Missouri Offenders

Alyssa Bustamante

Victim: Elizabeth Olten, nine

Age at time of murder: 15

Crime date: October 21, 2009

Crime location: Saint Martins

Crimes: Murder of a child

Weapon: Knife & person

Murder method: Strangling & stabbing

Murder motivation: Thrill, entertainment, & enjoyment

Convictions: Guilty plea to second-degree murder and armed criminal action

Sentence: Life with parole eligibility in 35 years

Incarceration status: Incarcerated at the Chillicothe Correctional Center

Diary entries made by teenage murderer Alyssa Bustamente in which she described her pleasure at killing her nine-year-old neighbour Elizabeth Olten have been read to a shocked courtroom.

Bustamante (left) and Elizabeth (right)


Bustamante was a highly disturbed teen with an interest in violence and killing. She told a friend, “I just wonder what it would be like just to kill someone, see the life just drain out of someone. I wonder what it would feel like, that type of power, to take that away from someone.” To satisfy her desire to kill, Bustamante devised and carried out a brutal plan to lure her nine-year-old neighbor to a pre-dug grave in the woods and murder her. Bustamante stabbed and strangled young Elizabeth and buried her in the grave. The killer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life with parole.


Alyssa Bustamante

Bryan Sheppard

VictimsCaptain Gerald Halloran, 57, Captain James Kilventon Jr., 54, Luther Hurd, 31, Michael Oldham, 32, Robert McKarnin, 42, & Thomas Fry, 41

Age at time of murders: 17

Crime date: November 29, 1988

Crime location: Kansas City, MO

Partners in crime: George Sheppard, Earl Sheppard, Darlene Edwards, & Richard Brown

Crimes: Arson & mass murder

Weapon: Fire & explosives

Murder method: Explosion

Murder motivation: Diversion

Sentence: Life without parole (LWOP) later reduced to 20 years

Incarceration status: Released

Man convicted for killing 6 firefighters says he’s innocent


On a late fall day in 1988, an explosion claimed the lives of six firefighters. The offenders were accused of setting fire to a tractor trailer containing 25,000 pounds of low-grade construction explosives so that they could steal tools to sell for drug money. A decade after the deadly explosion, they were convicted. Questions about the defendants’ guilt has been raised over the years. Sheppard has maintained his innocence. After Miller v. Alabama, Sheppard was released.


Bryan Sheppard

Carlos Allen

Name: Carlos Henry Allen

Victim: Philip V. Whitmarsh, 31

Age at time of murder: 16

Crime location: Columbia

Crime date: December 22, 1981

Crimes: Robbery & murder

Weapon: Firearm

Murder method: Gunshot to the shoulder and heart

Convictions: Guilty plea to second-degree murder

Sentence: Life with parole

Incarceration status: Incarcerated at the South Central Correctional Center


Allen committed an armed robbery at the service station office that Phillip was working at, taking money from the cash register. As the robber left the station, he shot Phillip, killing him. The killer pleaded guilty and has been paroled several times only to return to prison for parole violations.


Philip Whitmarsh

Charles Benjamin and Christopher Simmons

Victim: Shirley Ann Arras Crook, 46

Murderers: Christopher Simmons, 17, & Charles Benjamin, 15 (16-year-old John Tessmer was originally part of the plan but decided against it)

Crime locations: Jefferson County & Castlewood State Park in St. Louis County

Crime date: September 9, 1993

Crimes: Home-invasion, kidnapping, abduction, torture, murder, & thrill-killing

Weapon: Duct tape, purse strap, & electric wire for restraining

Murder method: Drowning

Murder motivation: Thrill & entertainment

Sentence:  Benjamin-life without parole (LWOP); Simmons-death, later reduced to life in prison

Incarceration status: Simmons-Southeast Correctional Center; Benjamin-Eastern Reception Diagnostic Correctional Center







When Simmons was 17, he decided that he “wanted to murder someone.” He joined up with Benjamin, 15, to plan and carry out the vicious thrill-killing. The victim was 46-year-old Shirley Crook. The murderers broke into her home and abducted her, taking her to a state park. At the park, they hogtied her, covered her face with duct tape, and threw her into a river, causing her to drown. Benjamin was sentenced to LWOP while Simmons was sentenced to death. Simmons appealed his death sentence and his case went before the US Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the juvenile death penalty was unconstitutional and his sentence was reduced.


Charles Benjamin and Christopher Simmons