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Trial Underway for Andrew Vrba in 2017 MO Murder of Joseph M. Steinfeld - Page 2
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Thread: Trial Underway for Andrew Vrba in 2017 MO Murder of Joseph M. Steinfeld

  1. #11
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    2020 trial in county death penalty case

    Houston Herald

    A 19-year-old Houston man will stand trial in a brutal Texas County murder in August 2020, it was decided during a conference call Friday.

    Andrew J. Vrba is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of the corpse of Joseph M. Steinfeld, 17, who was transitioning to a female and killed in September 2017 north of Cabool. Steinfield went by the name, Ally. Vrba could face the death penalty.

    Prosecutors said they are ready to hold the trial, but Vrbas lawyers say their workload is so heavy they wouldnt be able to mount a defense under the summer of 2020. Vrba is represented the Missouri Public Defenders Office. Two attorneys who specialize in capital cases, Thomas Jacquinot and Patrick Berrigan, both of Kansas City, are assigned to the Vrba case.

    They also represented Craig Wood, who was convicted of killing 10-year-old Hailey Owens in Springfield, in a high-profile Missouri case.

    Holden set Vrba's trial to begin Aug. 3, 2020, in Greene County. He set aside three weeks: one week for jury selection and two weeks for the trial, according to court records. The case had been set to be heard in Steelville on a change of venue, but the judge assigned to the case was defeated in an election last year.

    Holden will next meet with attorneys on May 6 for a pre-trial conference.

    Three others were also charged with murdering Steinfeld north of Cabool at a trailer.

    Isis Schauer, 19, of Houston, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, the charge against Schauer was lowered from first-degree murder to second-degree murder. She is appealing the sentence. She cites ineffective counsel and that her plea was not voluntary or knowledgeable.

    Briana Calderas, 25, of Cabool, will stand trial the week of Feb. 25 in Pulaski County Circuit Court at Waynesville. She is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse at her residence where authorities said the crime occurred. She could face life in prison without a chance of probation or parole.

    A fourth person, James T. Grigsby, 26, of Thayer, pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse and was sentenced to four years in prison in July 2018.

    Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. said the lengthy incarceration for Vrba raises concerns about the cost of housing the suspect in Greene County. Vrba will likely be held in Texas County unless the county agrees to pay board bill to Greene County.

    At the conference, Stevens and Judge Calvin Holden also agreed that the county prosecutor could talk to the Texas County sheriff about possibly arranging some sort of deal in which Greene County inmates could be housed in Texas County while Vrba is in Springfield to offset costs.

    https://www.houstonherald.com/news/t...e46919045.html
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  2. #12
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
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    Texas County prosecutor deployed to Afghanistan for a year, says cases will not be affected

    By Jackie Rehwald
    Springfield News-Leader

    Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. will be leaving for a year-long deployment to Afghanistan later this week. He has been ordered to deploy from Feb. 1, 2019, to March of 2020.

    Stevens is a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, having served for the past 16 years.

    Stevens was set to prosecute the two remaining suspects in the murder of transgender teen Ally Steinfeld. Steinfeld's burned remains were found in a chicken coop near Cabool in September 2017.

    Briana Calderas' jury trial is set to begin in February in Pulaski County.

    Andrew Vrba is scheduled to have a jury trial beginning in August of 2020 in Greene County.

    Both Calderas and Vrba are charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse.

    Vrba, who investigators say wielded the knife, is facing the death penalty.

    Stevens said neither case will be affected by his deployment.

    "The (Missouri) Attorney General will handle the Vrba case in my absence, however I will be back before it goes to trial," Stevens said in an email. "... Ms Calderas will be handled by my office and Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney office, who was appointed as special assistant prosecuting attorney."

    Two others have already been convicted and sent to prison for their role in Steinfeld's death. Isis Schauer was convicted of second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. James T. Grigsby, was charged with abandonment of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the case.

    According to the Houston Herald, Jason MacPherson was appointed acting prosecutor by Circuit Judge William Hickle. James Webber will become assistant prosecutor.

    MacPherson has been with the Wright County's prosecutor's office for 12 years.

    In a statement posted to the Texas County Prosecutor's Facebook page, Stevens said in part:

    "Every day I am excited to come to work and do a job that I love. As long as I am your Prosecuting Attorney I will perform this job to the best of my abilities in order to seek justice for the citizens of our County and the citizens of the State of Missouri ...

