The real death of a cheerleader story (1985)

Original publication: Ladies' Home Journal Date: November 1985
Categories: 1980s, Culture & lifestyle, Family & parenting, Featured, Magazines, School & education
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On December 11, Bernadette was called in for an interview with Ron Hilley, a young FBI agent assisting in the case. She stuck to her story initially, but when Hilley described the psychological profile of the suspect in the case which showed, among other things, that the killer would have little remorse for her crime-Bernadette said, “It sounds like me.” She asked Hilley if he had ever considered that a sixteen-year-old girl might be more afraid of publicity than of going to prison. Bernadette then said she wanted to go home and think, and Hilley agreed. Without a confession, authorities did not have enough evidence to arrest her.

That night, Bernadette told her mother they needed to talk, but Elaine Protti said she was tired. The following morning, a cold, blustery day, Bernadette gave her mothei a letter and asked her not to open it for half an hour. Elaine, who was studying the Bible, set her kitchen timer and resumed reading. Bernadette went to school.

When the time was up, Elaine Protti read her daughter’s confession. “I can’t bring her back, but I’m sorry. I’ve been able to live with it for a while but I can’t ignore it… I’m even worse than words can describe and I hate myself .” In a P.S., she wrote, “Please don’t say how could you or why because I don’t understand this and I don’t know why. I need so much help and love. I don’t know what to do. I’m sorry.”

Elaine called the school, and she and her husband brought their daughter to the sheriffs office in nearby Martinez. Bernadette gave a ninety-minute confession, taped by sheriffs deputies.

The news flew through the town. Everyone knew the killer had been apprehended, but no one knew who it was. On December 11, nearly every girl attending Miramonte, even those with the flu, showed up. No one wanted an absence to be confused with an arrest. The only person missing from the morning Latin class was Bernadette. The day after the arrest, the sheriff called a well-attended press conference. His team had put in 4,000 man-hours, followed 1,000 leads, interviewed 800 people, and checked out 750 Pintos, the sheriff told the press, as he and other investigators stood for photographers and reporters.

Three months later, residents of Orinda packed a local courtroom for her trial. At the start of the proceeding, Bernadette sat facing forward, her mouth slack, her eyes unfocused. But when Berit Costas walked away from the witness stand, slowing her gait as she passed by Bernadette, the defendant turned away and never looked straight ahead again.

When the taped confession was played, the only noise in the hushed courtroom was Bernadette’s sweet, girlish voice. “What are you going to tell the press?” was the first question she asked during the confession, followed by another: “Do I go to juvenile hall or do I go back to Miramonte?” Her fears of Miramonte were greater. She knew what the students there would do to her. “I can’t live if it is known. I would rather die.”

Asked what Kirsten had done to make her angry, Bernadette said: “I have a lot of inferiority feelings — and I really have bad feelings about myself. I lost for cheerleader. I didn’t get into the club I wanted to. I didn’t get on yearbook. So, I don’t know, I just felt bad.”

She said that Kirsten, “Just sort of put me down… I remembered one time on the ski trip we were on together. I mean, we don’t have a lot of money and we can’t afford a lot of nice ski stuff and I just had this really crummy pair of skis and some boots, but, you know, I was having fun anyway. Kirsten made some comment about them, and it just seemed like everyone else was thinking that, but she was the only one who would come out and say it.”

(Article continues below)

Bernadette admitted she had made the phone call setting up a meeting with Kirsten. She had just wanted to befriend her classmate and take her to a party, she said. When Kirsten approached the Pinto she looked inside and said blandly, “Oh, it’s you.”

Bernadette said Kirsten wanted to smoke pot first, a claim that drew cries of disbelief from Kirsten’s parents and friends. “She made it sound like this was a drug-related murder, and it wasn’t,” says Berit Costas. While not saying that her daughter had never tried marijuana, Berit insisted that Kirsten did not have her own supply.

Still, Bernadette said in her confession that she and Kirsten drove to the church parking lot to smoke the pot, but when Bernadette refused, an argument foliowed. Kirsten ran from the car and Bernadette pursued her. She claimed she followed in the Pinto only to make sure Kirsten got home safely. But as she drove, she became frightened about how Kirsten might describe the evening to the other girls at school.

