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Bustamante's journal recounts how she killed 9-year-old girl

Bustamante's journal recounts how she killed 9-year-old girl

February 7th, 2012 in News

This courtroom sketch by News Tribune artist Jim Dyke shows Alyssa Bustamante with her public defender, Donald Catlett.

Photo by Jim Dyke

A journal of Alyssa Bustamante matter of factly described how she killed 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten in October 2009 and described the experience as "ahmazing,' according to testimony Monday in her sentencing hearing.

Bustamante, now 18, pleaded guilty Jan. 10 to second-degree murder for the Oct. 21, 2009, killing. Two days of hearings have been scheduled before Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce imposes a sentence, which could be up to life in prison with a possibility of parole.

Alyssa's attorney, Public Defender Donald Catlett, said it was their intent to show Joyce that the severe emotional damage she suffered growing up in a broken home helped lead to the events of October 2009.

He said they also would show that her age and development may have led to her actions, as well as her struggle with severe mental illness for more than two years - and that her family had a history of dealing with that disease.