SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A trial is set to start Monday for a man charged in the 2017 killing of a transgender teen whose eyes were gouged out and whose body was set on fire in southwest Missouri.
Andrew Vrba, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse in the killing of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld. Three others have pleaded guilty and are in prison for their roles in Steinfeld’s death.
Vrba had been missing for weeks when her burned remains were found in September 2017 in the town of Cabool, a rural area about 70 miles (115 kilometers) east of Springfield.
Authorities say the crime wasn’t motivated by Steinfeld’s gender identity.
In June, Vrba opted for a bench trial instead of a jury, the Springfield-News Leader reports.
Vrba originally faced the death penalty, but Texas County prosecutor Parke Stevens said that’s now off the table, based in part on the wishes of Steinfeld’s family.