Thursday, September 23, 2021

Theesfeld Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of UM Student

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor

alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

Brandon Theesfeld admitted in court Friday to killing 21-year-old Ally Kostial in July 2019, and he will spend most, if not his entire life in prison for that crime. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

Brandon Theesfeld admitted in court Friday to killing 21-year-old Ally Kostial in July 2019, and he will spend most, if not his entire life in prison for that crime.

Theesfeld pleaded guilty to first-degree/simple murder before Circuit Court Judge Kelly Luther while wearing his orange, jail-issued jumpsuit, in handcuffs while standing next to his attorney, Tony Farese.

Luther informed Theesfeld of his rights before asking Theesfeld if he was, in fact, guilty of murdering Kostial.

“Yes, sir,” Theesfeld responded.

Kostial was found dead near Sardis Lake on July 20, 2019.

Theesfeld was arrested just days after Kostial’s body was found. He was charged with capital murder and kidnapping.

By pleading guilty Friday, Theesfeld will be spared the death penalty and life in prison without the possibility of parole. Under the first-degree/simple murder charge, he can petition the court for patrol once he turns 65 years old.

After Luther ruled that Theesfeld was competent to stand trial, the prosecution gave its account of events.

According to court records, Kostial and Theesfeld met while they were both attending the University of Mississippi and started dating on and off. In April 2019, Kostial told Theesfeld she thought she might be pregnant and attempted to meet with Theesfeld several times.

Family set up a small memorial area inside the Courthouse with prayer cards and memorial bracelets in honor of Ally Kostial. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

Theesfeld did not meet Kostial and told her via text that he wasn’t interested in being a father.

In July 2019, he went home to Texas where he posted a photo on social media of him holding a handgun. Once he returned to Oxford, he text Kostial and arranged to meet her on July 19.

Theesfeld’s internet history included searches for hollow tip ammunition, tactical face masks and how Ted Bundy lured his victims.

Kostial was picked up by Theesfeld around 1 a.m. on July 20, and the two drove to Harmontown and sat at a bench near the lake.

It’s there that Theesfeld shot Kostial several times. Prosecutors said there were 11 bullet casings from Theesfeld’s gun found at the scene.

Her body was found around 10:30 a.m. July 20 by a Lafayette County Sheriff’s deputy.

Theesfeld was arrested two days later. A two-page letter was found in his truck. In the letter, he tells his parents he is “not a good person.”

“Something in me just doesn’t work. I’ve always had terrible thoughts … I just kind of felt off. I think this is the end for me … I know I’m going to get caught,” he wrote.

Kostial’s parents both provided written statements to the court which were read by Assistant District Attorney Mickey Mallett.

Brandon Theesfeld is led out of court Friday after pleading guilty to murder. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

“Our hearts are broken in pieces,” wrote Kostial’s mother. “Not a day goes by that we don’t think about her. … We were supposed to watch her graduate from Ole Miss. She had her whole life ahead of her. … We were blessed mostly, just to be her parents.”

Kostial, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, was about to enter her third year in the university’s School of Business when she was killed.

Theesfeld, 24, a Texas native and also a UM student at the time of the murder, broke down in tears when he read his statement, saying he hoped Kostial’s family could “one day find it in their hearts to forgive him.”

“I am sincerely sorry for the pain I have caused for taking Ally from you,” he read in court. “My actions have forever changed your lives and my family’s lives. I wish I could take it all back but I can’t.”


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