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A Missouri teenager was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison for the 2009 murder of a 9-year-old girl, a horrific slaying the teen later described in her diary as "ahmazing."
The Associated Press reports that the judge gave Alyssa Bustamante the maximum sentence allowed under law for second-degree murder, although she will be eligible for parole when she is in her early 50s. Bustamante, who had previously pleaded guilty, expressed her condolences publicly for the first time before the judge handed down the sentence.
"I really am extremely, very sorry for everything," the 18-year-old said. "I know words 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."
The details, as recounted by the AP story, of the case are chilling: Bustamante, then 15, strangled and stabbed Elizabeth Olton to death in October of 2009, after luring the young girl out of her house to play. The disturbed teenager had preemptively dug a grave in the woods and buried Olton’s body at the site before later going to a dance at her parents’ Mormon church.
Defense attorneys argued that Bustamante was the victim of a broken home—born to teenage drug abusers, and later sent to live with her grandmother. She had also attempted suicide two years before the incident, and was taking the antidepressant Prozac. One of her attorneys, described her as "a child who had been spiraling out of control, but has treatable conditions."
But prosecutors, and many people following the trial, saw no remorse in the teenager, as the Los Angeles Times notes. One of her diary entries, which was read aloud in court, included this particularly disturbing passage:
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.