Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man found guilty of 2006 fatal beating

Stephen Sterling, 24, was sentenced to life without parole.

Stephen Sterling, 24, was sentenced to life without parole.

LARGO — A Pinellas jury took just over two hours Wednesday to find Stephen Sterling guilty of murdering an 85-year-old man in his St. Petersburg home during a burglary two years ago.

Sterling bowed his head into his lawyer's shoulder and sobbed for several minutes after the verdict was read. In the gallery, his grandmother fell to the floor and screamed: "You're all liars. You're all liars."

Across the aisle, two family members of the victim, George Wallace, cried quietly. Wallace had lived a tragic life, which included the murder of his daughter and the suicide of his wife. He was in a wheelchair and had many medical issues when he was murdered.

Circuit Judge Cynthia Newton immediately sentenced Sterling, 24, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which was the only possible sentence for first-degree murder in this case. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

Prosecutors said Sterling and an accomplice, Eugene Wesley, broke into Wallace's home on Jan. 13, 2006. They threw a comforter over the elderly man's head and beat him. Wallace later died from his injuries at a hospital.

Forensic technicians found Sterling's fingerprints in several areas of Wallace's home, including a window frame where the burglars broke in and a garage door where they exited the home. The burglars also stole Wallace's car, and technicians found Sterling's fingerprint on the car's gas cap.

Wesley struck a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to testify against Sterling. For his testimony, Wesley, who was 17 at the time of the crime, will plead guilty to second-degree murder and receive a 25-year prison sentence.

Sterling's defense lawyer told jurors that Wesley lied during his testimony and that Sterling's fingerprints could be explained because he knew Wallace and had been inside the house in the past.

Man found guilty of 2006 fatal beating 08/07/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 9, 2008 2:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jacksonville Port expansion gets a boost with Trump budget

    Blogs

    Efforts to expand the Jacksonville harbor got a major boost with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers committing $17.5 million for the project, which would all but ensure future funding

  2. Rays shut out Angels to cap homestand, get back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays completed their seven-game homestand Thursday with a 4-0 victory against the Angels, a win that moved them back to .500 for the season.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) after they score on the single by center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
  3. Pasco county lawyer disbarred for taking woman's money

    Real Estate

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis.

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis. 
[2016 booking photo via Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Florida Transportation Commission nominates three finalists for DOT secretary

    Blogs

    The short-list for Florida’s next transportation secretary is out, and the three nominees include current and former department employees along with a member of the Florida Transportation Commission, the board which selects the nominees.

  5. Greek ex-prime minister hurt as letter bomb explodes in car

    World

    ATHENS, Greece — Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was injured after a letter bomb exploded inside his car in a central Athens on Thursday in an attack that also left two Bank of Greece employees wounded.

    Greek police experts search for evidence at the scene of an explosion site in Athens, on Thursday. An explosion inside a car in Greece's capital wounded former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Thursday, police said. His injuries were not considered to be life-threatening. [AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis]