Thursday, March 11, 2021

Westland man sentenced to prison in woman’s death

Anthony Kesteloot
Third Circuit Judge Donald Knapp sentenced Anthony Kesteloot, 27, of West-land to 5-15 years in prison in connection to the death of Westland resident Olivia Rossi.

Kesteloot had entered a plea of no contest to a charge of manslaughter, reduced from a charge of open murder. He had previously been charged with disinterment of a dead body, obstruction of justice, removing a dead body without proper permission, failure to report a dead body and tampering with evidence in a criminal case.

No contest is usually treated as a guilty plea by the court.

Rossi, 23, last communicated with her family on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019 when she sent a text message to her twin sister, Raquel Rossi. In the text she said she was with Kesteloot, whom the pair knew from school, and he was acting strangely.

About a week later, after multiple police interviews during which he denied knowing anything about her death, Kesteloot finally directed Westland police investigators to Rossi's body partially lying in the Rouge River in Hines Park. He originally told police investigators that she had walked home from his apartment that same night and that he did not know he whereabouts.

The judge expressed his sympathy to Rossi's family during the Zoom sentencing but said that he believed there was a strong chance that, if the case had gone to a jury trial, Kesteloot would not have been found guilty of murder. In a not guilty verdict by a jury, the judge said, no jail sentence at all would have been imposed. 

He noted that the medical examiner's report did not conclusively say that Rossi died of strangulation nor had the prosecutor proved that Kestleloot strangled her.

Kesteloot was given credit for 560 days of jail time already served against his sentence.