Man convicted in Stevenson Ranch murder

SAN FERNANDO - A jury in San Fernando convicted a 21-year-old defendant late Tuesday of murdering one man in 2007, but deadlocked on an attempted murder count involving a second victim.The jury deliberated just over three days before finding Michael Dean Stephens guilty of one count of second-degree murder in the Nov. 24, 2007, killing of 20-year-old Joshua Pipho of Canyon Country. During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Mary Sedgwick presented evidence that Pipho was stabbed, and then run over by a car driven by the defendant. The jury found true allegations that Stephens used deadly weapons - a knife and a vehicle - to kill the victim. The jury failed to reach a verdict an attempted murder charge in which a second victim was stabbed more than a dozen times. The victim survived. After the jury announced it was deadlocked 8-4 for guilt, trial Judge Daniel Feldstern declared a mistrial and scheduled sentencing for Stephens for Dec. 2. The defendant faces 17 years to life in prison. A decision on whether to retry the attempted murder count is expected to be announced at the next court appearance. The stabbings occurred during an altercation at a Stevenson Ranch condominium complex. Stephens was charged with the crimes on Nov. 30, 2007, and has remained in jail on $1.5 million bail.

********** Published: November 11, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 30