Published February 06, 2012
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A U.S. teenager who admitted stabbing, strangling and slitting the throat of a young neighbor girl wrote in her journal on the night of the killing that it was an "ahmazing" and "pretty enjoyable" experience -- then headed off to church with a laugh.
The words written by Alyssa Bustamante were read aloud in court Monday as part of a sentencing hearing to determine whether she should get life in prison or something less for the October 2009 murder of her neighbor, 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, in Missouri.
Bustamante, 18, sat silently as law enforcement officers, attorneys and forensics experts read aloud the thoughts she had recorded as a 15-year-old.
A handwriting expert described how he was able to see through the blue ink that Bustamante had used in an attempt to cover up her original journal entry on the night of Elizabeth's murder. He read the entry aloud:
"I just f------ killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead. I don't know how to feel atm. It was ahmazing. As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable. I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church now...lol."
The journal entry was presented to the judge not long after Elizabeth's mother and other relatives pleaded with the Cole County judge to impose the maximum sentence. Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action last month and faces at most a sentence of life in prison. The least she could get is 10 years.
Elizabeth's mother, Patty Preiss, described her daughter as "happy, little girl," when she left her home after begging to go play with Bustamante's younger sister.
"So much has been lost at the hands of this evil monster," Preiss tearfully said.
FBI agents seized the journal from Bustamante's bedroom during a search of her family's home the day after Elizabeth went missing as hundreds of volunteers scoured the rural area.
Elizabeth's body was found concealed under leaves in a grave in the woods behind the Bustamante home.
At a hearing in 2009, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. David Rice testified that the teenager told him "she wanted to know what it felt like" to kill someone.
Defense attorneys Monday highlighted Bustamante's troubled childhood, referring to numerous references in her journal describing her suicidal feelings and the urge to hurt herself and others.