JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
A national advocacy group wants Gov. Mike Parson to veto a criminal justice bill over changes to the state's parole board hearings.
The National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Murderers called for the veto of Senate Bill 26, which deals with several public safety issues. Included in the bill is a change to the state's parole rules. It would allow a person convicted of a crime with a 15-year sentence when they were a minor to ask for a parole hearing after 15 years of incarceration.
Such a change would apply to Alyssa Bustamante, a Cole County woman that admitted in 2012 to killing her 9-year-old neighbor Elizabeth Olten in St. Martins. Law enforcement said Bustamante fantasized about the killing and buried Olten in a grave she dug. Bustamante was 15 at the time of the murder in 2009. She received a life sentence plus 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action.
NOVJM started an online petition on behalf of Olten's family to get Parson to veto the bill. Bustamante currently qualifies for a parole hearing in 2044. If the 15-year period proposed in SB 26 was measured from her date of conviction, Bustamante would be eligible for parole as soon as Feb. 2027. If it were measured from the start of her incarceration in jail, she could apply for a parole hearing in 2024. The group said a parole hearing would force Olten's family to relive the pain of the murder.
“Bustamante fantasized about murdering people, devised a plan to murder Elizabeth, and then carried out that murder. She poses a significant risk and should not be allowed to victimize others ever again," the statement said.
The bill passed the Senate on a 23-9 vote, and the Missouri House of Representatives on a 108-47 vote. Members of both parties voted for and against the bill in each chamber. The bill also increases penalties for people that vandalize public monuments and requires law enforcement agencies report use of force data to the FBI.