    "Rest assured the prosecuting attorney duties will be completed ..." Parks wrote. "I am confident both of these exceptional attorneys will be dedicated to serving Texas County and seeking justice. The office will continue to be staffed and operate normally in my absence."

    https://www.news-leader.com/story/ne...go/2702754002/

  3. #13
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    Trial delayed for woman charged in teens murder

    Houston Herald

    The trial of a Cabool woman charged with the 2017 murder of a Texas County teenager has been delayed.

    Briana Calderas, 25, of Malberg Road, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse related to September 2017 death of Joseph Steinfeld, 17, on her property. The new trial dates are May 13-17. She was to have stood trial Feb. 25 to March 1 in Pulaski County.

    Calderas was among four charged in the death of Steinfeld, 17, who went by Ally and was transitioning to female, according to relatives. A co-defendant, Andrew Vrba, is awaiting trial, which is to begin Aug. 3, 2020. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

    James Grigsby was sentenced earlier and another person, Isis Schauer, entered a guilty plea but is seeking to have her 20-year sentence set aside.

    https://www.houstonherald.com/news/t...d06d61520.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #14
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    Cabool womans murder trial begins next week

    By Houston Herald

    A Cabool woman accused of participating in a murder at her residence will stand trial beginning next week in Waynesville.

    Jury selection for Briana Calderas will start Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

    Calderas is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse and could face life in prison, if convicted. She is held without bond.

    Prosecution of the case will be handled by Phelps County Prosecutor Brendon Fox, in the absence of Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr., who is serving as part of a military deployment.

    Circuit Judge John Beger is slated to hear motions in the case on Tuesday.

    Calderas was among four charged in the September 2017 death of Joseph Steinfeld, 17, who went by Ally and was transitioning to female, according to relatives. A co-defendant, Andrew Vrba, is awaiting trial next year and is held in Greene County. He faces the death penalty, if convicted.

    Two other persons were earlier sent to prison for their participation in the murder.

    https://www.houstonherald.com/news/c...3bbc61f83.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #15
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    In deal, woman enters guilty plea in teen's death

    By Houston Herald

    A Cabool woman pleaded guilty late Thursday morning for her part in the 2017 murder of a teen north of Cabool.

    Briana Calderas, 26, was scheduled to stand trial for the first-degree murder beginning Monday in Pulaski County in Waynesville. Pre-trial motions were heard Tuesday.

    Calderas entered guilty pleas to lesser charges of abandonment of a corpse, concealing a felony and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution. All are class E felonies.

    Calderas was among four charged in the September 2017 death of Joseph Steinfeld, 17, who went by Ally and was transitioning to female, according to relatives. A co-defendant, Andrew Vrba, is awaiting trial next year and is held in Greene County. He faces the death penalty, if convicted.

    Two other persons were earlier sent to prison for their participation in the murder.

    Calderas will be sentenced July 10.

    Prosecution of the case is handled by Phelps County Prosecutor Brendon Fox, in the absence of Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr., who is serving as part of a military deployment.

    https://www.houstonherald.com/news/i...e01658b92.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #16
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    Woman sentenced to eight years in county murder

    By Houston Herald

    A Cabool woman charged in the brutal murder of a teen north of Cabool in 2017 was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday afternoon at Waynesville.

    Briana Calderas, 26, entered guilty pleas in May to lesser charges of abandonment of a corpse, concealing a felony and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution. All are class E felonies. She had earlier been charged with first-degree murder.

    Calderas was sentenced to four years on each charge, but the sentences for concealing a felony and tampering with evidence are to run concurrently under the sentence from Circuit Judge John Beger.

    Calderas was among four charged in the September 2017 death of Joseph Steinfeld, 17, who went by Ally and was transitioning to female, according to relatives. The remains were found on Calderas property near a trailer. A co-defendant, Andrew Vrba, is awaiting trial next year and is held in Greene County. He faces the death penalty, if convicted.

    Two other persons were earlier sent to prison for their participation in the murder.

    Isis Schauer was sentenced to 20 years in prison in December. As part of a plea agreement, the charge against Schauer was lowered from first-degree murder to second-degree murder.

    Schauer is appealing her sentence alleging she had an ineffective public defender and the plea was not voluntary.

    A fourth person, James T. Grigsby, of Thayer, pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse and was sentenced to four years in prison.

    Prosecution of the case is handled by Phelps County Prosecutor Brendon Fox, in the absence of Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr., who is serving as part of a military deployment.

    https://www.houstonherald.com/news/w...a6a73df30.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  7. #17
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    Suspect in Texas County trans teen murder case appears in court

    By Jackie Rehwald
    Springfield News-Leader

    The Texas County man accused of killing a transgender teen in 2017 was in a Greene County courtroom Wednesday.

    Andrew Vrba, 20, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse for his alleged role in the murder of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld.

