Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alyssa Bustamante: Prosecutors Can't Use Part of Killer Teen's Confession

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Alyssa Bustamante: The jury may not hear some of her most chilling statements to police.
  • Alyssa Bustamante: The jury may not hear some of her most chilling statements to police.
Alyssa Bustamante, the then-15-year-old Missouri kid who allegedly strangled and stabbed her nine-year-old neighbor to death in 2009, told police she'd committed the crime because she "wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone."

But a jury may not get a chance to hear those chilling -- and much publicized -- words. Yesterday, Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce ruled that at least part of Bustamante's statement to police is not admissible, concluding that the juvenile officers questioning Bustamante used "deceptive tactics."

As the Associated Press reports today, it's not clear exactly which parts of the teen killer's statement won't be allowed at trial: The judge's ruling references specific lines of a transcript of Bustamante's interview, but the transcript is currently under seal. The defense motion that led to the judge's decision was also filed under seal.
But it could have a big impact on the case against Bustamante, who -- thanks in part to the release of those statements from her interview with police -- has been painted in the media as a freakish thrill killer. (God knows that the publicly available photos of her do little to help her cause, either -- admissible or not, this kid clearly had issues.)

Per the AP:

Assistant prosecutor Anji Gandhi and Bustamante's attorney, Charles Moreland, both said separately that they were prohibited from detailing whether the judge's order suppressed the statements referenced in court in 2009, or even whether the order covered most or only a small portion of Bustamante's statement.

But "what may have been heard at the juvenile hearing is not going to be relevant for what's heard at this trial," Moreland said. "When this thing is tried, the jury is going to hear a very different case than what was heard at that juvenile hearing."

Bustamante is being tried as an adult on a first-degree murder charge. Her trial is expected to begin in Jefferson City on September 13.

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