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Stepdad To Get New Murder Trial In Death Of 10-Month-Old

3:11 PM, Jan 21, 2014   |    comments
Joshua Stepp Courtesy: WRAL
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RALEIGH, N.C. -- The North Carolina appeals court has ruled that a man who admitted abusing and killing his 10-month-old stepdaughter in a drunken rage should have a new trial on his first-degree murder conviction.

In a 2-1 opinion issued Tuesday, the court said Joshua Stepp should have a new trial on his first-degree murder conviction from the 2009 death. The split decision means prosecutors can appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

A key factor in Stepp's conviction was evidence that the girl was sexually abused. However, Stepp's attorneys said he should have been convicted of second-degree murder because those injuries occurred when the man cleaned her during a diaper change.

The judges wrote that defense attorneys should have been allowed to tell the jury those injuries occurred because cleaning a child while changing a diaper is "accepted medical practice." 

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