A Thornton man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after he was convicted of killing his wife last year in their Thornton home.
It took an Adams County District Court jury less than three hours deliberation to convict Stefan …
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It took an Adams County District Court jury less than three hours deliberation to convict Stefan Stoian of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife, Maria Stoian.
“This was a tragic case,” said District Attorney Dave Young. “The defendant calculated his plan and shot his wife in the back of her head while she slept. Nothing we do here can bring back Maria to those who loved her. We hope that this verdict gives the family a sense of justice and that they can take some measure of comfort from that.”
Thornton police officers found the woman, 45, dead of a gunshot wound to the head June 3 at the family’s home in the 7500 block of East 121 Place in Thornton. The couple’s 16-year-old daughter called 911 after finding her mother with a blood-soaked pillow covering her head.
Evidence in the trial showed that the couple’s relationship had been deteriorating and Maria Stoian had begun an affair. In the days before the murder, Stefan Stoian had transferred $5,000 of the couple’s money into a savings account, prompting his wife, who was concerned he was going to take all of their money, to transfer $222,000 from their account into a new personal account in her name.
Both of them worked for the U.S. Postal Service, where Maria worked the night shift and her husband worked days. On June 3 of last year, Stefan called in sick. After removing items, including $40,000 in cash from a bank safety deposit box, he returned home and shot his wife in the back of the head as she slept, prosecutors said.
Stoian gave various stories to police, claiming he confronted his wife to get the money back and that she was accidentally shot during the confrontation. However, forensic pathologist Dr. Robert Arnall testified that Maria Stoian died of a contact gunshot wound to the back of her head, suggesting intent.
After the shooting, the husband fled and was arrested June 5 in Nevada, where he checked into a motel using a fake name and driver’s license.
During closing arguments, Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Prince told the jury Stefan Stoian had written in January 2014 about a dream he had of killing his wife.
“Stefan Stoian’s dream became a reality … when he executed his wife,” she said. “This is a case of intentional first-degree murder after deliberation. This was no accident. Stefan Stoian executed his wife.”
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