    If convicted, Vrba faces the death penalty.

    Vrba's case was originally assigned to a Crawford County court, but that judge was defeated in his reelection bid. The case was then moved to Greene County and assigned to Judge Calvin Holden.

    Steinfeld's burned and mutilated body was found in a chicken coop in Cabool after her family reported the teen missing.

    Three other people have already pleaded guilty for their roles in Steinfeld's death and are in prison.

    Steinfeld is referred to by her birth name in court and throughout court documents. But according to Steinfeld's public Facebook and Instagram accounts, she identified as a transgender woman and had transitioned to using the name Ally Lee Steinfeld.

    In court Wednesday, Vrba's defense attorney Tom Jacquinot talked about some of his motions and requests for disclosure.

    The defense made motions to have an expanded pretrial jury questionnaire that emphasizes views on the death penalty and to have an evidentiary hearing on the constitutionality of the Missouri death penalty.

    Holden set that evidentiary hearing for July 9, 2020.

    Vrba, wearing a black and white Greene County jail jumpsuit, sat quietly by Jacquinot.

    Jacquinot, with the Capital Division of Missouri State Public Defenders Office in Kansas City, is typically assigned death penalty cases in Missouri.

    Texas County Prosecutor Parke J. Stevens Jr. is currently deployed in Afghanistan and set to return in March 2020.

    Zoellner, with the Attorney General's Office, is assigned to assist prosecution in the case and was in court Wednesday.

    A jury trial is set to begin Aug. 3, 2020.

    Concerns about former sheriff

    In court, Jacquinot expressed concerns about chain of custody and the handling of evidence. At the time of the murder and investigation, James Sigman was sheriff of Texas County.

    Sigman has since been removed from office and is charged with first-degree assault, robbery, endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful use of a weapon, harassment, misuse of official information by a public servant and false impersonation.

    Sigman has not been endorsed as a witness in the case.

    Jacquinot said the Texas County Sheriff's evidence room was in "disarray" and that there was "evidence unfathomably missing that should have been seized or logged in this case."

    One "glaring" example, according to Jacquinot, was a cell phone that belonged to Isis Schauer, Vrba's then-girlfriend. (Schauer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse and is serving a 20-year sentence.)

    According to Jacquinot, while Schauer was initially interviewed by law enforcement, she gave her phone to officers. The officers examined the phone and found messages between her, Vrba and Briana Calderas. (Calderas pleaded guilty to lesser charges and is serving an 8-year sentence.)

    The three were communicating about what they would tell Steinfeld's family, Jacquinot said. An officer told Schauer that he planned to seize the phone and that she would not be allowed to delete anything.

    "The cell phone disappears," Jacquinot told the judge.

    Zoellner argued that Sigman "may have been technically in charge, but he didn't collect evidence. He didn't do interviews."

    Jacquinot disagreed, saying that Sigman appeared in a video-taped interrogation.

    The 'nature' of their relationships

    During a discussion about items that may require court orders or subpoenas, Jacquinot spoke about the nature of the relationship between Steinfeld, Vrba, Calderas and Schauer.

    At the time of the murder, Vrba and Schauer were engaged, and Calderas and Steinfeld were dating.

    Calderas, now 26, was originally charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of abandonment of a corpse, concealing a felony and tampering with physical evidence.

    "Her stature in the (group) and her influence on Mr. Vrba and Ms. Schauer is an issue," Jacquinot said. "The nature of that relationship is something the jury has a right to know."

    According to a motion filed by the defense, sometime in late August of 2017 Calderas convinced Steinfeld to break up with Steinfeld's teenage girlfriend so that Steinfeld and Calderas could see each other.

    Prior to that, Steinfeld, along with Schauer, Vrba, who were both 18 at the time, and Steinfeld's teenage girlfriend had been living together "peacefully" with Schauer's grandmother in Houston, the motion says.

    Schauer and Vrba were recent high school graduates. Schauer was pregnant and Vrba had plans to enlist in the military, according to the defense's motion.

    "The onset of trouble, drama, and conflict occurred when Cadleras entered the picture," the motion reads. "She was 6-7 years senior to the two teenaged couples who lived with 'grandma.'"

    "Despite being a single working mother recently separated from her husband, Calderas socially gravitated towards high school aged teenagers. The record suggests that, despite her own addiction, she continued to drink and supplied Steinfeld and other underage minors with alcohol," the defense's motion reads in part.

    According to the motion, a law enforcement officer deposed in Calderas' case described Calderas as having an "alpha" presence over the teenagers and was the "ringleader."

    In court, Jacquinot talked about how Calderas told at least half a dozen people that Steinfeld mistreated Calderas.

