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Teen gets life in prison in girl’s killing
by Associated Press
Apr 16, 2012 | 1547 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ELKO (AP) — One of two West Wendover High School students accused of killing a classmate and burying her in the desert near the Utah-Nevada border has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Toni Fratto, 19, was sentenced Monday in Elko, less than three months after she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon in the March 2011 killing of Micaela “Mickey” Costanzo, 16.

“I would like to apologize for my actions and the tragedy that has happened. I know what I did was wrong,” Fratto said before she was sentenced. “I’m sorry for what I did to Micaela and for what I did not do — protect her. It does not change what happened. But I do mean I’m sorry.”

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Micaela’s mother, Celia Costanzo, wept as she left the courthouse.

“There’s a part of me that’s just been ripped away, and I’m not whole,” she told reporters. “There’s not a day, not a moment, not a second that I don’t think about her.”

Fratto will be eligible for parole after a minimum of 18 years, which includes a term for a weapons enhancement.

She faced up to life in prison after reaching a plea deal that dropped a first-degree murder charge and spared her the death penalty

Fratto has agreed to testify against her former boyfriend, Kody Patten, who is charged with first-degree murder in the case.

Both are accused of taking Micaela to a remote area near the Utah-Nevada border on March 3, 2011, after the teen had finished track practice at West Wendover High School. She was struck in the head with a shovel and her throat was slit before she was buried in a shallow grave.

According to court documents, Patten told investigators he pushed Micaela to the ground twice during a fight, and she hit her head on a rock the second time. Patten said he panicked when the girl went into “some sort of seizure,” so he struck her in the head with a shovel.

Prosecutors said Patten and Fratto buried Micaela in a shallow grave. Her body was found two days later.

Patten and Fratto also are accused of burning some of the girl’s personal items in another location.

Fratto hadn’t been a suspect until she offered a confession to Patten’s defense attorney. In the recording, she told lawyers Micaela wanted to date Patten, but he didn’t want anything to do with her.

Micaela had told a friend that Patten was sending her text messages that day about a school project, saying he would pick her up from school.

Fratto’s attorney, John Springgate, described his client as a girl mentally and physically abused by Patten. She was an active member of her Mormon ward and had no prior criminal history — something that seemed to confuse even the judge, according to the Deseret News.

“That’s what makes this even more puzzling, that a person like you could participate in such a terrible crime,” said Elko District Judge Daniel Papez. “Micaela’s loss to her family, to her school, to the community of Wendover will be felt forever. I hope that someday, Ms. Fratto, that you’ll be able to get your life back in order. You have to live with this forever.”
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