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“I am sincerely sorry for the pain I’ve caused while taking Ally from you,” Theesfeld told Kostial's family in court Friday, according to The Oxford Eagle. “My actions have forever changed your lives and my family’s lives. I wish I could take it all back but I can’t. There is no excuse for my actions and I have asked God for forgiveness. I hope one day that you will find it in your heart to forgive me.”
Theesfeld pleaded guilty to first-degree murder as part of a plea deal with prosecutors to take the death penalty off the table in the brutal execution. In exchange, he received a life sentence behind bars.
The former college student could be eligible for parole at the age of 65, WREG reports.
Kostial’s body was found with multiple gunshot wounds near Sardis Lake on July 20, 2019.
Kostial, a vibrant, college sorority student, and Theesfeld met while both were attending the University of Mississippi.
Kostial’s friend, Lauren Riddick, described the relationship to People in 2019 as “a complicated relationship” that was “on-and-off.”
In court Friday, Assistant District Attorney Mickey Mallette said the pair had a friendship that would turn romantic from “time to time,” according to the paper.
On April 12, 2019, Kostial told Theesfeld she was worried she might be pregnant and sent him a photo of an inconclusive pregnancy test two days later.
For months, Kostial tried to get Theesfeld to meet to discuss the potential pregnancy but Theesfeld refused and the relationship was “exclusively electronic” for a time.
According to Mallette, Theesfeld—who had searched online for abortion pills and abortion services after learning of the possible pregnancy—often agreed to meet Kostial but then would never show up or back out of the meetings.
He told Kostial he believed a pregnancy would “ruin his life,” local station KSDK reports.
Kostial continued to insist they meet to talk about the possible pregnancy in a series of messages that became more urgent at the beginning of July 2019.
On July 12, 2019, Theesfeld returned to his Dallas-Fort Worth area home and collected a .40 caliber pistol, posting a photo of the gun on social media two days later and writing, “Finally taking my baby back to Oxford.”
Over the next few days, he searched the internet for silencers, hollow tip ammunition, tactical face masks and even researched how serial killer Ted Bundy had once lured his victims, prosecutors said.
Once back at college, Theesfeld sent a message to Kostial asking to meet in person. They agreed to meet in the early morning hours of July 20, 2019 after Kostial had returned home from the bars.
Theesfeld’s truck was seen on surveillance footage driving near her apartment around 12:46 a.m. that morning. The truck was seen around the same location, driving the opposite direction, at 1:14 a.m., as cell phone records showed both Kostial and Theesfeld were heading toward Sardis Lake, an area about half an hour outside of campus.
Authorities said she was not pregnant at the time of the slaying.
“There was an allegation that (Kostial) was pregnant. The evidence showed she was not pregnant,” defense attorney Tony Farese told the media after the hearing according to The Oxford Eagle. “The autopsy showed that she was not pregnant and there was no evidence that she had been pregnant. But, that was part of the underlying theme of their relationship.”
Investigators reached out to Theesfeld to ask if they could speak to him on July 21. While the college student agreed, he never showed up. When law enforcement officers called him again, he said that he had been drinking and didn’t want to talk to authorities while he was under the influence. They arranged for him to come in for an interview the following morning, but once again Theesfeld didn’t show up.
He was arrested on July 22 at a gas station in South Memphis, still carrying the pistol.
Investigators would also discover a two-page handwritten note he had left behind in his apartment, addressed to his family.
“I’m not a good person. It is not your fault,” the note said, according to the paper. “Something in me just doesn’t work. I’ve always had terrible thoughts. I’ve always had these feelings. I just kind of felt off. I think this is the end for me. I’m either going to prison or going to die. I know I’m going to get caught.”
Before handing down the sentence, a message from Kostial’s mother, Cindy Kostial, was read in court.
Cindy wrote about all her young daughter’s accomplishments and the milestones they would no longer get to share together.
“I wish I could have kept her away from this evil, callous, scheming, ungrateful, sinister and violent and corrupt monster,” she said in the statement. “He had every opportunity to do good in the world, but he chose to do evil.”
She then addressed her daughter’s killer directly.
“Brandon, you belong in jail each day for the rest of your life for the heinous act you committed to such a sweet soul in Ally,” she said. “Every time your cell door slams shut may it be a reminder for what you did and the life you took from us.”
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