Testimony ends in case against Andrew Vrba, accused of killing transgender teen in Texas County

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 11:42 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 11:45 AM CDT
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A judge is deliberating the fate of a Texas County man, accused of killing a transgender teenager.

Closing arguments wrapped up in the trial of Andrew Vrba, accused of killing Ally (Joey) Steinfeld.

Day 4 began with the judge requesting to ask Vrba if he understood all his rights. But the defense said he would not be answering any questions. The defense also asked the judge to throw out murder in the first degree and amend the charge to second-degree because of Vrba’s disability and his age of just a few months over 18 at the time. The judge will rule on that with his verdict.

The defense also argued investigators acted in bad faith, destroying notes and losing documents and cell phones. Prosecutors admit cell phones were lost, but that they were honest mistakes and notes are routinely destroyed. The defense argues Vrba never had an idea of using a knife until Steinfeld waved it in front of him. They say Vrba didn’t believe Calderas’ accusation, saying Steinfeld raped her, and he wasn’t going act on her behalf. They accused the state of changing timelines and say that because of Vrba’s severe nonverbal learning disorder and his character evidence, he was not capable of sophisticated deceit or cool reflection.

The prosecution argued although Vrba confessed to the killing, he hasn’t told the full truth, but continually shifted his stories about how exactly he stabbed Steinfeld and why. They reminded the court that Vrba and Briana Calderas discussed ways to poison Steinfeld and Vrba searched the internet for fast ways to kill someone. Vrba also texted Calderas, telling her it was done.

The defense asks for mercy, and the state asks for justice.

During closing arguments, the defense asked for Steinfeld’s father to be removed for vocally interrupting. The judge gave a final warning and Mr. Steinfeld left the courtroom a few minutes later. The judge is taking the case under advisement.

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