By Katie McLaughlin, Court TV
AKRON, Ohio – An Ohio woman convicted last year of making a bogus Domino’s pizza delivery call to lure another woman to her death has been sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.
Last November, Erica Stefanko was found guilty of murder and aggravated murder for the part she played in the 2012 slaying of Ashley Biggs. Biggs, a pizza delivery driver at the time of her death, had been embroiled in a bitter custody battle with her ex and Stefanko’s then-husband, Chad Cobb.
Stefanko must serve at least 30 years before she is considered for parole.
Cobb, who testified against Stefanko, is already serving a life sentence for Biggs’ murder. He initially faced the death penalty, but wound up pleading guilty in 2013 to aggravated murder and other charges related to Biggs’ death.
After Stefanko placed the call ordering pizza to a closed business address under a fake name, Cobb waited at that location for Biggs. Upon Biggs’ arrival, he tased, beat and strangled her.
Cobb and Stefanko divorced in 2015. Stefanko later married Cobb’s best friend, Christopher Stefanko.
Although Biggs was killed in 2012, Stefanko wasn’t arrested until new information about her involvement in the crimes came to light in 2019.
Earlier this year, one of Stefanko’s defense lawyers requested that she be granted a new trial. Attorney Kerry O’Brien argued that the judge made a procedural error during the November 2020 trial and that jurors hastily reached a verdict due to COVID-19 concerns and the imminent Thanksgiving holiday. That request was denied.
Several prosecution witnesses gave victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing. Biggs and Cobb’s daughter — who was six-years-old when she lost her mother — appeared in-person. Biggs’ mother and girlfriend provided live statements remotely.
Stefanko had faced the potential of life in prison when she was sentenced at Summit County Common Pleas Court in Akron, Ohio. Although she was convicted of both murder and aggravated murder, under Ohio law she could only be sentenced on one offense of the prosecution’s choosing. They picked aggravated murder, so possible sentences were: 20 years to life, 25 years to life, 30 years to life or life without the possibility of parole.
Stefanko had asked to appear remotely but that request was denied by the judge.
Court TV’s Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this story.