NC Supreme Court to hear arguments today in case of Raleigh baby killing | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Monday, January 12, 2015

NC Supreme Court to hear arguments today in case of Raleigh baby killing

Posted by on Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 7:45 AM

This morning a panel of NC Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments in the case of Joshua Andrew Stepp, the Raleigh Iraq War veteran convicted for sexually assaulting and beating to death his 10-month-old stepdaughter in 2009.

In 2011 Stepp was found guilty of felony murder and sentenced to life in prison after a jury ruled that he killed the infant while committing a sexual offense. Last January, the NC Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial. The appellate court ruled, in a 2-1 split, that the trial judge failed to instruct the jury on an affirmative defense to the underlying felony of sexual offense.

Evidence showed that the baby sustained injuries to her head, back, rectal and genital areas. Stepp admits to killing the girl, but said he did it accidentally, in attempt to stop her from crying and choking, after several failed attempts at changing her diaper. He denied sexually abusing the girl, arguing  that the genital injuries were due to his attempt to clean the child's feces and urine, in order to prevent infection. Stepp's attorneys say his military-related PTSD also played a role in the killing.

In reversing the trial court's decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that Judge W. Osmond Smith III should have told the jury that the defense to this particular felony murder scenario was that Stepp penetrated the infant's vagina for "accepted medical purposes." (Stepp had requested this jury instruction, but Smith denied it.)

Following the Court of Appeals reversal, Roy Cooper's office appealed the case to the NC Supreme Court. State's lawyers argue that  that the act of cleaning feces, standing alone, should not be considered an act performed for an acceptable medical purpose.
Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

It's spelled "Zainab Baloch".

by jason0x21 on Baldwin Bows Out of Raleigh At-large Race; All Council Candidates Have Opposition (News)

I live in Durham NC. We have a large growth in the last 6 years. The city have really gotten …

by Margaret Houston on Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham (News)

Most Recent Comments

It's spelled "Zainab Baloch".

by jason0x21 on Baldwin Bows Out of Raleigh At-large Race; All Council Candidates Have Opposition (News)

I live in Durham NC. We have a large growth in the last 6 years. The city have really gotten …

by Margaret Houston on Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham (News)

@ Hunter23 "A combination of investors and loans" is not specific, and nowhere in the article is the phrase "private …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

The article clearly states the building would be privately funded with the state/local gov pitching in for infrastructure enhancement. The …

by Hunter23 on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

I truly admire the passion and support the message. But it seems standing on an overpass during rush hour traffic …

by Diane Alenezi on High Above I-40, Protesters Call for "Health Care 4 All" (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation