The 1490 NewsBlog

powered by NewsRadio 1490 WESB

brought to you, in part, by


http://www.colememorial.org

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Charges Against Stidd Dismissed

Bradford businessman Steve Stidd started the day in McKean County Jail charged with criminal homicide. He’ll end the day a free man.

Stidd was charged after shooting his son-in-law Mel Bizzarro on January 16 in the parking lot behind Togi’s Family Restaurant on East Main Street.

The homicide charge – along with charges of involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter that were added this morning – were dismissed following a hearing in front of District Judge Dominic Cercone.

Stidd’s attorney Greg Henry made a motion after district attorney Ray Learn presented the state’s case, saying that Learn did not prove Stidd did not act in self-defense.

In fact, Henry argued, two of the state’s witnesses made Stidd’s case for self-defense.

In an emotionally wrenching 9-1-1 call played by Learn, Stidd’s wife Barbara can be heard telling the 9-11 operator, “(Bizzarro) attacked my husband” and her husband shot him.

Kevin Rhebergen, a truck driver who was delivering food to Togi’s that morning, said he had seen Stidd and Bizzarro arguing and, although he didn’t see Bizzarro hit Stidd, he did see Stidd’s head and shoulders go back as if there had been some kind of impact. He added that Stidd was trying to catch his balance and stepping away while Bizzarro was following him.

He also testified that it looked to him as if Stidd was trying to get away from Bizzarro and into the restaurant but Bizzarro was blocking his path.

Rhebergen also said when he went up to Stidd after the shooting he had a gash on his forehead and was wiping away blood that was running down his face.

He also said Stidd was looking down on Bizzarro, shaking his head and saying, “I warned him. I told him (I had a gun). He wouldn’t back off.”

During his cross examination of Rhebergen Henry tried to ask about the fact that back in 2005 Bizzarro spent time in jail for threatening and assaulting Stidd, who was seriously injured and required medical treatment. But Learn objected and Cercone sustained that objection because it was beyond the scope of the direct examination.

As for the bullet that had the letters “M-E-L” carved into it, Henry argued that the prosecution did not prove when it was carved – that day or 10 years ago – or even if Stidd is the person who did it.

Henry also said, despite the bullet, there was no proof Stidd intended to kill Bizzarro that morning.

Learn argued that Stidd “had a clear path to retreat” by going to his car, and he didn’t necessarily have to go to the restaurant as Rhebergen said it appeared he was trying to do.

Henry countered that because Bizzarro was younger, bigger and faster than Stidd, “he wouldn’t have made it 5 feet, let alone 54 feet” to his car.

That argument is “preposterous,” Henry said.

Before announcing his ruling, Cercone said this was a “tough case.”

After announcing that he was dismissing the charges, supporters of both Stidd and Bizzarro reacted, to which Cercone said, “This is an ugly case. There are no winners.”

Henry told WESB Stidd would have to be taken back to the jail, but would likely be released later today.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow is all i can say. Got away with murder

Anonymous said...

So many opinons, only 2 people really know. Everything else is conjecture. RIP to the victim and healing thoughts to the family and friends. Peace be with all of you.

Anonymous said...

^^ So you can't read the facts?

Anonymous said...

I guess if you want to murder someone take them to Bradford. Whether or not he carved Mel's name in that bullet 10 years ago or the day it happened it is premeditated murder!!!!

Anonymous said...

Should never have been heard in front of a local justice.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that if it had gone to jury trial and I was sitting on the jury, I could not override "Beyond a shadow of a doubt." Prayers and healing to both families.

WORKING MOM said...

If you or a family member are attacked and that person is also trespassing, you repeatedly yell at that you have a gun, you have obligation to protect yourself. The right to bare arms....2 Amendment!!! SELF DEFENSE....No questions about it.

Anonymous said...

Could not be any happier that charges were dropped. Prayers to the Stidd family.

Carol O'Neil said...

So happy for the Stidd family!

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like he got away with killing a man in self defense. With the evidence provided he deserves to walk away a free man.

Carol O'Neil said...

Did you know that when bullets are manufactured they are marked with letters or numbers representing the manufacturer?

Anonymous said...

Very true

Anonymous said...

So name a manufacturer that prints Mel on their bullets.

Anonymous said...

So happy that the justice system worked today!

Anonymous said...

Who cares??

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how you can't be on a jury if you know someone but if you're a judge, you can let your friends get away with murder

Anonymous said...

should have never been heard in front of the loacal magistrate who was friends with the killer. he originally let him go on bail which is not allowed and against the law on such a charge, but to have the hearing again in front of the same local justice who is his friend, I dont think it should have been in front of him. also known fact that stidd was heard saying years ago he would kill mel someday.

Carol O'Neil said...

"known fact that stidd was heard saying years ago he would kill mel someday" Really anonymous? Did you hear it? Or is that the typical gossip/rumor around town? Interesting that you don't have the courage to post your real name.

Anonymous said...

So happy for the Stidd family. It was definitely self defense and Steve was just protecting himself from someone who was out of control.

Anonymous said...

Not gonna lie, i would've done the same. Self defense! Sorry to the family for the loss but it's clear as day self defense.

Anonymous said...

This is America where you're innocent until proven guilty! I'm glad to hear this news!

Anonymous said...

Who cares?? Everyone can go back to sleep now.

Anonymous said...

yes indeed getting away with murder total bs, that man lost his life and yet uphold the person who shot especially with his name carved in the bullet, but let someone with a drug problem cross paths with the police and its the worst thing ever. this has made me lose all respect for the system.....

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand how our local magistrate is making this kind of judgment...I really think this should have gone in front of a 3rd party that knew neither the victim nor the killer...this is just crazy if Stidd is allowed to just walk with no "in depth" investigation...you can't figure all of this out in just a few freaking weeks.....COME ON !!!!......a man died, a father died....I think he deserves more than just "he deserved it, he was out of control"...this gives me no trust in my local justice system.... sail me up the river for speeding on 219...but apparently I can get away with murder here in Bradford if I know the judge.....scary.

Anonymous said...

This is sad all the way around! Children did lose their father , and for it to be at the hands of their grandfather is even more heart wrenching...but come on. It is very easy to judge/condemn a person based on black and white...when in reality there is no black or white. Unless you are in either one of their shoes...you know nothing. But I will say...if my child was abused, if my grandchildren were threatened, and there appeared to be no end to such nightmares... because of such a lunatic....I too would've shot him!!! Of course...if this is the truth. I don't know the truth....but pretty sure most of you don't either!!!

Anonymous said...

America loves white guys (with guns) who take the law into their own hands! But let a severely abused (Florida) woman, shoot a warning shot into the air and all hell breaks loose. That poor woman sat in prison for what, 2 years? Zimmerman stalked & murdered a teenager and US citizens donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to his defense. This country's gone mad.

Anonymous said...

Get more time fot dui.

Anonymous said...

When setting bail, Cercone noted that he knew Stidd well enough to to be sure that he wasn't a flight risk. One would think Cercone should have recused himself as did the other two judges.

Anonymous said...

Understand i am only 1 person, but i usually eat at sub station 3-4 times a month and get beer there often...but never again

Boomerjr said...

Self defense period... The deceased came looking for trouble and after being warned continued the altercation resulting in his death... Witness confirmed mr Stidds actions.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like something a grand jury should decide. Not an elected official who knew the perpetrator..?

Jaughn Eggandflour said...

Follow your constitutional rights, get attacked, try to flee, can't, perpetrator has done this foe years to you, warn him you have a gun, to no avail, shoot to save yourself at your own establishment, witnesses corroborate the facts, judgement by peers as said in constitution. The bully lost.