Second Guilty Plea in Steinfeld Murder Case

Rev Steve Heather KOLR

CABOOL, Mo. – One of four people charged in connection with the slaying of a Texas County teen who identified as transgender has pleaded guilty and was sentenced Tuesday (7-3-18).

James Thomas Grigsby, 25, of Thayer pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse and was sentenced to four years in prison by Texas County Circuit Judge William Hickle.

Grigsby was accused of assisting three other defendants in the case with disposing of the body of Joseph Steinfeld, 17, of rural Texas County. The teen went by “Ally” and was planning to transition to a female, according to family members. Authorities allege he was stabbed to death and the remains burned.

Investigators say Andrew Vrba, 18, killed Steinfeld in September of 2017. He is charged with first degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse and is next scheduled to be in court on July 23, 2018.

Co-defendant Isis Schauer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. She was accused of second-degree murder and of helping Vrba dispose of Steinfeld’s body.

A fourth defendant, Briana Calderas, is scheduled to go on trial in February of 2019 on charges of first-degree murder and abandonment of corpse. She, too, is accused of assisting in the murder and disposal of the body.

According to court documents, Vrba tried to kill Steinfeld with poison, but the victim would not consume the substance and so he killed the teen by stabbing. He also bragged to his associates about the slaying and said he had also gouged out Steinfelds eyes and stabbed him in the penis several times, according to a probable cause statement in the case.

Texas County Prosecuting Attorney Parke Stevens Jr. announced his intention to seek the sentence against Vrba in a court filing in Crawford County Circuit Court, where the case is expected to be heard on a change of venue.

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