According to a public information release from the office of Cobb County District Attorney Flynn D. Broady, Jr., Elias Bustamente, 24, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Cobb County Superior Court Judge Henry Thompson.
Bustamente was convicted of Malice Murder, two counts of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and Possession of a Firearm by a First Offender Probationer.
The public information release described the events leading to Bustamente’s arrest and conviction as follows:
Bustamente’s charges stemmed from a shooting which occurred at a Smyrna residence during a Fourth of July gathering in 2020. Bustamente, who was highly intoxicated, began showing off a firearm in the early morning hours of July 5, 2020. Michael Arreola told Bustamente to put the gun away—there were children, including Arreola’s own infant daughter, sleeping in the adjacent room. Offended by Arreola’s input, Bustamente fired three rounds at Arreola, striking him twice in the chest and once in the leg. Bustamente then turned the gun on himself in an attempt to take his own life. Smyrna Police Department investigated the case. Bustamente was arrested and subsequently indicted on January 7, 2021.
The District Attorney’s trial team included Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Green, Assistant District Attorney Amanda Buxton, Deputy Chief Investigator E. Stockinger, Inv. H. Tripp, Victim Advocates Ashley King and Cindy Bard and Legal Administrative Assistants Kayla Willis and Tericka Harvey.
According to Superior Court records, Bustamente was declared indigent by the court, and Nicole P. Fegan, a criminal defense attorney based in Midtown Atlanta was appointed to represent him.
“As parents, our job is to protect our children. Michael was trying to do just that by urging the defendant to stop drunkenly flaunting his gun in fear that it would accidentally discharge. The defendant maliciously murdered him because of it. Michael bled out just steps away from his little girl. The jury’s verdict and this sentence hold the defendant accountable for his actions.” said Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Green.