Alyssa Bustamante, 15, Pleads Not Guilty in 9-Year-Old's Stabbing

Prosecutors say girl strangled, stabbed young neighbor, dug ditch for body.

Dec. 8, 2009— -- A 15-year-old Missouri girl pleaded not guilty today to stabbing and strangling a 9-year-old neighbor girl, and allegedly digging a ditch in which to bury her.

Lawyers for Alyssa Bustamante entered a not-guilty plea to charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Oct. 21 killing of Elizabeth Olten, 9.

Bustamante, who is to be tried as an adult, sat silently in the courtroom and avoided making eye contact.

Authorities say Bustamante dug two holes before Elizabeth's death and later led them to her body. The teenager previously told state police that she wanted to know what it was like to kill someone, a highway patrol officer said.

"Ultimately, she stated she wanted to know what it felt like," Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. David Rice testified in court last month.

Prosecutors have portrayed Bustamante as a cold, calculated killer.

"She committed the murder after deliberation, which means cool deliberation or cool reflection on the matter for any length of time," Cole County prosecutor Mark Richardson previously told the court.

Today's arraignment lasted less than one minute.

Olten vanished Oct. 21, but it wasn't long after that police found what Cole Country Sheriff Greg White called "written evidence" that led them to Bustamante.

If convicted, Bustamante could be sentenced to life in prison.

The suspect did not have a prior criminal record, police said, but a left behind a trail of disturbing writings and videos on the Internet.

A grim portrait of Bustamante emerged earlier based on writings on the Internet, including a YouTube profile in which "killing people" is listed under the girl's hobbies.

Bustamante is being held without bail in Cole County Jail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.