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When could Alyssa go free?

Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Bustamante is driven away from the Cole County Courthouse in the lead sheriff's vehicle. She was taken to the Missouri Eastern Women's Prison in Vandalia after being sentenced Wednesday to life plus 30 years for second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Bustamante is driven away from the Cole County Courthouse in the lead sheriff's vehicle. She was taken to the Missouri Eastern Women's Prison in Vandalia after being sentenced Wednesday to life plus 30 years for second-degree murder and armed criminal action. Photo by Julie Smith.

After two long days of hearings, it took just 31⁄2 minutes for Alyssa Bustamante to apologize to Elizabeth Olten’s family for murdering Elizabeth 271⁄2 months ago, then hear Judge Patricia Joyce order her sentences.

On Wednesday, Joyce sentenced Bustamante to life in prison for her Jan. 10 guilty plea to second-degree murder, and to 30 years in prison for pleading guilty to the armed criminal action charge.

She also ordered that the charges be served consecutively — that is, the second sentence doesn’t start until the first one ends.

Because parole is possible on both charges, the numbers require more explanation, involving a little math.

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