By the time Kirsten left Alexander Arnold’s car at her neighbor’s house, Bernadette’s fear had turned to anger. She said she used a knife she found in the Pinto to stab Kirsten to death. (Bernadette’s sister, Virginia, a bank examiner who took the witness stand, said she left foot-and-a-half-long knives in the car to slice tomatoes at lunchtime.)

After killing Kirsten, Bernadette said she returned home, hid the knife and took a walk with her mother and the family dog. The following day she washed the knife and returned it to the kitchen. Later, she would throw her T-shirt and sweatpants in the garbage dump of the Sleepy Hollow Swim Club. Several spectators at the trial were moved by the ninety-minute confession. A few cried. One reporter wrote that by the end of the tape, even Berit Costas’s head was bowed. The reporter had misunderstood. Kirsten’s mother was trying not to get sick.

The murder of her daughter, Berit says, “was premeditated from the moment of the phone call. [Bernadette] had plenty of time to change her mind.” The Costases charged that Bernadette’s confession was riddled with lies — that no one would use an eighteen-inch knife to cut a tomato and that Bernadette, casually dressed, never planned on taking Kirsten to a party.

On the afternoon of the third day of the trial, Judge Edward Merill found Bernadette Protti guilty of second-degree murder. On April 1, the first hot day of spring, while kids throughout Orinda were signing up for Meadow Pool’s summer swim team, Bernadette Protti was sentenced. She was committed to the the California Youth Authority. She can serve no less than one year and no more than nine — until she reaches the age of twenty-five. According to her attorney, Charles James, juveniles convicted of murder in California serve an average of four to six years.

There have been several changes in Orinda since Bernadette’s arrest. For one, some of Heather Crane’s former classmates have started speaking to Heather again. “I think a lot of people feel bad,” says one junior, referring to the rumors implicating Heather. “What can you do? You can’t make up for six months of hell.”

For the students, the killing and its aftermath have left bitter feelings. Many say they can’t trust anyone anymore, not after what Bernadette did.

And, they realized, the problem didn’t lie only with Bernadette.

“People can get really nasty at this school,” says one junior, standing with a group of classmates on the lawn surrounding Miramonte. “Everyone says this school is so boring, so they start doing things for entertainment. They start being cruel. Everyone wants to be the best. It’s so competitive.”

“It’s a circle,” says another. She calls to classmates to ask who made pompom girl and cheerleader. “Kelly, Karin and Brooke,” her friends shout.

“That’s so hot,” the girl says, and heads home.

 

Bernadette Protti apparently was release on parole in 1992, having served almost 8 years of her sentence. Upon her release, she reportedly changed her name.

 

Top photo on page 1: From the original article; Photo 2: Kirsten Costas in Washington DC in October 1981 (from the editor’s personal collection). All other photos are from the Miramonte High School yearbook, 1985.


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Source publication: Ladies' Home Journal

Publication date: November 1985


47 Comments

  1. Kelly

    Any more update regarding Bernadette and the family members of both girls?

  2. miranda

    Bernadette protti longed to be popular and she decided to kill an innocent person just because she couldn’t have things get way….that’s sad. I just don’t understand can’t people just be happy with what god has made them.

    • maria casillas

      for what i read the cheerleader was mean to bernadette protti,the cheerleader always thought she was prettier than bernadette and didnt want to be her friend.kirsten the cheerleader always hurt her feelings.have you seen the movie with tori spelling?death of the cheerleader.

      • disgruntled donut

        You know movies aren’t real, don’t ya? Read about the real story instead of talking crap.

        • Sebbie

          I can’t believe they made a movie that was so offensive to the real victim. It sounds like she was only mean one time about her having cheap ski boots. And ironically the real Kirsten was the brunette and the kiler was the blonde. The goth was actually into New Wave music and was not goth people at the school just thought she was weird for dying her hair New Wave because it was such a conservative school. She had a sort of ombre style in fact which was kind of weird in the 80s, but cutting edge. She once told Kirsten to shut up in biology and that’s why everyone thought she’d done it.

