By Ivy Brown
SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (Court TV) — The verdict for an Ohio woman convicted of luring her ex-husband’s former partner to their death has been overturned.
In Nov. 2020, a jury found Erica Stefanko guilty of aggravated murder in the death of 25-year-old Ashley Biggs. During her trial, the jury heard testimony from Stefanko’s ex-husband Chad Cobb, who testified remotely. Cobb confessed to killing Biggs, and claimed Stefanko placed the bogus pizza delivery call to Bigg’s workplace, which prosecutors said lured her to her death in June 2012.
When Biggs arrived at the delivery address, a closed business, she was attacked by Cobb and strangled. Her body was found in the backseat of her car abandoned in a cornfield. Investigators believe the murder was the result of an ongoing child custody dispute between Cobb and Biggs, a U.S. Army veteran.
According to a ruling by the court of appeals, Stefanko’s rights were violated by the remote testimony of Cobb and two other witnesses, all of whom were required to wear masks. The ruling states, “The COVID-19 procedures used by the trial court violated (Stefanko’s) right to a fair trial, due process of law, and to confront witnesses under the 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.”
In July 2021, Stefanko was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.