September 22, 2014

Medina
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Steven Cepec faces murder charges today in court

MEDINA — The man accused of killing Chatham Township resident Frank Munz in June could receive the death penalty if convicted of murder charges against him.

In a secret indictment late last month, a Medina County grand jury charged Steven Cepec, 41, with four counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder and two counts of aggravated robbery. He’s set to be arraigned before Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler today.

A display during a memorial to Frank Munz, who was killed June 3 in an apparent home invasion. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

A display during a memorial to Frank Munz, who was killed June 3 in an apparent home invasion. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

Cepec allegedly killed neighbor Munz, 73, in Munz’s Richman Road home June 3.

Police said Munz’s nephew locked himself in a bedroom and called 911. He told a dispatcher that Munz had been talking with Cepec and a struggle between the two ensued.

A sheriff’s sergeant on his way home arrived within minutes of the 911 call and reportedly saw a man flee the residence. After a brief chase through the woods behind the house, authorities apprehended Cepec.

Cepec was on parole at the time Munz was killed. He served more than four years in prison starting in 2004 for several burglary and aggravated burglary convictions in Medina County. He was released in 2008, but had been in and out of jail for parole violations since.

Shortly after Munz’s death, Cepec was taken to the state’s Correctional Reception Center in Orient on a new parole violation. He has been incarcerated there since and is expected to be released to the county today.

Death penalty

State law lists several circumstances surrounding a homicide that could result in the death penalty. The indictment against Cepec names four. Three of them relate to crimes Cepec is accused of committing when Munz was slain. County Prosecutor Dean Holman said they refer to aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

Cepec

Cepec

The final one relates to Cepec being under detention at the time.

“He was on parole at the time. There’s other aspects that go into it, which I cannot speak to at this time,” Holman said.

The Gazette has obtained e-mails between several Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction employees through public information requests.

They show Cepec apparently was detained on a parole violation in early May.

He was released to a halfway house on May 28 based on a sanction recommendation from a parole hearing officer. Cepec complained of medical problems and left the halfway house just hours after arriving, according to the e-mails.

He did not receive permission from corrections officers to leave. He went to an area hospital, was released that night and never returned to the halfway house, the e-mails show.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction released a “be on the lookout” notice to police agencies the next day. A warrant for his arrest was approved on June 2, the day before Munz was slain, according to the e-mails.

JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said Cepec was declared a parole violator at large May 28.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.