      • Batman bin Superman

        Maria
        You didn’t read that. No such articles exist about anything you have described. There is no point in making stuff up.

  3. Allyson

    The movie really leaned toward Bernadette being seen by Kirsten and others as less of a person. But I do agree in the movie Bernadette seemed dressed down the night of the murder and if she was really going to a popular party, bringing Kirsten and wanting to be seen as more popular, then she would have been dressed nicer. And in the movie, the big butcher knife sat between the 2 girls in the car. Bernadette, as described would have known that Kirsten would have thought it weird to be driving around with a butcher knife. Pre-meditation seems sensible between the clothes and the knife. The only truly real statement that is completely believable is Bernadette’s taped confession where she is mostly panicked about press and people “knowing”. As any 15 year old would….even today in 2015.

    • Nancy Grzybowski

      The movie did not do justice to Kirsten’s memory as it seemed to blame the victim rather than the killer. Additionally, the Bernadette character was portrayed as sweet and innocent, while a sexy twenty-something Tori Spelling played the part of the 15 year old Kirsten. Looking at the pictures, it is shocking to see that Kirsten Costas is the face of an innocent little girl. Lifetime should be ashamed. Knowing that the Protti family is no longer poor, I hope they didn’t benefit financially from this film!

      • joy

        I don’t understand why Kirsten Costas was portrayed as a pretty girl or how she even was some one to be jealous of. I’m not saying that she should have been killed, but sometimes bad behavior has a terrible outcome which is why we all need to teach our children to respect the feelings of others.

        • Karen

          “Joy”,

          I don’t understand why you sympathize with a murderer and perpetuate lies about her murder victim under different aliases.

          What bad behaviour? You never give examples of what Kirsten did.

          “we all need to teach our children to respect the feelings of others”

          So Kirsten should have been perfectly okay with the fact that Bernadette lied to her to get her out of her house alone and then drove her to an empty car-park and appears to have confessed feelings of admiration for her? Do you really think it’s acceptable to lure someone out of their house under false pretences and then expect a positive reaction if your lie is discovered? If Bernadette respected Kirsten’s feelings, she would have left Kirsten alone when she fled Bernadette’s car and wouldn’t have stalked her to her house. As I wrote to you in a previous comment, if anyone was “pushed to the brink”, it was Kirsten, but instead of reacting violently like Bernadette did, she ran from Bernadette’s car. Kirsten is the true victim in this case.

          As I also wrote to you in a previous comment, judging from your malicious, reprehensible comments and utter ignorance and delusion, your moral fiber is rotten to the core, and I pity any child subjected to your skewed guidance as their moral fiber will no doubt succumb to decay.

    • Sebbie

      The knife was her sister’s for making lunch it was even in the movie that way. The movie hinted at Bernadette being gay but only a hint. “Oh you’re so pretty and popular and amazing” I think that’s what Kirsten meant by her friend “getting weird” Then she killed her rather than have Kirsten tell everyone she was a lesbian. That’s a much more obvious motive.

  4. miranda

    first of all, the judge had to be stupid to find it second degree murder and it doesn’t matter if she didn’t plan to kill kirsten. Bernadette deserved the same sentence as would any get it doesn’t matter even if she was a juvenile at the time she.should have been trialed as an adult. The costas still have to deal with pain and grief and it doesn’t matter if she was angry nobody thought about kirsten or her family by letting bernadette get a slap on the wrist! justice was nwot served and the costas have shed tears and felt grief for over 30 years and i think bernadette shouldn’t have been given the privelege to go to college, get her high school diploma, have a boyfriend, and then have kids and get married no she should have been locked in a brick cell staring at walls all day so that she could focus on what she did but no she is scott free now to go out and kill again if she wants. i don’t want to hear poor bernadette was bullied no she had mental issues. i feel sorry.for any poor sap who has to live in her neighborhood because like the investigator wisehart said she has a hidden trigger that anyone can pull just by not giving her what she thinks she.should get in a relationship. the fact is bullying had nothing to do with it she was a sick and twisted individual and still is!

