Jury deliberates in Akron's 25-year-old Army veteran murder trial
On June 20, 2012, Veteran Ashley Biggs, 25, took her last breath.
"We want you to hold Erica Stefanko accountable for her role in Ashley Biggs' murder," the prosecutor said.
Stefanko's ex-husband and Biggs were in a mischievous custody battle, and the state claims the two conspired against and killed Biggs.
"You need to keep in mind the concept that a person who knowingly does those things, knowingly helps and helps and encourages others with either the intent to commit a crime is regarded as the key person or principal offender," said the prosecutor.
But the defense said Stefanko's ex-husband, who was already convicted of the crime acting alone, and this trial is just a way for his family to get him out of jail.
"He was asked to kill Ashley Biggs, what was his answer? One word, no," the defense attorney said.
Stefanko's fate now belongs to 12 jurors.
Ashley Nicole Biggs, 25, was murdered. How many people were responsible? Chad Cobb, the father of her daughter, already pleaded guilty to being the actual killer, but prosecutors in Summit County, Ohio now say that his then-wife Erica Stefanko, 37, played a role too. Opening statements are set to begin today.
Biggs, a Domino’s pizza delivery driver and a former Army vet, was murdered late on June 20, 2012. Investigators claim that a female caller lured her to a closed business, where Cobb ambushed her by tasing, beating, and then using a zip tie to strangle her. Biggs and Cobb has been in the middle of a custody battle over their daughter.
The male defendant pleaded guilty in 2013 to charges of aggravated murder and kidnapping. In exchange, the state declined to pursue the death penalty. Cobb, now 38, was instead sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
But this case wasn’t over yet. Authorities said new evidence tied her to the case. They assert she was the female caller who lured Biggs to the murder scene.
“She was a sweet girl,” Ashley’s mother Helen Biggs said of her daughter in a News 5 Cleveland report. “Loving mother.”
“She was a beautiful human being,” said cousin Jennifer Biggs.
[Mugshot of Stefanko via Summit County]
Ashley Biggs' friends and family were glued to their phones watching Erica Stefanko's murder trial.
"It's nerve-racking, making you anxious, bringing sleepless nights," Ryan Foster said.
In 2012, Biggs' ex-husband Chadd Cobbs and his ex-wife Stefanko tricked Biggs to a closed business and murdered her.
"Ashley had a restraining order and a restraining order against Erica and Chadd and look what happened... She still died," Mariah Williams said.
Cobbs currently faces life in prison for the murder, but the jury's question is whether Stefanko should be with him.
"If you took the opportunity to stop what was going to happen, we wouldn't be here today," Williams said.
Biggs' friends told me how the prosecution represented her during this trial wasn't the person they knew and loved.
"More than just a pizza delivery driver, she was a mom and best friend," Williams said.
"She really believed everyone in the world had good in them, and nothing could hurt her," Ryan Foster said.
"I'm preparing for the worst but praying for the best," said Courtni Boswell.
Now they're waiting for justice, closure, and reconciliation.
"It'll allow us to move on and honor Ashley's life for what it was and for the amazing person she was," Foster said.