The trial began Monday for 21-year-old Andrew Vrba, who faces murder charges in the killing of transgender 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld.
Vrba, of Texas County, Missouri is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse. He is no longer facing the death penalty because of “many factors, to include victim’s family request,” said Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens.
Ally was last seen by her family on Sept. 1, 2017 and was reported missing two weeks later. Family members said she was with Vrba and his co-defendants.
Authorities allege Vrba stabbed Ally twice and burned her remains with the help of his co-defendants.
Vrba has previously admitted his involvement in her killing, officials said. Authorities said that within minutes of being interviewed by law enforcement, Vrba admitted he stabbed Ally after she would not take poison he provided her. But his defense attorney says it was not premeditated and Vrba should not be charged with first-degree murder, Springfield News-Leader reported.
Stevens alleged in the opening statement that Ally died in Vrba’s arms.
Vrba is one of four charged in Ally’s 2017 murder.
Three others have pleaded guilty in connection with Ally's death. Briana Calderas, who was in a relationship with Ally, was sentenced to eight years in prison for abandonment of a corpse, concealing a felony and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution but has been paroled, Stevens said. Ally’s burned body was found near Calderas’ mobile home on Sept. 20, 2017.
Isis Schauer, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse for the death, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and James Grigsby, who pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse, was sentenced to four years in prison. She plans to appeal her sentence.