ELKO — One of two West Wendover High School students accused of killing a classmate and burying her in the desert has signed a plea deal with the Elko district attorney’s office that would spare her a possible death sentence or life without parole if she is convicted.
Toni Fratto, 19, is set to appear in an Elko court Friday to finalize the deal, in which she will plead guilty to the reduced charge of second-degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for using a deadly weapon, said her attorney, John Springgate.
As part of the agreement, Fratto will testify against her former boyfriend, Kody Patten, 18, who is charged with first-degree murder.
In Nevada, second-degree murder carries a sentence of 10 years to life with the possibility of parole after 10 years. A deadly weapon enhancement would add a penalty of one to 20 more years.
Springgate estimated Fratto will face about 18 years in prison.
Fratto’s murder trial was scheduled to start in three weeks. Patten’s murder trial is set for March.
Both are accused of taking 16-year-old Micaela “Mickey” Costanzo to a remote area near the Utah-Nevada border on March 3 after the teen had finished track practice at West Wendover High School.
Costanzo was struck in the head with a shovel, and her throat was slit, before she was buried in a shallow grave.
Patten and Fratto are accused of burning some of the girl’s personal items in another location.
After Fratto’s hearing on Friday, Patten is scheduled to ask that the possibility of the death penalty be taken off the table if he is convicted.