Girl ordered to stand trial in Wendover teen's murder

Jul 15 2011 - 4:03pm

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Toni Fratto looks at Kip Patten, Kody Patten's father as he testifies Thursday, July 14, 2011 where Micaela Costanzo was murdered in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev., during Fratto's preliminary hearing, Thursday July 14, 2011 in Elko, Nev. Fratto, is one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Celia Costanzo, mother of Micaela Costanzo, becomes emotional during the preliminary hearing for Toni Fratto, Thursday July 14, 2011 in Elko, Nev. Micaela Costanzo was murdered in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev.  Fratto, is one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Toni Fratto's co-defense attorney Dave Lockie shows the edge of the shovel Thursday, July 14, 2011 allegedly used in the murder of Micaela Costanzo in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nevada during the preliminary hearing for Toni Fratto, Thursday July 14, 2011 in Elko, Nev. Fratto, is one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Washoe County, Nevada Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ellen Clark looks at a knife in an evidence bag Thursday, July 14, 2011 allegedly used in the murder Micaela Costanzo in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev. Clark testified  during the preliminary hearing Thursday July 14, 2011 of Toni Fratto, one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nevada. The hearing took place in Elko Justice Court with the Judge Al Kacin presiding in Elko, Nevada. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Kip Patten, Kody Patten's father shows where Micaela Costanzo was murdered in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev. during the preliminary hearing in Elko Justice Court in Elko, Nev., Thursday July 14, 2011, of Toni Fratto, one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev. Patten testified that Fratto took him to the places where Costanzo was murdered and then buried in a shallow grave. Kody Patten is the other party accused of murdering Costanzo. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Toni Fratto looks at Kip Patten, Kody Patten's father as he testifies Thursday, July 14, 2011 where Micaela Costanzo was murdered in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev., during Fratto's preliminary hearing, Thursday July 14, 2011 in Elko, Nev. Fratto, is one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Celia Costanzo, mother of Micaela Costanzo, becomes emotional during the preliminary hearing for Toni Fratto, Thursday July 14, 2011 in Elko, Nev. Micaela Costanzo was murdered in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev.  Fratto, is one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Toni Fratto's co-defense attorney Dave Lockie shows the edge of the shovel Thursday, July 14, 2011 allegedly used in the murder of Micaela Costanzo in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nevada during the preliminary hearing for Toni Fratto, Thursday July 14, 2011 in Elko, Nev. Fratto, is one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Washoe County, Nevada Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ellen Clark looks at a knife in an evidence bag Thursday, July 14, 2011 allegedly used in the murder Micaela Costanzo in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev. Clark testified  during the preliminary hearing Thursday July 14, 2011 of Toni Fratto, one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nevada. The hearing took place in Elko Justice Court with the Judge Al Kacin presiding in Elko, Nevada. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)
Kip Patten, Kody Patten's father shows where Micaela Costanzo was murdered in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev. during the preliminary hearing in Elko Justice Court in Elko, Nev., Thursday July 14, 2011, of Toni Fratto, one of two accused of murdering Micaela Costanzo in March 2011 in West Wendover, Nev. Patten testified that Fratto took him to the places where Costanzo was murdered and then buried in a shallow grave. Kody Patten is the other party accused of murdering Costanzo. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)

ELKO, Nev. -- A judge has ruled that a northern Nevada teen accused with her boyfriend in the stabbing death of a girl who was found buried in the desert will have to stand trial on murder and kidnapping charges.

Toni Fratto, 19, has pleaded not guilty in the March death of 16-year-old Micaela "Mickey" Costanzo. Fratto's boyfriend Kody Lee Patten, 18, also pleaded not guilty.

Costanzo was found about five miles from West Wendover High School, where she was a student. Authorities have not given a motive in her death.

Justice of the Peace Al Kacin ruled Thursday that there was sufficient evidence to try Fratto, the Elko Daily Free Press reported.

Patten's father, Kip Patten, testified Thursday that Fratto confessed to him on April 16.

"Kody got out of the car to start digging, while Toni and Micaela were still in the vehicle," he testified he was told by Fratto. "Then they got out standing next to the vehicle with Kody facing Micaela. Toni hit her with a shovel in the back."

Kip Patten said Fratto then told him that Costanzo went to the ground and Kody Patten started to hit and kick the victim.

"They took Micaela over to the hole and that was when her throat was cut," Kip Patten testified, adding Fratto told him that both she and his son were involved in the stabbing.

Fratto, who remained stoic during most of her two-day preliminary hearing, sobbed quietly during most of Kip Patten's testimony.

Also, prosecutors played a recording of Fratto's April 22 confession to Kody Patten's attorneys.

"I remember her (Costanzo) not moving ... We were freaking out. We didn't know what to do," Fratto was heard saying. "I wasn't mad. I was kind of frustrated but I wasn't mad at her ... I don't know what I was thinking."

Kip Patten said he didn't advise or encourage Fratto to make statements to his son's lawyers, John Ohlson and Jeff Kump.

"She wanted to come forward with it, she was having a hard time with it," he testified. "She didn't want Kody to have to pay for something they both participated in."

Fratto's mother, Casandra Fratto, said Kody Patten moved in with the Fratto family Jan. 30 due to differences with his father and had lived with them until his March 7 arrest.

Casandra Fratto said she and her husband answered an emphatic "no" when their daughter phoned and asked whether she should meet with Patten's lawyers.

"We didn't want her to meet with the attorneys," Casandra Fratto said, adding she and her husband were in Las Vegas at the time.

In his closing argument, Toni Fratto's attorney, John Springgate, said the only piece of credible evidence against his client was the recording.

"There is no forensic evidence indicating Ms. Fratto participated in this crime at any time," Springgate said. "Her statement to Ohlson and Kump is complete rubbish. That statement was taken in utter violation of professional conduct.

"With all respect to my former partner (Ohlson), they lied to her when they got that statement from her. Everything about Micaela Costanzo's death points to someone else," he added.

Fratto remains in the Elko County Jail without bail.

Patten's preliminary hearing is set to begin Aug. 2.

 

 

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