    • Rupaul

      Nope! Not when she was bullied and pushed to her limit!! Snobs like Kristen who think they are better than everyone, put others down, and degrade them because of their class status are the reason shootings like Columbine took place. I was raised to treat others with respect. Real class comes from decent human beings who have respect for others, and treating others the way that they want to be treated. I don’t believe she deserved to die, but she should have received a serious reality check. Maybe her parents should have raised her better. Sorry but the parents are to blame. My kid knows better than to bully others.

      • Karen

        “Rupaul”

        Where are the examples of Kirsten bullying Bernadette and pushing her to her limit? As I wrote in another comment to you, If Bernadette killed Kirsten because she was “bullied” and “put down by her”, why didn’t she give examples at her trial which would have strengthened her case? She didn’t give examples because she wasn’t bullied by Kirsten. Can you give examples of Kirsten “degrading” others and “thinking she is better than everyone”? Your comments continue to reiterate the plot for the movie “Death of a Cheerleader”. It was a fictional depiction loosely based on Kirsten and Bernadette.

        “I was raised to treat others with respect. Real class comes from decent human beings who have respect for others”

        It is abundantly clear from your comments that you do not have class and were not raised to treat others with respect, you odiously sanctimonious deluded ignoramus. Is it respectful to perpetuate lies about a murdered teenage girl due to a fictional depiction? Is it respectful to write in another comment that “Kirsten had it well deserved”, which suggests that you think Kirsten’s murder was justified? Is it respectful to suggest that Kirsten’s parents “should have raised her better” and that they are to “blame” for her murder? Blaming Kirsten’s parents for her death is the epitome of classlessness and disrespect. It also evil and sick. Shame on you.

        ” I don’t believe she deserved to die”

        Why are you contradicting yourself? You wrote in another comment “, Kristen had it well deserved”.

        “My kid knows better than to bully others”

        Judging from your malicious, reprehensible comments and utter ignorance and delusion, your moral fiber is rotten to the core, and I pity any child subjected to your skewed guidance as their moral fiber will no doubt succumb to decay.

        • joy

          Did you ever stop and think that Bernadette was a fragile human being? Did you ever think that she would not want to try to defend herself in court with letting out the terrible things Kristen said to her and how she berated her and others because she was sorry and she felt as though that would only add insult to injury to Kristen’s family? Society in the richest places raise their children to be obnoxious and unbearable little freaks who will at some point push a normal person to the brink,so whatever happens is something they are a part of as well as the person they have pushed.

          • Karen

            Excuse my long reply. I can’t get to the point quickly.

            “Joy”, why don’t you stick to writing under one name instead of creating different aliases? Also, I’m flattered by the attention you gave me on the blog. It made me feel oh so special.

            How was Bernadette a “fragile human being”? She did well in school academically, had plenty of friends, her close friends genuinely cared about her, she was described as ” popular in her own way”and she was invited to join an exclusive sorority club.

            Or do you mean that you think she was a fragile human being before she brutally murdered Kirsten? How so?

            Bernadette rang Kirsten’s mother to invite Kirsten to a non existent sorority dinner. She lured Kirsten out of her house under false pretences to the non existent sorority dinner and then drove Kirsten to an empty car-park at night. I think a lot of people would have found Bernadette’s plan to lure them out of their house under false pretences very disconcerting and would be angered over it like Kirsten appears to have been.

            Kirsten understandably didn’t appreciate the fact that she was lured out of her house under false pretences, so she left Bernadette’s car. Bernadette then stalked Kirsten all the way to her house, ambushed her from behind with a 15/18 inch knife, inflicted Kirsten with two two foot wounds down her back and continued to stab Kirsten when she was suffering on the ground with her wounds. Bernadette would have seen the pain and anguish on Kirsten’s face, the fear and shock in Kirsten’s eyes, listened to Kirsten scream in agony (she was reported to have screamed) as she felt the knife rip through Kirsten’ skin. Bernadette was clearly very sick and disturbed, yet you appear to be minimizing or even excusing Kirsten’s murder by referring to Bernadette “as a fragile human being”, and writing ” Society in the richest places raise their children to be obnoxious and unbearable little freaks who will at some point push a normal person to the brink”.

