By Alyssa Schnugg
Today marks two years since University of Mississippi student Alexandria “Ally” Kostial was found murdered near Sardis Lake, and the man charged with her death remains in jail awaiting trial.
Brandon Theesfeld was arrested just days after Kostial was found shot to death in Harmontown on July 20, 2019. He was charged with capital murder and kidnapping.
A court date was set for today; however, Circuit Court Clerk Jeff Busby said the trial was continued to the next court term in Lafayette County, which is in October.
The COVID-19 pandemic could be partly to blame for cases being held up, Busby said.
“I know everyone has been backlogged from our courts all the way down,” Busby said.
Lafayette County Coroner Rocky Kennedy told Hottytoddy.com recently that the final autopsy report has still not been released by the State Medical Examiner’s office.
Kennedy said not having the final autopsy report makes it difficult for Theesfeld’s trial to move forward.
“Without that autopsy report, you don’t have that documentation of the number or location of wounds or significant health-related items,” he said. “I think it’s a tragedy. We need more pathologists.”
Kennedy said there is only one pathologist for the state working on autopsy reports.
“It’s frustrating for me, for law enforcement and attorneys and for her family,” Kennedy said. “For them to have to sit and wait and wait, it’s unethical and unprofessional. … Someone needs to be accountable for the delay.”
Kostial was shot multiple times, according to the preliminary autopsy. Her body was discovered at about 10:30 a.m. on July 20, 2019, by a Lafayette County sheriff’s deputy while on patrol in Harmontown near Sardis Lake.
She was last seen alive at her apartment in Oxford around midnight. Surveillance footage from the early hours of July 20, 2019, shows her at a convenience store near Harmontown.
News outlets report Theesfeld was fleeing Oxford when he was apprehended by law enforcement working with the Memphis Police Department on July 22, 2019, after credit card charges and phone records led the police to a Mobil gas station in south Memphis.
He was indicted by a grand jury in September 2019 on capital murder and kidnapping.
If convicted, Theesfeld could face the death penalty.
Kostial and Theesfeld had known each other for several years and had allegedly dated on and off. Friends of Kostial said Theesfeld was often “cruel” to Kostial.
After her death, rumors began to circulate that Kostial thought she was pregnant; however, officials said that has not been confirmed.
Kostial, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, was about to enter her third year in the university’s School of Business when she was killed. She was studying marketing and was a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. She served as president of the Golf Club and was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi Ole Miss Rho Tau Chapter. She was 21 years old when she was killed.
Theesfeld, 24, also a UM student at the time, was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation by the court in 2019. He is being held on no bond at the Lafayette County Detention Center.