NC Supreme Court upholds Wake man's conviction in toddler's death
Posted January 23, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.