Stephen Shand faces 40 years to life in prison after admitting he killed Hyde Park teen Kathryn Filiberti
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — The man charged with killing Hyde Park teenager Kathryn Filiberti last year pleaded guilty on Wednesday to first-degree murder and predatory sexual assault and is likely to spend at least 40 years in prison, according to the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office.
Stephen Shand, 24, of Hyde Park entered his plea before Judge Stephen L. Greller in Dutchess County Court in connection with the March 2011 killing, said Senior Assistant District Attorney Edward T. McLoughlin, the prosecutor in the case.
In pleading guilty, Shand admitted he forcibly detained Filiberti, 18, in his car after offering her a ride, raped her, drowned her and left her body in a tributary of Crum Elbow Creek in the Greentree Park section of in Hyde Park on March 19, 2011, McLoughlin said.
Shand also waived his right to appeal the conviction, the prosecutor said.
Shand is to be sentenced on June 21 and probably will receive a term of 40 years to life in state prison, McLoughlin said.
“We wanted to hold Shand responsible to the highest possible counts — first-degree murder and first-degree predatory sexual assault,” he said. “We sought public admission of both crimes. We sought the lengthiest, lengthiest sentence ... and we sought to have Shand waive his right to appeal.”
Asked why he thought Shand chose to plead guilty, McLoughlin said: “The police conducted an amazing investigation. It’s not often that police handle a random abduction and ... murder by a complete stranger.”
McLoughlin also said the results of DNA testing in the case overwhelmingly supported the case against Shand.
“He understood it was in his best interest to plead guilty,” the prosecutor said.
Shand’s trial was to begin on May 21. Continued...
McLoughlin said Greller was specific and exact on Wednesday in ascertaining that Shand understood the conditions of the plea. He also said Shand waiving his right to appeal allows Filiberti’s mother, Linda, and a younger sibling to move on without the specter of having to see Shand in court again.
“Linda Filiberti is a very, very strong woman. But her daughter’s murder is something that will stay with her for a lifetime,” McLoughlin said.
Filiberti’s father, John, 48, committed suicide last September, six months after his daughter was killed.
Filiberti, a student at Dutchess Community College, left a party in Hyde Park in the early morning hours of March 19, 2011, intending to walk home, and “she had a random, deadly, chance encounter with Shand, who offered her a ride home,” McLoughlin said.
He said Shand was making early morning newspaper deliveries when he saw Filiberti walking. (The paper route actually belong to Shand’s sister, but she never serviced it, so Shand was the permanent replacement, McLoughlin said.)
Filiberti accepted Shand’s offer of a ride, and once she was in his vehicle, he forcibly restrained her, raped her and “then strangled and drowned her, leaving her body in the nearby creek,” McLoughlin said.
“It’s impossible for me to imagine ... what Shand was thinking then,” McLoughlin said, noting the defendant had no prior criminal record.
Shand was arrested on Aug. 10, 2011, and originally was charged with first- and second-degree murder, kidnapping and predatory sexual assault.
Six days later, a Dutchess County grand jury handed up a 10-count indictment charging Shand with three counts of first-degree murder, four counts of second-degree murder, one count of kidnapping and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
In September, defense attorney Mark Bederow asked that the charges be dismissed or that key evidence — including DNA evidence that authorities said linked Shand to Filiberti — be suppressed. The judge refused.
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