    "She is playing the victim," Jacquinot said.

    Calderas is not anticipated to be called as a witness at Vrba's trial, Jacquinot said.

    About the case

    According to online court documents, the prosecution intends to prove the following statutory aggravating circumstances: that the alleged murder in the first degree was "outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, or depravity of mind."

    Steinfeld's family reported the teen missing Sept. 14, 2017, saying no one had seen Steinfeld for a couple weeks.

    Steinfeld's remains were found in Sept. 20, 2017, near Calderas' mobile home just north of Cabool.

    According to the probable cause statement written by a detective with the Texas County Sheriff's Office, Schauer and Calderas told authorities they helped burn Steinfeld's body after Vrba repeatedly stabbed the teen and bragged about the killing.

    Vrba told investigators he had to kill Steinfeld and initially tried to poison Steinfeld, though the probable cause statement didn't provide a possible motive for the attack. The detective wrote that Vrba then described how he stabbed Steinfeld in the living room of the home.

    Vrba said the trio burned Steinfeld's body, and placed some of the bones into a garbage bag and that the bag was placed in a chicken coop near the residence. The women said Vrba told them he had gouged Steinfeld's eyes and stabbed the teen in the genitals, and bragged about the killing, the detective wrote.

    The detective said Calderas admitted Steinfeld was killed at her home and that she helped burn the body, but that she didn't want Steinfeld dead. Schauer and Vrba disagreed, saying that Calderas mentioned several days earlier that she wanted Steinfeld to die.

    Calderas led authorities to the knife used in the killing and Steinfeld's phone, the detective wrote.

    A fourth person, James T. Grigsby, pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse and was sentenced to four years in prison.

    Grigsby told investigators that Calderas asked him to dispose of Steinfeld's body, according to a probable cause statement. Vrba, Calderas and Schauer then drove to Grigsby's home in Thayer and transported Grigsby to Calderas' mobile home.

    There, Grigsby placed what appeared to be burnt human remains into a plastic sack that he hid in the chicken coop at the residence.

    https://www.news-leader.com/story/ne...rt/4408954002/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  8. #18
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    Suspect in Texas County transgender teen slaying opts for bench trial

    By Jackie Rehwald
    Springfield News-Leader

    The Texas County man accused of killing a transgender teen in 2017 appeared in a Greene County courtroom this week where he opted for a bench trial rather than a jury trial.

    Andrew Vrba, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse for his alleged role in the killing of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld.

    If convicted, Vrba faces the death penalty.

    Vrba's case was originally assigned to a Crawford County court, but that judge was defeated in his re-election bid. The case was then moved to Greene County and assigned to Judge Calvin Holden.

    According to online court records, Vrba's bench trial is set to begin Aug. 3 in Holden's courtroom.

    Steinfeld's burned and mutilated body was found in a chicken coop in Cabool after her family reported the teen missing.

    Three other people have already pleaded guilty for their roles in Steinfeld's death and are in prison.

    About the case

    Steinfeld is referred to by her birth name in court and throughout court documents. But according to Steinfeld's public Facebook and Instagram accounts, she identified as a transgender woman and had transitioned to using the name Ally Lee Steinfeld.

    Steinfeld's family reported the teen missing Sept. 14, 2017, saying no one had seen Steinfeld for a couple of weeks.

    Steinfeld's burned and mutilated remains were found Sept. 20, 2017, in a chicken coop near Briana Calderas' mobile home just north of Cabool.

    According to the probable cause statement written by a detective with the Texas County Sheriff's Office, Isis Schauer and Calderas told authorities they helped burn Steinfeld's body after Vrba repeatedly stabbed the teen and bragged about the killing.

    Vrba told investigators he had to kill Steinfeld and initially tried to poison Steinfeld, the statement said. The detective wrote that Vrba then described how he stabbed Steinfeld in the living room of the home.

    The probable cause statement didn't provide a possible motive for the attack.

    Vrba said the trio burned Steinfeld's body and placed some of the bones into a garbage bag and that the bag was placed in a chicken coop near the residence. The women said Vrba told them he had gouged Steinfeld's eyes and stabbed the teen in the genitals, and bragged about the killing, the detective wrote.

    The detective said Calderas admitted Steinfeld was killed at her home and that she helped burn the body, but that she didn't want Steinfeld dead. Schauer and Vrba disagreed, saying that Calderas mentioned several days earlier that she wanted Steinfeld to die.

    Calderas led authorities to the knife used in the killing and Steinfeld's phone, the detective wrote.

