The man accused of murdering University of Mississippi college student Ally Kostial has requested a psychological evaluation.
Brandon Theesfeld, 22, appeared in court Thursday, August 22, in what was expected to be a bond hearing; however, after receiving “new information” Theesfeld’s attorney withdrew the request for bond and asked instead for a mental evaluation for his client.
“We received some new information yesterday, we reviewed that information with Brandon, his family and the defense team…and it was our collective decision that it was in Brandon’s best interest for us to withdraw our request for bond at this time,” attorney Tony Farese said later of the decision after the brief hearing, according to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.
Farese declined to say what the “new information” might be.
After prosecutors agreed with the request, Theesfeld was granted the evaluation, which is expected to take place at the Mississippi State Hospital, The New York Post reports.
It's unclear when the evaluation will take place.
"We have problems at the state hospital, we're backed up, and we will be one of many people waiting for an evaluation," Farese said. "Unfortunately, that is a problem in our system in Mississippi but we'll work through that and get in line and they will get us evaluated as soon as possible."
Theesfeld — who appeared in court in shackles and an orange jail uniform — is accused of shooting Kostial eight times and leaving her body in a remote area about 30 miles outside of campus. The pair had allegedly dated on and off for years before she was found dead on July 20.
Lafayette County District Attorney Ben Creekmore said the investigation into Kostial’s death is ongoing, however, they hope to have enough evidence to bring before a grand jury next week, according to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.
At Thursday’s hearing, Theesfeld’s parents and sister were in court to show their support to the 22-year-old.
"Of course they love him very much, they're distraught in seeing him under these circumstances, but they're supportive, they love him and he knows that and they know he loves them," Farese said, according to the local paper.
In an earlier interview with local station WREG ahead of the hearing, Farese said his client has been trying to remain upbeat.
“He certainly understands what’s going on. He’s been very candid with us about what’s going on, and the facts of the case, and what occurred on the day in question,” he said. “It’s a very trying situation for him. I think overwhelming at times but he’s trying to maintain a positive attitude.”
Thursday’s hearing was also filled with Kostial’s friends and family — many of whom wore pink in honor of the slain marketing major.
They declined to talk about Theesfeld’s hearing, preferring to keep the focus on Kostial; however, friend Morgan Hull said they were hoping to get “justice” for the college student.
“I think even people who didn’t know her knew what a bright light she was and they knew of her because Ally was just everywhere,” she told the local paper.
Kostial’s cousin Kristi Kelley told WREG the family was “deeply grateful” for the hard work of law enforcement officers who “worked tirelessly” on the case.
“Our hearts go out to all those touched by Ally’s positive spirit and passion for life who are now feeling sorrow. We pray for strength in the coming days and are grateful for the friends, neighbors, coworkers and many others who have supported us,” she said.
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