            “Did you ever think that she would not want to try to defend herself in court with letting out the terrible things Kristen said to her and how she berated her and others because she was sorry and she felt as though that would only add insult to injury to Kristen’s family?”

            Rubbish. If Bernadette had considered Kirsten’s family’s feelings at all, she wouldn’t have stolen Kirsten from them by brutally murdering her. An example that shows that Bernadette didn’t have respect for Kirsten’s family and shows how detached Bernadette was from killing Kirsten was that she appeared to have no inhibitions about attending Kirsten’s funeral. She would have seen Kirsten’s parents and brother crying anguished tears of unfathomable sorrow and would have seen the inconsolable grief and despair etched into their faces, and she had the unconscionable gall to not only attend Kirsten’s funeral knowing she was responsible for putting Kirsten in her coffin, but also had the cold nerve to be in the presence of and be able to look at Kirsten’s family whose sadness and grief would have been heart wrenchingly palpable, which she knew she was responsible for. A sane or “fragile” person would not have been able to endure being confronted with so much pain that they were responsible for, yet Bernadette could and did. She could “block it out of her mind” (her words).

            Was Bernadette “fragile” when she watched as two innocent girls were accused of Kirsten’s murder by the Orinda community? Was Bernadette “fragile” when she took Catechism classes with one of the accused girls and would have no doubt seen the emotional toll being falsely accused of murder would have taken on the girl, yet she acted like nothing was amiss. Was Bernadette “fragile” when she coolly discussed Kirsten’s murder with classmates, some of which include Kirsten’s friends. Was Bernadette “fragile” when her behaviour was reported to not have changed after Kirsten’s murder?
            As I wrote in a previous comment to you above “rupaul/joy”, if there was evidence of Kirsten bullying Bernadette, she would have given examples which would have strengthened her case and possibly portrayed her as a sympathetic character. Why deliberately refrain from giving examples if she could have been accused of first degree murder?
            The only incident Bernadette recounted was a remark Kirsten made about her skis. She couldn’t give any more examples because there was no more examples which is why there is still no clear reason why she killed Kirsten.

            “Society in the richest places raise their children to be obnoxious and unbearable little freaks who will at some point push a normal person to the brink,so whatever happens is something they are a part of as well as the person they have pushed”

            Please explain how Bernadette was “pushed to the brink”? Bernadette concocted a plan to get Kirsten out of her house and it appears that Kirsten got annoyed when she discovered that Bernadette lied to get her out of her house alone. Bernadette then drove Kirsten to an empty car-park and appears to have confessed feelings of admiration for her. Do you really think it’s acceptable to lure someone out of their house under false pretences and then expect a positive reaction if your lie is discovered? Kirsten ran from Bernadette’s car and wanted to be left alone, yet Bernadette stalked Kirsten to her house. If anyone was “pushed to the brink”, it was Kirsten, but instead of reacting violently, she fled from Bernadette’s car.

            “Society in the richest places raise their children to be obnoxious and unbearable little freaks”

            Orinda was not Beverly Hills. It was full of middle – class and upper- middle class families. Bernadette lived in a wealthier area than Kirsten. The only “freak” in this tragic story is Bernadette.

      • Ecfinn

        You’re going off the crappy movie. That movie was terrible and blamed the victim for her own murder. There was no justification for murder even if the victim was a bully, which it seems she was, at worst, catty.

      • Sebbie

        Dylan and Erik’s parents were loaded. They were rich. lol Dylan’s mother saying “We weren’t rich. We bought a do up property.” Upper middle class at least.

  5. Kelly

    WOW MIRANDA, IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU MIGHT HAVE A TRIGGER TOO. YOU NEED TO LEAVE BERNADETTE TO GOD, AND YOUR NOT HIM.

  6. Sarah

    This is what can happen when you are a bully. Bernadette was better looking then Kirsten. Too bad Bernadette couldn’t see that..

