Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Murderer remorseless at sentencing



By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - Leonard Day, convicted last week for his part in killing a 45-year-old woman, cutting up her body and throwing it down a hill, acted Monday like a man with somewhere to go other than jail.

As Boone Circuit Judge Jay Bamberger told Day he'd been convicted of a horrific crime, Day interrupted: "I don't need all this."

Then, as Bamberger told Day he'd spend the next 50 years in prison, Day said: "Are you done? Cool."

With that, he got up and walked to the courtroom door.

Last week, a Boone County jury convicted Day, 40, of complicity to murder and tampering with evidence in the 1999 death of his former girlfriend Tina Rae Stevens, 45.

The jury recommended Day serve 30 years for the murder charge and 20 for tampering with evidence - consecutively.

Monday, Bamberger agreed.

The sentencing had been scheduled for October, but after Day refused to participate in his pre-trial sentencing investigation, it was moved to Monday.

Day's mother, Shirley, who had been in court throughout the trial, did not attend the sentencing.

In court, Stevens' cousin Tanya Maddin read a statement about how much Stevens would be missed by her daughter, grandchildren, sisters and friends.

"Tina's laughter will never be heard again; Tina's smile will never be seen again; and every life that she has touched, which is so many, will never be the same again," Maddin said. "We feel that a 50-year-sentence is not really even enough."

Day did not make a statement before sentencing but turned to the victim's family and called them "a bunch of hillbillies."

"If that's all the hurt we have to expect from him for the next 50 years, then we'll deal with it," Stevens' sister Penny Abbot said later.

"It's a huge load off," Stevens' daughter Michelle Martin, 28, said of the sentencing.

But in January the family will have to go through another trial.

That's when Deborah Huiett, 43, will be tried on the same charges - murder and tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors say that Stevens' death was the result of a love triangle in which Huiett, Day's girlfriend at the time, became jealous of Stevens, his former girlfriend.

It came to a violent end in a Florence motel where police say Huiett and Day stabbed Stevens, dismembered her body, then dumped it near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in May 1999.

"He was the ringleader of the whole circus," Martin said. "And I feel more confident now that he's been found guilty that she will be also."

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E-mail bkelly@enquirer.com




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