Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tribune carrier's killer sentenced to death


By MEGAN V. WINSLOW
megan.winslow@scripps.com

June 2, 2007

FORT PIERCE — Daniel P. DeStefano's family tearfully sat linked together hand in hand for more than an hour Friday listening to Circuit Judge James W. McCann review the case against DeStefano's killer.

By the time he pronounced sentence — death for Steven Douglas Hayward — their tears had mostly dried.

McCann followed a jury's 8-4 recommendation from March and sentenced the 38-year-old Fort Pierce resident for first-degree murder, armed robbery, armed burglary and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

"There will never be another Daniel DeStefano," said Tom Bakkedahl, the assistant state attorney who prosecuted Hayward.

Hayward's "reign of terror ends today. Unequivocally," he said.

Hayward shot the 32-year-old Fort Pierce Tribune newspaper carrier in the chest and thigh with a .22 caliber revolver as he was delivering papers and collecting change from newspaper stands along Avenue D about 4 a.m. on Feb. 1, 2005.

DeStefano, who carried a Magnum revolver for protection, managed to shoot Hayward in the left hand and run to safety, but he died at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute the next day from internal bleeding.

Hayward was arrested a few days after the shooting. His blood was found on DeStefano's faded blue jeans, where he had reached into the fallen man's pockets to remove $10 in cash.

Hayward still maintains he wasn't DeStefano's shooter. He sat impassively through Friday's hearing, even when DeStefano's niece, fianceé and mother took the witness stand and called him in turn "a cold-blooded killer," "an animal" and "a conniving, calculating, malicious person."

"I hope you suffer," Renee Edwards said to Hayward after speaking about her and DeStefano's hopes for children and a life together.

"You can't even look," she said, staring him down as she walked back to her seat.

"You destroyed our family and we will never be the same again," 19-year-old Amanda Seddio said with anger and tears. "I had to learn, at age 16, how cruel the world can be. You took my favorite person from me in a split second. You were in jail for 16 years — for your first murder — didn't that teach you anything? Obviously not. You killed my uncle for $10. Ten dollars."

Hayward's first murder, another "unprovoked encounter," was the most weighty aggravator that supported the death penalty, McCann said.

On Feb. 21, 1988, Hayward shot and killed Sebien DeRoche outside a 13th Street bar. Hayward pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree murder and two counts of armed robbery. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but left prison after 16 years because of state laws that allowed for an early release.

Hayward killed DeStefano 87 days after his release from prison for the DeRoche murder, a fact even defense attorney Robert Udell called "compelling" after the hearing.

"I doubt very much the public would disagree with the judge's decision," he said.
Udell's co-counsel, Jerome Stone, said their next step would be to work on Hayward's automatic appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

CHARGES AND SENTENCES

First-degree murder: Death
Armed robbery: Life in prison
without the chance for parole
Armed burglary: Life in prison
without the chance for parole
Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon: 15 years with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good for you....I hope you burn in hell

Anonymous said...

almost 5 years since this animal deliberately took the life on an innocent man. There is not enough hate in this world that I could have towards you. I hope the worst for you.

Anonymous said...

Iwish it is real soon you are put to death,you will burn in hell for killing someone i loved very much!!!

Anonymous said...

this government needs to pull there head outta there a$$. He killed someone got out and had the opportunity to do it again all becuase hes to lazy to go and get a job... Really sad

Anonymous said...

fuck all u muda fuckas who feel like my uncle should burn in hell.

Anonymous said...

Your Uncle should do more than burn in hell!!! The death penalty is too easy. This isn't the first time he killed someone. Your PIECE OF SHIT animal UNCLE KILLED MY COUSIN for $10.00!! Forget the death penalty, give my family your Uncle and he would have wished he was dead!

Anonymous said...

REALLY HE SHOULD OF BEEN DEAD ALREADY FOR WHAT HE DID TO MY NEPHEW AND OUR WHOLE FAMILY NO ONE FEELS SORRY FOR HIM HE IS AN ANIMAL THAT KILLED 2 PEOPLE NOT ONE WHY IS HE STILL ALIVE AND NOT MY NEPHEW I HOPE THE DAY COMES FAST I WANT TO SEE HIM BURN IN HELL,I WANT TO KNOW THAT DATE TO WATCH HIM DIE SO DONT YOU DARE CURSE US FOR WHAT YOUR ANIMAL UNCLE DID WE WILL NEVER EVER FORGET.

Anonymous said...

Our family would of cut him up piece by piece for what he did are you kidding me,and so right if our family got him plus all his friends,he would of prayed for the death penalty i guess you people dont love one another so you dont care who you kill but we do,but you will feel the pain when it happens to your uncle please let me know when.i miss my nephew every day my heart is broke and my family is a mess,so shut your mouth..

Anonymous said...

So, let me get this straight…

This Hayward guy murders someone, gets sentenced to 30 years, but they let him out in 15. Some weeks after getting out, he murders DeStefano. Who was the mental wizard that decided to let this guy out? Fantastic choice there. This “death row” nonsense will probably carry on for 15 years (something I’ve never been able to understand). So, he’ll serve the 30 years he was initially sentenced to, but they let him out just long enough to kill someone else. Just stellar.

And taxpayers continue to foot the bill to keep this waste of space alive in prison. I’ll bet that before it’s all over, taxpayers will have spent roughly a half million bucks keeping this guy around (the initial 15 years, plus however long this “death row” BS goes on, at probably $20K/year). How does that make sense? Who comes up with this crap?

Then of course taxpayers cover the salary of the aforementioned “mental wizard”, or some other government super genius, or set of super geniuses, that came up with the “Your sentenced to 30 years, but you only have to do 15” law. Why can’t that carry down to my tax bill? “You owe $500, but we’ll take $250”.

What a catastrophic failure of the system.

Michael Bacchio said...

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary that just piece of shit murdered my friend. He was sentenced to death why is he not dead yet? Could someone please explain this to me when is it's been going to die so his family could have closure