    James T. Grigsby told investigators that Calderas asked him to dispose of Steinfeld's body, according to a probable cause statement. Vrba, Calderas and Schauer then drove to Grigsby's home in Thayer and transported Grigsby to Calderas' mobile home.

    There, Grigsby placed what appeared to be burnt human remains into a plastic sack that he hid in the chicken coop at the residence.

    Schauer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse for the death. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison and is appealing her conviction.

    Calderas pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse, concealing a felony and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution. She was sentenced to eight years.

    Grigsby pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse and was sentenced to four years in prison.

    https://www.news-leader.com/story/ne...al/3174107001/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #19
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    Edited:

    Suspect in trans teen murder in court Thursday, trial to begin Monday

    By Jackie Rehwald
    Springfield News-Leader

    The Texas County man accused of killing a transgender teen in 2017 was in a Greene County courtroom Thursday for a motion hearing to determine if cameras will be allowed when his trial begins Monday.

    Andrew Vrba, now 21, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse for his alleged role in the murder of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld.

    Vrba's case was originally assigned to a Crawford County court, but that judge was defeated in his re-election bid. The case was then moved to Greene County and assigned to Judge Calvin Holden.

    Holden overruled the defense's motion and said cameras will be allowed in a press pool.

    Vrba was originally facing the death penalty, but that is no longer on the table. Texas County prosecutor Parke Stevens said that decision was based "on many factors, to include victims family request."

    In court Thursday, Vrba sat by himself, wearing a black and white Greene County jail jumpsuit. He wore a face mask, as did everyone in the room.

    Defense attorney Tom Jacquinot with the Capital Division of Missouri State Public Defenders Office in Kansas City and Kevin Zoellner, a special prosecutor with the Attorney General's Office, participated via conference calls.

    Stevens appeared by teleconference.

    Jacquinot argued that cameras should not be allowed because Vrba was only 18 when the crime happened and that Vrba was in special education classes throughout school and "graduated barely at the bottom of his class."

    Vrba processes information and deals with stress differently, Jacquinot said, and cameras might interfere with Vrba's ability to understand and communicate with counsel.

    The case garnered worldwide media attention in 2017, Jacquinot reminded the judge.

    What gave the case "media legs" were two statements put in the probable cause statement made, not by Vrba, but by two co-defendants, Jacquinot said.

    Jacquinot was referring to statements made by Calderas and Vrba's girlfriend, Isis Schauer, that Vrba had told the two women that he had mutilated Steinfeld's genitals.

    Vrba has denied mutilating the victim, Jacquinot said.

    Jacquinot went on to say that the deputy who wrote the probable cause statement said in a deposition that the prosecutor insisted he put that in the probable cause statement.

    "These hearsay statements were at the request of the prosecutor," Jacquinot said. "They created a media circus."

    Stevens, on the other hand, argued that courtrooms should be open proceedings. He pointed out that because of the pandemic, there will likely be people who don't attend or who aren't allowed due to occupancy rules.

    "That makes it more imperative to have cameras," Stevens said.

    In the end, Holden ruled that cameras would be allowed.

    The attorneys then discussed if Holden should order a hospital to turn over Steinfeld's records.

    Vrba's attorneys told the judge that Steinfeld had stopped taking medications, was struggling with her mental health and that Steinfeld's family indicated she had talked about suicide and had been in a mental institution at one time.

    Zoellner, the special prosecutor, questioned the purpose of getting Steinfeld's medical records.

    The question to be decided next week, Zoellner said, was not if Vrba killed Steinfeld. That's already been established.

    "It's whether or not it was premeditated," Zoellner said.

    Holden sustained the motion and said the attorneys can argue about what to do with the medical records after they get them.

    https://www.news-leader.com/story/ne...ld/5539474002/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  10. #20
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    Trial starts in case of mutilated, murdered transgender teen

    A trial is set to start Monday for a man charged in the 2017 killing of a transgender teen whose eyes were gouged out and whose body was set on fire in southwest Missouri.

    Andrew Vrba, 21, is charged with 1st-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse in the killing of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld. Three others have pleaded guilty and are in prison for their roles in Steinfeld's death.

    Vrba had been missing for weeks when her burned remains were found in September 2017 in the town of Cabool, a rural area about 70 miles (115 kilometers) east of Springfield.

    Authorities say the crime wasnt motivated by Steinfelds gender identity.

    In June, Vrba opted for a bench trial instead of a jury, the Springfield-News Leader reports.

    Vrba originally faced the death penalty, but Texas County prosecutor Parke Stevens said that's now off the table, based in part on the wishes of Steinfeld's family.

    (source: Associated Press)
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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