    • Martin

      Sarah, well, MURDER IS NOT AN OPTION!! What is horrible is how pathetic Bernadette was to begin with. You obviously are very contradicting since from gathering what the “Hollywood” movie has told you if Kirsten was truly a “witch”, then, Bernadette was a bigger idiot since she wanted to befriend such a person to begin with. It shows what a shallow, loser, she was. She had plenty of friends like in the film who loved her, but she cared only about superficial things, and people. The tragedy is some of you morons cannot get through your head that you cannot make the world like you!!! Secondly, if you actually did your research on the true case, and not some Hollywood movie who portrayed supposedly Kirsten, who was of Greek American heritage a blond, and Bernadette, who was the real blond, a brunette. Hollywood tends to make villains heroes, and innocent people into villains. It also tends to victimize blonds! Your argument is Sort of pointless, and hypocritical considering that Bernadette did not value TRUE FEELINFS, FREINDSHIPS!!! Her main concern when being caught was people finding out who she was, and people hating her rather then easing the pain of the parents who obviously would never be the same considering they buried their own child (who had not had a chance to live, and have life beyond her own) before they buried themselves! People like you expect the world to owe you something. Bernadette admitted to many friends she craved the wealthy life, and hated that her own parents (whom I feel sorry for) were so old. She dared to say she could not commit suicide because her religion would not allow it, but did not take into consideration the life of Kirstens! Shame on such a post you wrote! She is what people who know psychology well, especially Criminal Psychology, a Sociopath! Everything is Me! Me! Me! When it came to Bernadette. Even religion, which is supposed to be about mostly how you treat others. She turned it about herself! She didnt care wheather her mom or dad suffered, she just would not subject herself to something like suicide because she loves herself more then anyone else. I hope she prays from the bottom of her heart, because the pain she caused the Costas’ well, she will have to pray forever!!! Also, HELL NO Bernadette was not cuter, or prettier then Kirsten. Kirsten was exotic, and beautiful. Not a plaine jane….get real. You call the pic of her double chin better looking? I think NOT!

      • Rupaul

        I’m sorry but I disagree. I feel sorry for Bernadette. I can’t stand snobby bitches who put others down and bully them. This is exactly why the Columbine shooting happened, and why these things happen in the first place. There is no justification for murder, and I am not siding with the criminals, but you can push someone so far.

        • Karen

          “Rupaul”

          Can you give examples of Kirsten bullying Bernadette? If Bernadette killed Kirsten because she was “bullied” and “put down by her”, why didn’t she give examples at her trial which would have strengthened her case? She didn’t give examples because she wasn’t bullied by Kirsten. Columbine has nothing to do with case and you know well that the two can’t be compared. How did Kirsten push Bernadette “so far”? Kirsten was lured out of her house under false pretences to a bobbie (sorority) dinner that didn’t exist by someone she wasn’t friends or even acquaintances with. She was then driven to an empty car- park at night and was justifiably angry with Bernadette over it. Most people would be angered and perturbed by that kind of behavior.

          “There is no justification for murder, and I am not siding with the criminals, but you can push someone so far”

          Really? In another one of your comments your wrote “Well said Sarah. Kristen had it well deserved” in response to someone else, which suggests that you think her cruel murder was justified. Judging from your comments you clearly have sided with Bernadette, so why contradict yourself? Read the facts of the case instead of perpetuating lies that Kirsten “pushed” Bernadette or that she “bullied” Bernadette.

        • Skye

          Rupaul
          You seem to have the mentality of a child.
          Are you bullied in school?
          Please make an appointment with your councilor at school and discuss this with him or her…
          Good luck dear

      • joy

        Please, get yourself some help.

        • Karen

          For what? Being disgusted with a murderer and defending a murder victim? Being disgusted with the the murderer’s nonchalant behaviour after her brutal crime? Being disgusted that the murderer allowed two innocent girls to be accused of the murder?
          You sympathize with a murderer and deliberately perpetuate lies about her victim under different aliases, yet you are telling someone else to get help? Your lack of self awareness is both amusing and perplexing.

    • Sebbie

      Bernadette was prettier. I think she had a crush on Kirsten and was terrified of Kirsten telling everyone she was a lesbian.

