa Bustamante looked down, her long brown hair covering her teenage eyes, as a judge read the charges against her: murder and armed criminal action, for knowingly strangling, cutting and stabbing her 9-year-old neighbor.
For more than two years after she was arrested as a high school sophomore, Bustamante had been publicly silent about the gruesome crime, which a patrol officer testified she confessed to committing because "she wanted to know what it felt like." On Tuesday, it was her time to talk.
Describe what you did, a judge instructed Bustamante, as she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing Elizabeth Olten.
"I strangled her and stabbed her in the chest," Bustamante said in a clear voice, looking straight at the judge.
"Did you cut her throat too?" the judge asked.
"Yes," Bustamante responded.
A lesser charge means she may serve as little as ten years for killing an innocent child. Considering the nature of the crime, the planning and the utter lack of remorse, that is not enough. The horror of the torture and murder is not the only reason we need to keep this young woman out of society. With someone like her free to roam, we are not safe. What if she wondered what it was like to kill someone else?
Common sense says she is dangerous, science says she may repeat her crime. This is the exception to the rule. Lock her up and throw away the key. Her victim and the family deserve it, and so do the rest of us.