Judge rules a Texas County man guilty of murder in the death of a teenager

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 11:40 AM CDT
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A Greene County judge delivered his guilty verdict against a Texas County man accused of first-degree murder in the death of a teenager from Texas County

Judge Calvin Holden will sentence Andrew Vrba on November 20.

During the trial, the court heard Vrba’s videotaped confession to Texas County investigators he killed Ally, or Joey, Steinfeld with a knife and then burned Steinfeld’s body.

The prosecution argued although Vrba confessed to the killing, he hasn’t told the full truth, but continually shifted his stories about how he stabbed Steinfeld and why. Steinfeld’s family members still don’t know Vrba’s motive. Prosecutors say Vrba and Steinfeld’s new girlfriend, Briana Calderas, discussed ways to poison Steinfeld, and Vrba searched the internet for fast ways to kill someone before the murder. Vrba also texted Calderas, telling her, it’s done.

The defense argued investigators acted in bad faith, destroying notes and losing documents and cell phones. They say Vrba never had an idea of using a knife until Steinfeld waved it in front of him, and that it was to protect his own family. They say he did not plan to act on Calderas’ behalf. They argued because of Vrba’s severe nonverbal learning disorder and his character evidence, he was not capable of sophisticated deceit or cool reflection.

Thus, the defense had asked the judge to throw out first degree murder 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.

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