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NC Supreme Court upholds Wake man's conviction in toddler's death

Posted January 23, 2015

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— The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday upheld the 2011 murder conviction of a man who beat and killed his 10-month-old stepdaughter in their Raleigh apartment more than five years ago.

The opinion reverses a split ruling a year ago by the state Court of Appeals that Joshua Andrew Stepp, 31, receive a new trial in the November 2009 death of Cheyenne Yarley because the judge improperly instructed the jury.

Stepp, an Iraq War veteran, admitted to killing the child but denied accusations by prosecutors that he sexually abused her.

Defense attorneys argued that Stepp was guilty of second-degree murder because he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of his Army service, and couldn't handle the child's crying on the night she died.

Wake County prosecutors unsuccessfully sought the death penalty against Stepp, saying he attempted to rape the child, shook her and slammed her face into the carpet.

He's serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.


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  • 678devilish Jan 26, 2015

    Thank you NC Supreme Court for upholding your decision. He killed this toddler and now should continue to pay the price.

  • theliberadicator Jan 23, 2015

    Yeah for the court. Now on to the Gay Marriage case.

  • Mary Boehm Jan 23, 2015
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    It doesn't matter what he suffers from he still killed an inocent child. He needs to stay in prison and quit trying to find a way to get out of this charge. He did't have mercy on her.

  • Bobby Medlin Jan 23, 2015
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    Somebody explain to me, how can the PTSD defense can be used against the death of a baby? I'm glad the jury didn't buy it either.

  • Debbie Rinaldo Jan 23, 2015
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    So sick... throw away the key.

  • SFSOLDIER Jan 23, 2015

    Sad for the child, and this former Soldier. Not sure if PTSD was founded or not...a dead child and his life thrown away. Crazy world we live in today.

  • Cabe Merritt Jan 23, 2015
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    Good for them! No excuse is exceptable for killing your own daughter...NONE!