Jefferson City, MO 73° View Live Radar Tue H 87° L 72° Wed H 97° L 78° Thu H 97° L 79° Weather Sponsored By:

Bustamante civil case settled

Bustamante civil case settled

July 25th, 2017 by Bob Watson in News

In this Jan. 10, 2012 file photo, Elizabeth Olten's mother, Patty Preiss, in dark wind breaker center, leaves the Cole County Courthouse with supporters after Alyssa Bustamante entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder. In October 2009, 9-year-old Elizabeth was found murdered near her St. Martins home.

Photo by News Tribune

Alyssa Bustamante owes Patricia Preiss $5 million — plus interest at 9 percent per year until the debt is paid — according to a settlement Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem approved Monday.

Bustamante, now 23, was 15 when she killed Preiss' daughter, nine-year-old Elizabeth Olten, in 2009 and buried her in a shallow grave near the Lomo Drive homes where both girls lived.

Bustamante pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2012, to second-degree murder and armed criminal action charges.

Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Pat Joyce sentenced her to life in prison for the murder, with the possibility of parole, to be followed by a 30-year sentence for the armed criminal action conviction.

The state appeals court in Kansas City has upheld her conviction and sentences, which she is serving at the Women's Eastern Missouri Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, Vandalia.

Bustamante signed the settlement agreement on March 28, but documents show Preiss didn't agree to it until Monday.

The agreement erases the need for a Aug. 7-8 jury trial on a lawsuit that Preiss filed on Oct. 16, 2015 — five days short of the sixth anniversary of her daughter's death. Bustamante was the only defendant.

Beetem had dismissed a previous lawsuit in May 2015, which originally had included Pathways Behavioral Healthcare and two of its employees as defendants.

The mental health provider argued state and federal privacy laws prohibited it from releasing Bustamante's medical records showing how the agency had treated her.

Related Article

Appeals court rejects Bustamante claim of ineffective trial lawyers

Read more

Although not named as a defendant in the now-settled lawsuit, Preiss still argued Olten died while Bustamante was under Pathways' care and treatment, and that her "violent propensities were well-documented from a young age."

The lawsuit lists those propensities as including "a declaration on her 'MySpace' page that her hobbies were 'cutting; killing people,'" a video showing Bustamante teasing her younger brothers so they touch an electrified fence, "a picture of Bustamante holding a knife to another girl's throat, and other evidence as shall be determined in discovery in this matter."

Both counts in the suit are wrongful death claims and both argued "Bustamante's actions in causing or contributing to cause Olten's death were intentional, and Bustamante intended to cause Olten harm by her actions."

The settlement covered the first count in the lawsuit, and Preiss agreed to dismiss the remaining "counts, claims and causes of action with prejudice" — meaning they can't be raised in any future lawsuit against Bustamante or her heirs, estate, trustees and anyone else who might be given "authority to act for or on behalf of" Bustamante, for anything "related to the death of Olten."

Preiss also agreed not to collect from Bustamante's prison accounts "less than $500," but the agreement said it's "expressly understood that Preiss shall be entitled to collect any amounts in excess of $500."

Bustamante must notify Preiss, "in writing in advance if she accepts compensation, payments" or any other gift or form of property "in return for her comments, participation, appearance, opinions, accounts (or) any related media coverage, documentary, movie, book, television show or series" about Olten's murder and Bustamante's arrest, court proceedings, incarceration, appeals or future events.

The agreement also says that "execution" of its terms "is limited to amounts in excess of $25,000 per year."

If Bustamante violates the agreement, the consent judgment that authorized it will become void.

Related Article

How to handle children who kill?

Read more