Two years after the crime shocked the South, even making national news, the friends and family of Alexandria Kostial are one step closer to closure.
Alexandria, known as Ally, was a business major and Alpha Phi sorority sister at Ole Miss when she was found gunned down in 2019. She was only 21 years old.
Shortly afterward, her fellow student Brandon Theesfeld, then 22, was arrested and charged with the murder. Investigators connected him to the crime through cell phone records and found him just a couple days later having fled to Memphis, Tennessee.
When they arrested Theesfeld, police say they found a note he had written to his family trying to explain:
“I’m not a good person. It is not your fault. Something in me just doesn’t work. I’ve always had terrible thoughts. I’ve always had these feelings. I just kind of felt off. I think this is the end for me. I’m either going to prison or going to die. I know I’m going to get caught.”
He was not the only one who believed he was “not a good person,” even before the murder.
Theesfeld and Kostial had what a friend described to People as “a complicated relationship, an on-and-off one” since they met at the university in 2016. More than one of her friends described Brandon as a harmful presence in her life, with one saying:
“He was like the type of guy that, if you didn’t gibe with him, he’d be rude, he’d use his money to get things, he’d have six girls around the table and he’d sit back and laugh at them like a pig, he was super misogynistic.”
The friend says the Texas native was particularly problematic for Ally, who hung on his every word:
“The things he’d say to Ally through text messages and stuff, it was so horrible — he’d say hurtful, degrading things… He would tell her he loved her and then he’d say ‘F**k you, I was just drunk, I don’t care about you’… She was always down about him.”
Ugh. The confidant said she often asked what to do about it and was always “texting all her friends asking for advice” because “all she wanted was to be enough for him and for him to want her.”
Apparently everything changed in April 2019 when Ally texted her off-again beau telling him she thought she was pregnant. She even sent a photo of the inconclusive pregnancy test. Per records, he ghosted her for a couple months as she tried to reach out but finally responded on July 12, telling her she should just get an abortion and he didn’t want to see her.
Then, on July 18, he changed his tune, asking her to meet him. In court last week he admitted that he drove her out to Sardis Lake where he shot her several times.
The confession came as part of a guilty plea. Originally Theesfeld was charged with capital murder, but as part of his plea deal the death penalty is no longer on the table. Instead, he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The now 24-year-old former student did not explain why he killed Ally, but he did apologize to her loved ones in the courthouse, saying:
“I am sincerely sorry for the pain I’ve caused while taking Ally from you. My actions have forever changed your lives and my family’s lives. I wish I could take it all back but I can’t. There is no excuse for my actions and I have asked God for forgiveness. I hope one day that you will find it in your heart to forgive me.”
It doesn’t sound like he can expect forgiveness. The victim’s mother, Cindy Kostial, wrote a statement which was also read out in court, and it’s anything but merciful toward the admitted murderer:
“I wish I could have kept her away from this evil, callous, scheming, ungrateful, sinister and violent and corrupt monster. He had every opportunity to do good in the world, but he chose to do evil. Brandon, you belong in jail each day for the rest of your life for the heinous act you committed to such a sweet soul in Ally. Every time your cell door slams shut may it be a reminder for what you did and the life you took from us.”
You can’t blame her. Even knowing her killer will spend the rest of his life in prison will never bring Ally back.
We hope people will read this story and take it as a warning to keep an eye out for those red flags. Not all misogynistic jerks turn out to be murderers — but that doesn’t mean you should ever let yourself be treated that way. Ally was clearly a beautiful soul with a big heart, and we can only hope she’s at peace now after being taken advantage of so often and killed by the man she loved.
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