2016-02-13 / Front Page

Appeal filed in murder case

A St. Marys man convicted of murdering his former girlfriend in a fit of rage more than two years ago is seeking a new trial.

Michael Stephanic Jr., 46, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at a state prison in Camp Hill for the 2013 Labor Day shooting death of former Emporium resident June Talmadge while the two argued outside the Eastern Sintered Alloys plant in St. Marys, where they both worked.

Court-appointed attorney George Daghir filed a postsentence motion claiming Judge Richard Masson erred by refusing Stephanic’s request to be evaluated by a forensic psychologist and neuropharmacologist prior to his trial.

Tests were sought to assess the defendant’s mental state at the time of the crime, including the possibility that he was so highly intoxicated that he didn’t comprehend the consequences of his actions.

Last August, jurors deliberated less than an hour before returning a guilty verdict, dismissing Stephanic’s claims of diminished capacity at the time of the murder. The state-mandated automatic sentence was life imprisonment. Stephanic was also ordered to pay $12,000 to cover funeral and burial expenses.

Stephanic’s anger was fueled in part by a police encounter several hours before the murder, in response to a domestic disturbance at the Brusselles Street apartment he shared with the victim.

Police who responded saw no injuries and Talmadge told them she did not want them to pursue charges.

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