In Lafayette County court today, Brandon Theesfeld pleaded guilty to the charge of first-degree murder and the 2019 shooting death of Ole Miss student Ally Kostial.
Notes from the Hearing:
Judge Luther determined that Theesfeld was not under the influence of “extreme mental or emotional circumstance” when Ally Kostial was killed, and was competent and that he did appreciate the difference between right and wrong at the time of the incident. Attorney Tony Farese pointed to the place in the report that said Theesfeld was voluntarily impaired by drugs/alcohol, but the judge reiterated that that doesn’t count as a defense.
Theesfeld replied a strong “yes sir” when asked if he killed Ally Kostial. Assistant District Attorney Mickey Mallette said Kostial told Theesfeld she was afraid she was pregnant. Theesfeld’s internet search later showed him researching abortions. Kostial wanted to meet in person but he wouldn’t show up. In early July, Kostial became insistent to meet with Theesfeld. He said no. Theesfeld went home to Dallas to meet with his father. He then posted a tweet with his gun saying, “finally bringing my baby back home.” Research on his computer showed searches for silencers, and how Ted Bundy lured his victims.
Finally he contacted her to meet at her home on July 20. Cameras show him going in the direction of her house. Both of their phones were traced to Sardis where her body was found. Theesfeld’s search history early that morning showed “listen to police scanner.” He searched “Sardis MS news” later that morning. His phone traveled to Memphis, then stayed at a friend’s apartment for a while.
Later that day Ally was found at a picnic table along with several empty beverage cans and some shell casings.
The next morning Theesfeld went to another friend who saw the alleged murder weapon. He then left and went to Memphis where he was found with the gun. There were 11 casings at the scene, all matches to his gun.
Police found a 2 page letter to his parents saying he’d never been normal. “I’m not a good person.” It said he’d either be caught or killed.
Statements from Kostial’s family were read.
Mother Cindy Kostial’s letter detailed Ally’s life as their perfect firstborn who loved to read, loved video, photography, nature, and Ariel the Mermaid. Ally’s mother detailed her athletics, accomplishments, art, how she loved sunrises and sunsets, how she went on vacations to far away places and gave to the communities there.
“We take comfort in the fact that Ally will never be defined by the way she was ripped from our lives,” Cindy Kostial wrote, adding that she’ll be remembered for her goodness and light.
“Our holidays will never be the same. Ally absolutely loved everything about Christmas,” Cindy Kostial wrote. Addressing Theesfeld she wrote: “I hope every time your cell door slams shut, you’re reminded of the beautiful life you took from all of us.”
Ally’s father wrote about how his daughter was fun, girly and imaginative; she loved reading “Little House on the Prairie” to her family as a child. Ally was excited to go to Ole Miss and make friends, he said. “But there will be no graduation… he shot her several times, she hurt, she bled, and he left her for her body to be found the next morning,” He said they see beautiful things and think, “Ally would love this too.”
Theesfeld reads a statement apologizing to Kostials. “I wish I could take it all back but I can’t… I have asked God to forgive me,” he said, then his voice broke as he said, “I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”
Judge Luther accepted Theesfeld’s guilty plea to first degree murder. Theesfeld will serve the remainder of his natural life at MDOC. The judge said nobody wins on a day like this. “Society is the loser here today.” He offered his deepest sympathy to the family on behalf of the state of Mississippi. Kostial was from St. Louis.