Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for one of the suspects in Missouri transgender teen’s murder whose eyes were gouged out and the body set on fire, Kansas City Star reported.
A notice was requesting the sentence for Andrew Vrba, 18, was filed in the court. Vrba is accused of first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Missouri transgender Ally Steinfeld. Vrba’s attorney, Michael Barrett, who also is director of the state public defender office, declined to comment before the hearing at which a trial date will be scheduled.
Detectives say Steinfeld was stabbed several times, including in the genitals. Detectives aren’t saying what led to the killing, but Texas County Sheriff James Sigman and prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. have insisted Steinfeld’s gender identity did not motivate the crime.
One female defendant, Isis Schauer, 18, has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for second-degree murder, while another, Briana Calderas, 24, awaits a first-degree murder trial. A fourth defendant, James Grigsby, has pleaded not guilty to abandonment of a corpse and tampering with evidence, according to Houston Herald.
Steinfeld’s remains were found in September in the town of Cabool in Missouri, near the mobile home of Calderas, with whom Steinfeld was living. Steinfeld had been missing few weeks. Cabool is a rural area about 75 miles east of Springfield.
Vrba told detectives he initially tried to poison Steinfeld, then described how he stabbed Steinfeld in the living room of Caldera’s mobile home, Deputy Rowdy Douglas wrote in a probable cause statement. The female suspects said Vrba bragged to them about how he gouged Steinfeld’s eyes and stabbed Steinfeld in the genitals, Douglas wrote.
Detectives say the three defendants burned Steinfeld’s body, placed the bones into a garbage bag and put the bag in the chicken coop. Briana Calderas admitted helping burn the body and led detectives to the knife used in the murder.