A Platte City man plead guilty Thursday morning to killing one woman in 2011 and nearly disemboweling another seven months later and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Quintin P. O’Dell, 23, avoided a possible death sentence after admitting in a Platte County courtroom he murdered Alissa Shippert, of Platte City, with a hatchet on the banks of the Platte River in May of 2011 and assaulted Brittany Costello, of Ferrelview, with a razor in December of 2011. He was arrested and charged with the two crimes in January of 2012 and has been incarcerated at the Platte County Jail ever since.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd had said in recent months that he may seek the death penalty in the Shippert murder, but in the past few weeks his office reached an agreement with O’Dell and his attorney that the state would not seek the death penalty if O’Dell admitted to his crimes and plead guilty.
“As a result of this guilty plea, the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison,” Zahnd said. “Make no mistake, I would have no hesitation in asking a jury to impose the death penalty in this case. However, the victims’ families wanted to end this case without enduring the additional pain of a death penalty trial and prolonged appeals. Given their completely understandable wishes, this is an appropriate resolution.”
In addition to pleading guilty to the first-degree murder and first-degree assault charges, O’Dell plead guilty to two counts of armed criminal action and one count of deviate sexual assault. He was sentenced by Platte County Judge Abe Shafer to life in prison without the possibility of parole on the murder charge, a total of 200 years in prison on the two armed criminal action charges, life in prison on the assault charge and seven years in prison on the sexual assault charge.
Landis Shippert, Alissa Shippert’s father, spoke during the hearing.
“Alissa was a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt and proud Platte City resident,” he said. “I hope and pray Mr. O’Dell will seek out the Lord and confess his sins. If he does this, I’m sure the Lord will forgive him as I have forgiven him.”
O’Dell, clad in tan slacks and a dark jacket instead of the customary Platte County Jail orange jumpsuit, also made a brief statement.
“I would like to tell all my friends and family and the families of Alissa and Brittany Costello that I’m sorry for what I’ve done to them,” he said.
Zahnd said O’Dell’s guilty plea and sentencing were the result of good police work and good fortune.
“There was no doubt we caught a huge break when Brittany Costello survived and was able to identify her attacker,” he said. “That ultimately led to Quintin O’Dell confessing to the murder of Alissa Shippert. This defendant may have been a serial killer in the making. The world will be a better place with Quintin O’Dell behind bars until he breathes his last breath.”
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