Crime: Profile of a Murder Suspect

Can competition to become a high school cheerleader get so hot that it leads to murder? Police in the comfortable suburban San Francisco community of Orinda had to consider that possibility last week. They arrested Bernadette Protti, 16, and charged her with the killing last June of Kirsten Costas, 15, a fellow student at Miramonte High School. Kirsten had beaten out Bernadette and other applicants for a cheerleader's position. The stabbing had shocked the affluent city.

The arrest was made after police spent six months trying to find a suspect matching the description provided by a lone witness, who...

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