OSWEGO, NY – On Friday, January 6, Joseph A. Stefanovich (dob: 7/30/1970) was found guilty, after a week-long non-jury trial, by the Honorable James W. McCarthy, of Rape in the First Degree in Oswego County Supreme Court.
Stefanovich was represented by attorney Edward Z. Menkin.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Mark Moody prosecuted the case for the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office.
In November of 2013, the defendant was previously convicted of Rape in the First Degree in November of 2013 and sentenced to 20 years in state prison with 5 years post-release supervision on February 21, 2014.
On February 11, 2016, the Appellate Division Fourth Department reversed defendant’s conviction because his attorney in his first trial “was ineffective because he allowed the jury to learn that he was a registered sex offender who previously been convicted of a felony sexual offense.” People v. Stefanovich, 136 AD3d 1375 (4th Dept. 2016).
The defendant, who testified on his own behalf, was convicted of forcibly raping the female victim in the village of Phoenix on July 30, 2005.
The victim testified that attacker grabbed her around the neck from behind, and dragged her into the woods where the offense was committed.
The victim testified that she did not know Stefanovich and did not have voluntarily engage in intercourse with him.
The victim disclosed the rape to law enforcement immediately after the attack and police promptly took the victim to the hospital for medical treatment.
A rape kit was done by medical professionals at that time.
At trial, the treating ER physician testified about the injuries to her neck, arms, legs and torso.
Stefanovich was connected to the case due to a DNA hit from CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) in 2006.
His DNA profile was in the CODIS database based upon his prior sexual offense conviction.
In fact, he had already pleaded guilty to Sexual Abuse First in Onondaga County Court and was scheduled to be sentenced on August 1, 2005 – two days after the rape in Phoenix occurred.
At trial, Stefanovich claimed that sperm containing his DNA appeared in the rape kit because he had consensual sex with her on the day of the offense.
He believed another person or persons came along after the consensual sex and attacked the victim.
The Village of Phoenix Police Department initially investigated the case, but in March of 2010 the investigation was transferred to the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department.
In December of 2012, a sheriff’s investigator located Stefanovich, who denied knowing the victim or having sexual intercourse with her.
“I want to commend the victim for having the courage and strength to come forward and testify at both the original trial and the re-trial,” Moody said. “I want to thank all of the officers from the Village of Phoenix and the Sheriff’s Department who worked on the case. Our community is safe now from this predator because of the victim’s courage and law enforcement’s diligent effort.”
Sentencing is scheduled for January 27 at 8:30 a.m. in Oswego County Supreme Court.