ANDREW VRBA

A Houston man accused of killing a teen in September 2017 near Cabool and then helping burn the remains appeared in a Greene County courtroom last week where he opted for a bench trial rather than a jury trial.

Andrew Vrba, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse for his alleged role in the killing of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld, who relatives said identified as being transgender. Authorities said the victim was stabbed northeast of Cabool off Malberg Road. Vrba could face the death penalty.

Vrba will not appear before a jury, but rather in front of Circuit Judge Calvin Holden beginning Aug. 3 in Greene County, where Vrba is held on a change of venue. The case is overseen by Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. and Kevin Zoellner, an assistant attorney general, who specializes in serious cases. Vrba is represented by the public defender system’s capital division in Kansas City.

Three others were involved in the case:

•Briana Calderas, 27, of Cabool, entered guilty pleas in May 2019 to lesser charges of abandonment of a corpse, concealing a felony and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution. The remains were found on her property. She received eight years. She is out of prison and assigned to a probation and parole officer, online records show.

•Isis K. Schauer, 21,  of Houston, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in December. As part of a plea agreement, the charge against Schauer was lowered from first-degree murder to second-degree murder. She is serving time in a correctional facility in Vandalia. She is appealing her sentence. An Aug. 6 court trial is scheduled.

•James T. Grigsby, 27, of Thayer, pleaded guilty to abandonment of a corpse and was sentenced to four years in prison. He is out of prison and assigned to a probation and parole officer, online records show.

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