Two years after Ally Kostial's body was found near a Mississippi lake, Brandon Theesfeld pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree murder. He received a life sentence under his plea agreement, which lets Theesfeld avoid any possibility of receiving the death penalty, the Daily Journal reports. He'll have a chance to be conditionally released when he's 65. He apologized to Kostial's family and his own in court, per CNN. "I wish I could take it all back but I can't," Theesfeld told the victim's family in a prepared statement, per the Oxford Eagle. His father had maintained his son was innocent shortly after his arrest.
Kostial, who was from St. Louis, and Theesfeld attended the University of Mississippi's business school, where she was pursuing a degree in marketing. In April 2019, Kostial told Theesfeld she might be pregnant and asked to talk with him in person, a prosecutor said. For months, he'd agree to meet but not show up, until he texted her in July that he didn't want to meet and that she should just make an appointment to have an abortion. Sheriff's deputies found her body on a routine patrol on July 20, about 30 miles from campus. The 21-year-old had been shot to death.
Theesfeld was found mentally competent to stand trial and had pleaded not guilty to capital murder before reaching the plea agreement. He told Kostial's family members in court that he hopes they can forgive him someday. "I wish I could have kept her away from this evil, callous, scheming, ungrateful, sinister and violent and corrupt monster," Kostial's mother said in a statement. She told Theesfeld he deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars. "Every time your cell door slams shut may it be a reminder for what you did and the life you took from us." (Read more first-degree murder stories.)