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Second guilty plea entered in transgender teen's gruesome death

James Thomas Grigsby, 25, pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse in connection with the slaying of Missouri teenager Ally Steinfeld.

A second person charged in connection with the slaying of a transgender teenager in southwest Missouri has pleaded guilty.

Ally Lee Steinfeld.Courtesy of Amber Steinfeld / via AP reports 25-year-old James Thomas Grigsby, of Thayer, pleaded guilty Tuesday to abandonment of a corpse. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Grigsby was accused of helping three other people dispose of the body of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld, of rural Texas County. Her burned remains were found in September in a chicken coop in Cabool, about 70 miles east of Springfield.

Investigators say she was stabbed several times, including in the genitals. Her eyes were gouged out and her body was set on fire. Authorities have insisted the killing was not a hate crime.

"I would say murder in the first-degree is all that matters," prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. said shortly after Steinfeld's body was found. "That is a hate crime in itself."

Two of the four suspects, Andrew Vrba and Briana Calderas, are awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges. According to, Vrba, 18, is next scheduled to be in court on July 23, and Calderas is scheduled to go on trial in February 2019.

Another person charged — Isis Schauer — pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


Brooke Sopelsa contributed.