The Sentencing of Child Thrill Killer Alyssa Bustamante

COMMENTARY | In October of 2009, 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante premeditated and carried out the strangulation and stabbing death of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten. Yesterday, Feb. 8, a sentence was passed on the now 18-year-old Bustamante to life in prison on the charge of second-degree murder. This charge was reduced from first-degree murder on the grounds that she co-operates to avoids a lengthy trial.

In 2009, Bustamante had taken some time to think through and plan this murder. Police report that she had recorded this ambition in her diary. On the day of the murder, Bustamante had baited out Olten on the premise of playing with her little sister. Once she managed to convince Bustamante to come to the forest with her, Bustamante killed the 9-year-old.

The defense for Bustamante tried to argue the sentence down, citing that she was depressed, using Prozac, and that Prozac gave her violent tendencies. It was suggested that Bustamante’s condition was treatable if only she had the proper help. These pleas did not carry much sway in the court when compared to Bustamante’s journal entries describing the act and the thrill of killing, witness testimony of her expressing “wanting to know what it felt like” in reference to killing, and her own confession.

It will be almost 30 years before Bustamante is eligible for parole, and that hinges on whether or not she passes a psych evaluation.

There is little sympathy for Bustamante. There are a few cases of people claiming her sentence might be a little too harsh, but little is said for the fact that a 15-year-old murderess was tried as an adult. Why should there be? Regardless of how fallible Bustamante is, or how many external influences might have been involved; the damage is done. A 9-year-old girl died and a 15-year-old girl has experienced a pleasure that no humane person should ever experience. Normality and sanity, if ever were present, are far cries from possible now. Bustamante has almost 30 years to try to get her humanity back … or remain safely put away from harming anyone else.

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