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NC Supreme Court to hear child killer's case

Legal Insight     updated  2015/01/12 15:41

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of a man convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his 10-month-old stepdaughter, whom he admitted abusing and killing in a drunken rage.

The court will hold the hearing Monday in the case of Joshua Stepp, who was convicted of killing Cheyenne Yarley in November 2009. The jury's finding that Stepp sexually abused the child was key to convicting him of first-degree murder instead of second-degree murder. He's serving a life sentence without parole.

Stepp said he didn't sexually abuse the girl but instead aggressively cleaned her during a diaper change.

In a 2-1 decision last year, the Appeals Court said jurors should have been told Stepp's cleaning of the child was an accepted medical practice under state law.

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