July 25, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
71°F

Steven Cepec’s competency reports not done; judge delays hearing

MEDINA — A hearing for Steven Cepec, who is accused of killing a 73-year-old Chatham Township man last June, was continued Thursday because reports on his sanity and competency are not complete.

Cepec appeared in court with his attorneys, Ed Bowers and Kerry O’Brien, in preparation for a hearing regarding more than 30 motions.

Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler continued a hearing Thursday for Steven Cepec, 42, center, accused of killing Chatham Township resident Frank Munz in June last year, until Cepec’s sanity and competency reports are completed. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JENNIFER PIGNOLET)

Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler continued a hearing Thursday for Steven Cepec, 42, center, accused of killing Chatham Township resident Frank Munz in June last year, until Cepec’s sanity and competency reports are completed. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JENNIFER PIGNOLET)

Cepec pleaded not guilty in December to four counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder and two counts of aggravated robbery in the June 3 slaying of Chatham resident Frank Munz. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler recommended the continuance.

“The court feels it would not be in the position to hold a hearing” until it is confirmed the defendant is sane and competent, Kimbler said.

Akron Psycho-Diagnostic Center is conducting the examination of Cepec’s mental state and ability to participate in his own defense.

Cepec, who has swallowed bolts in his jail cell, was brought into the courtroom Thursday with his hands wrapped together in a secure netting. He was calm through the brief proceeding and said he understood what was happening.

Cepec’s trial was slated to begin in July, but Kimbler, county Prosecutor Dean Holman and the defense agreed Thursday to push it back to the fall.

Kimbler said some of the motions may require individual hearings.

The motions range from a request to allow Cepec to appear at all proceedings without restraints to suppressing statements allegedly obtained in violation of Cepec’s constitutional rights.

Cepec is serving a three-year sentence in the Correctional Reception Center in Orient for a parole violation. The Medina County Sheriff’s office is transporting him back and forth for his court appearances.

Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or jpignolet@medina-gazette.com.