JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - About a dozen young women dressed in pink carried signs that said “Justice for Ally” and “This day is about Ally, not Br*nd*n” outside the Lafayette County Courthouse in Oxford on Thursday as Brandon Theesfeld finally faced a bond hearing.
It was just one way that Ally Kostial, a St. Louis native and Ole Miss student, was very present, even if only in spirit. Kostial’s body was found in a rural area near Sardis Lake July 14, shot several times. Almost immediately Theesfeld, her on-again-off-again boyfriend, was a suspect.
Kostial’s family was there too, as well as friends and sorority sisters, taking up several rows of the right side of the courtroom.
On the left, Theesfeld’s family, and his attorneys, who had somber looks on their faces. Defense Attorney Tony Farese addressed the court.
"We are withdrawing our request for a bond hearing at this time. We are also making a request for a psychiatric evaluation and we consulted with the district attorneys office and they are in agreement that we will get an order from the court, and the defendant will be examined by the state hospital.”
It was a curveball for a lot of people in the courtroom, but there were those there who saw it coming. There had been a meeting on Wednesday night between the prosecution and the defense. Whatever happened there was something neither the prosecution nor the defense would discuss beyond saying there was new information that had caused the defense to change tracks.
Kostial’s cousin Kristi Kelley gave a statement just moments after court was adjourned, a message from the Kostial family, who have kept a low profile for the most part.
“Our hearts go out to all of those touched by Ally’s positive spirit and passion for life who are now feeling sorrow. We pray for strength in the coming days and are thankful for the friends, neighbors, coworkers, and many others who have supported us.”
District Attorney Ben Creekmore said he doesn’t foresee the evaluation being something that puts the case on hold.
“I wouldn’t says on hold it’s just something that has to be done, it’s not uncommon in any case involving a criminal defendant," said Creekmore. "Either the state or the defense can request a mental evaluation.”