Death penalty sought for Missouri teen charged with slaying of transgender girl

Prosecutors in southern Missouri are seeking the death penalty for a teen accused of stabbing a transgender teenager to death last September and burning her body.

Andrew Vrba was charged with first-degree murder, abandonment of a corpse and armed criminal action following the death of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld.

Online court records indicate a notice was filed Monday of prosecutors' intent to seek the death sentence in the case against Vrba, 18.

His attorney did not respond to an Associated Press reporter seeking comment.

steinfeld pink
Ally Steinfeld Steinfeld family via Facebook

A trial setting was scheduled Tuesday in Crawford County, Mo., Circuit Court.

Steinfeld had been reported missing by family on Sept. 1. She was killed two days later in Cabool, Mo.

Police said Steinfeld was stabbed and her mutilated body was burned at a residence.

Court records said Vrba admitted to stabbing Steinfeld in the living room of a friend's home. Others helped him burn her body.

Vrba had told police that he had bragged about the killing, going into detail with friends about how he gouged out Steinfeld’s eyes and stabbed her in the genitals.

Some speculated that Steinfeld's gender identity played a role in her death. The teen posted on her Instagram in May that she was coming out.

Officials said the killing wasn't a hate crime.

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Vrba is one of four charged in the killing of the teen.

One female suspect, Isis Schauer, 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse and has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Another, Briana Calderas, 24, awaits a first-degree murder trial.

A fourth suspect, James Grigsby, 25, pleaded not guilty to abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.

Steinfeld killing
Four people are charged in connection to the killing of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld, a transgender teen. All but James Grigsby are charged with first-degree murder. Texas County Sheriff’s Office

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.