Nation

Mo. teen gets life in killing of 9-year-old

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri teenager who had described the slaying of a young neighbor girl as an “ahmazing’’ thrill made an emotional apology yesterady to the girl’s family and was sentenced to a potential lifetime in prison.

Moments before her sentence was imposed, 18-year-old Alyssa Bustamante rose from her chair — with shackles linking her ankles and holding her hands to her waist — and turned to face the family of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, whom she confessed to killing in October 2009.

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“I really am extremely, very sorry for everything. I know words,’’ she said, pausing to take a deep breath and struggling to compose herself, “can never be enough, and they can never adequately describe how horribly I feel for all of this.’’

She later added: “If I could give my life to get her back, I would. I’m sorry.’’

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Elizabeth’s mother, Patty Preiss, stared ahead as Bustamante apologized.

Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce then sentenced Bustamante to the maximum possible sentence for second-degree murder: life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Elizabeth’s family declined to comment about the sentencing, as did Bustamante’s family.

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There were no immediate indications that Bustamante planned to appeal the sentence.

Bustamante originally had been charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty last month to the lesser charges to avoid a trial and the possibility of spending her life in an adult prison.

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