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Supreme Court declines to hear Stephens appeal

Setback for man convicted of Joshua Pipho murder

Posted: July 19, 2012 7:02 p.m.
Updated: July 19, 2012 7:02 p.m.
Michael Dean Stephens Michael Dean Stephens
Michael Dean Stephens

The state Supreme Court declined to review the case of convicted murderer Michael Dean Stephens this week, a setback in efforts appeal his conviction.

Stephens was 18 when he brutally murdered 20-year-old Joshua Pipho at a party in Stevenson Ranch in 2007. Jurors found him guilty of stabbing Pipho 16 times and then getting in his car and driving over his victim.

Stephens was convicted in November 2010 of second-degree murder in Pipho’s slaying. He was sentenced to 17 years to life in prison.

But the jury that found him guilty in San Fernando Superior Court remained deadlocked on a related attempted-murder charge involving a second man who was stabbed several times but lived.

On Feb. 15, 2011, less than three months after the conviction, lawyers filed an appeal and presented their arguments in April that year.

In May, a state appeals court upheld the conviction.

The three-justice panel of California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there were errors in the instructions given to jurors who convicted Stephens.

Within a month of that decision, lawyers representing Stephens asked for a review of the appellate court’s decision.
On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court refused to review the case.

Stephens stabbed Pipho 16 times on Nov. 23, 2007, then got into his car and drove over him, struck Chad Weitz with his car, then got out of his car again and stabbed Weitz 16 times.

Weitz survived his injuries.

Stephens, a former student at Valencia High School who was later transferred to Bowman High School, turned 23 last week while locked up in Ironwood State Prison.

He entered the prison in Blythe, California, on Feb. 2, 2011.

Lawyers filed their appeal of the case 13 days later.




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