The trial for a teenager accused of killing a 9 year-old neighbor in October 2009 has been delayed again, and won’t be held until next year, according to the Jefferson City News Tribune.
Prosecutor Mark Richardson told the judge that his office has evidence in the case against Alyssa Bustamante, 17, that still needed to be tested, which would take another six weeks. Richardson says because of that, there is no way his office would be ready for the Sept. 13 trial date.
Bustamanate’s public defenders, Donald Catlett and Charles Moreland, say they also would have to look over this evidence and, therefore, would need more time.
Judge Joyce has set Jan. 10 and 11 for jury selection in Greene County, and the trial is slated to begin immediately after that. Greene County jurors will be brought to Cole County for the trial.
Bustamante is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Oct. 21, 2009, stabbing and strangling death of Elizabeth Olten in rural Cole County.
Also at the hearing, Catlett and Moreland said Prosecutor Richardson’s office has not turned over evidence as required by law. Richardson says he would comply with the judge’s order that it be turned over to the defense team two weeks before the trial. Moreland argues that a mere dump of documents would not be sufficient to meet what is required by the law, unless there was a list of witnesses and evidence that the prosecution planned to use in the trial.
Reporter Jeff Haldiman, who covered the hearing, says Bustamante was not in the courtroom Tuesday, but family members were, leading to heightened security both inside and outside the courtroom.
“After people cleared security to enter the courthouse, a second electronic wand was used to check all persons going into the courtroom and, once the hearing was closed to the public and media, no one was allowed to leave or enter the courthouse’s fourth floor, where Joyce’s courtroom is located,” he reports.