  7. Shelly

    Your eyes are deceiving you. I know beauty is all a matter of perception, not that it matters but in no universe would Bernadette be considered better looking. Bernadette was homely; Kirsten was pretty. Kirsten wasn’t a bully. Educate yourself about this case, you simple minded degenerate. Too bad Bernadette WAS a pathetic psychopathic freak.

    • Rupaul

      Really,

      Well based on the movie, Kristen came off as a total snob and bully.

      • Karen

        “Rupaul”

        The characters were loosely based on Kirsten and Bernadette. The script for the movie was written by Randall Sullivan who wrote the one-sided scathingly critical “Death of a Cheerleader” article for Rolling Stone, which the movie was based on. Randall admitted that he felt no sympathy for Kirsten and that is clearly evident in the movie as he deliberately portrayed Kirsten’s character as an insufferable, unlikable bully bitch in order for Bernadette’s character to come across as sympathetic as possible because he identified with her. I would suggest that you should be able to distinguish between a fictional depiction and reality, but judging from your comments it is clearly beyond your capacity to do so.

      • Ecfinn

        “Well based on the movie…” Yeah, that’s your problem. The movie, like most movies, is no an accurate account. Even before I read about the real case, I thought the movie blamed the victim way too much. IN REALITY, Kristen was, at worst, sometimes catty to Bernadette. Bernadette had jealousy issues. There’s no excuse for murder. Read the article, read more on the actual case, stop judging real people based on a low-budget lifetime movie.

  8. Karen

    Kirsten was a cute sweet looking little thing. Bernadette was described as homely.

  9. Kelly

    homely??lol go guys and do some research..the real Bernadette was very beautiful,(but poor) while the real Kristen was very average (but rich)…Kristen well deserved her fate,all the bullies making other’s life miserable…no sympathy from me at all.

    • Karen

      Why are you so focused on what they looked like? I disagree with you. I thought Kirsten was a very pretty little thing. If you did your “research”, you would know that Kirsten didn’t bully Bernadette. You are a sick minded individual to perpetuate that lie about Kirsten, but I suppose it’s easier for you and your ilk to criticize a dead teenager because she it’s not like she can defend herself, is it? To suggest that Kirsten deserved what happened to her because she didn’t appreciate the fact that Bernadette lied to her to get her out of her house under the pretence of a “bobbies” initiation dinner, is very, very sick and evil and I hope for the sake of others around you that you are on some sort of medication because you appear to have issues. Also, Kirsten was upper middle class and lived in a less expensive area than Bernadette.

    • sarah cashman

      It would appear that kirsten marina costas was a spoilt rich kid who never had to go without any luxuries at all. She was mercilessly cruel to anyone who was nothing like her although death in my opinion was far too good for her or any other bully. The best way is to bring bullies down a peg or a few. That could hurt much more than death. Poor bernadette seemed very vulnerable and in need of help. She needed friends, more encouragement from teachers, not teasing and ostracisation. People need others not bullying. This type of case just proves what can happen when bullies go too far. We are all different. Some are quick, rich, own the finest and the most expensive of anything. Others are not so lucky. is it really about wealth, splendour etc? No, it is about love, people. So I would say to any bully, we all have our weaknesses,
      so dont mock, offer to help thus build bridges.

      • Karen

        You don’t know whether or not Kirsten had to go without anything. Her family were upper-middle class, not multi millionaires. Bernadette’s family lived in a more expensive area than Kirsten, so what does that tell you? There is no evidence of Kirsten being “mercilessly cruel” to anyone. If Kirsten was “mercilessly cruel” to Bernadette, it would have been brought up at Bernadette’s trial which would have strengthened her case, but it wasn’t brought up because it didn’t happen. You clearly are basing your opinions on a movie – a fictional depiction. Bernadette had plenty of friends who loved her. She was also friends with people who were considered popular. She was not some vulnerable lost soul who was bullied mercilessly. She fit it fine and was considered to “be popular in her own way”. She was also a very good student who did well academically in school. There was no “teasing and ostracisation”. You appear to be making up scenarios in your head about Bernadette’s life and have difficulty differentiating fact from fiction. You need to get help for that, sweetie.
        The reason why Bernadette killed Kirsten is because Kirsten didn’t appreciated the fact that she was lured out of her house under the pretence of a Bobbies sorority initiation dinner by someone she wasn’t friends or even acquaintances with. Bernadette then drove Kirsten to an empty car park at night and appears to have confessed feelings of admiration for Kirsten. That would disturb most people. Bernadette then stalked Kirsten all the way to her house which would anger and disturb most people.

