Lawyer for Rittman girl requests furlough, mistrial in homicide case

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Erica Stefanko sits next to attorney Kerry O'Brien in Summit County's Common Pleas Court on November 25, after she was convicted of the 2012 murder of Ashley Biggs.

Two new problems have emerged in Erica Stefanko’s murder case since she was convicted last month.

Rittman, 38, Stefanko was found guilty of murder and murder in Summit County’s Common Pleas Court in November for allegedly involved in the 2012 murder of Ashley Biggs, a Jackson Township woman was. She is due to be sentenced on January 11th.

Kerry O’Brien, one of Stefanko’s attorneys, requested leave for his client to be released from prison and spend time with her family on vacation. He said Stefanko would wear a GPS watch bracelet and report to the probation department daily.

Prosecutors and diva Edel, the lawyer for Biggs’ teenage daughter and Chad Cobb – the man who killed Biggs – denied the request. Prosecutors said Stefanko was a flight risk, and Edel said her client would “not feel safe” if Stefanko was released from prison.

Judge Amy Corrigall Jones denied the motion.

Erica Stefanko listens to Judge Amy Corrigall Jones after she was found guilty of the 2012 murder of Ashley Biggs on November 25.

O’Brien also recently asked Jones to declare a mistrial for saying mistakes were made in the first trial. This would mean that Stefanko would get a new lawsuit.

O’Brien said Jones failed to follow due process when the jury said they were bogged down and she urged them to keep trying to reach consensus. About two hours later, the jury announced that they had reached a verdict.

The attorney also cited concerns that jurors felt pressured to make a decision due to the upcoming Thanksgiving festival and was concerned about the rising COVID-19 cases in Summit County.

O’Brien did not return phone messages for comment.

Getting a trial before a defendant is convicted is an unusual step, although these types of concerns are often raised in post-conviction appeals.

Summit County attorneys did not respond to O’Brien’s request, and Jones did not make a decision on the request.

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at [email protected], 330-996-3705 and on Twitter at @swarsmithabj.