Alyssa Bustamante, who turns 18 on Jan. 28, faces a certain future in prison, because her plea last week to second-degree murder - for the Oct. 21, 2009, killing of Elizabeth Olten, 9 - requires Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce to order at least a 10-year sentence.
But how much more of a sentence should be ordered will be argued Feb. 6-7, during a sentencing hearing where Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson and Public Defenders Donald Catlett and Charles Moreland will present evidence for Joyce to consider in determining the final sentence.
"What we hope to be able to do at the sentencing hearing is to show Judge Joyce a more complete picture of who Alyssa Bustamante is," Moreland told reporters last week. "Right now, all the public knows is the girl in the green jail jumpsuit and the Facebook pictures. ... She's a much more complex person, just like any of us are."
Some of that complexity was discussed ....