        “We are all different. Some are quick, rich, own the finest and the most expensive of anything. Others are not so lucky”

        Your point is irrelevant and has absolutely nothing to do with the case. Bernadette fit in fine and lived in a lovely area. Her inadequacies were all created by her and in her own head and she murdered Kirsten as a result.

        “No, it is about love, people. So I would say to any bully, we all have our weaknesses,”

        Judging by the comment you have written, you know nothing about love. You are disturbing and evil by stating that death was too good for Kirsten, an innocent victim of a brutal murder.
        You are bullying a dead teenage girl by deliberately and knowingly perpetuating lies about her because you appear to identify with Angela Delvecchio in “Death of a Cheerleader” ( a character that doesn’t exist and is not a real representation of what Bernadette Protti was like). Does it make you feel good to knowingly lie about a dead murdered girl? Love indeed.

      • Rupaul

        Well said Sarah. Kristen had it well deserved.

        • Karen

          Are you suggesting by your comment “Kirsten had is well deserved” that Kirsten “deserved” to be murdered because she understandably didn’t take kindly to being lured out of her house under false pretences to a bobbie (sorority) dinner that didn’t exist by someone she wasn’t friends or even acquaintances with and was then driven to an empty car-park at night. Bernadette then appears to have confessed her feelings of admiration for Kirsten in the empty car-park at night. Most people would find that bizarre and off-putting and would certainly not deserve to be killed over it.

      • Ecfinn

        You’re going off a movie…a fictionalized account. Read the article. Lot of weirdos on this thread. Probably chubby ugly girls who were bullied as kids.

    • Rupaul

      I agree! I can’t stand bullies.

      • Karen

        “Rupaul”

        Can you give examples of Kirsten bullying Bernadette? If Bernadette killed Kirsten because she was “bullied” by her, why didn’t she give examples at her trial, which would have strengthened her case? She didn’t give examples because she wasn’t bullied by Kirsten.

  10. Kelly C

    People, can’t we all just get along and respect one another’s opinion? You all sound a bit like the people you are gossiping about. Look inwards and think with consideration before you speak.

    • Karen

      I’m not arguing with and don’t mean to appear hostile and wouldn’t have bothered replying until I read that you are suggesting that “you all” (which I suppose includes me) sound like the people you are gossiping about”.

      Is it difficult to understand why a person might not respect the opinion of someone else who supports a murderer? Especially someone who not only blames the murder victim for her brutal murder, but also blames her innocent parents?

      “You all sound a bit like the people you are gossiping about”

      What? A murderer? My comments aren’t “gossip”.

      “Look inwards and think with consideration before you speak”

      Likewise. All the best.

  11. Megan

    The full length picture of Kirsten with her hair tied back is so cute. She looks like she would have lit up a room. How tragic she was murdered over basically nothing.

  12. Janet

    Wow all this bantering back and forth how sad. Lemme tell all of you a little something because I lived and breathed the entire lifestyle of growing up in orinda and knew both Bernadette and kirsten. I was in 8 the grade with Kirsten’s brother Peter and Bernadette had babysat me years prior and was very sweet. Bernadette was just as nice as we were on swim team together growing up. Living in orinda back in the 80s&90s was no easy task if you indidn’t wear the right clothes or drive the nice brand new car you wernt shit .

    • Karen

      You know what’s really sad? A grown woman from England pretending to be someone who knew Bernadette, Kirsten, or Kirsten’s brother. What’s wrong with you? You copied your little story from some other website. Seriously, what’s wrong with you?

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