June 29, 2016

Partly sunny

Testimony: Cepec’s DNA found at victim’s home

MEDINA — Forensic scientists testified Friday in Steven Cepec’s capital murder trial that DNA found at the Chatham Township home where Frank Munz was killed belonged to Cepec and Munz.

Linda Eveleth, a forensic scientist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said she couldn’t say with absolute certainty, but the chance it was their DNA was greater than 99.9 percent.

“If Earth had a billion times more in population, it would still be likely Frank Munz would be the only person with this sequence of DNA,” she said.

Cepec, 43, is accused of strangling and beating to death 73-year-old Frank Munz, a Chatham Township historian, during a home invasion on June 3, 2010.

If Cepec is convicted, he could face the death penalty.

The BCI forensic scientist said she compared DNA samples from Cepec and Munz to various samples taken from the scene — including the shirts Munz and Cepec were wearing that day, the hammer the prosecution said Cepec used to strike Munz and several bags of coins and jewelry found at the front door.

Munz’s DNA was found on almost every object, and Cepec’s DNA was found on a shirt inside one of the bags at the door. Both Cepec’s and Munz’s DNA were found on Cepec’s jeans and shoes, she testified.

Mark Kollar, an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, testified Tuesday that blood was found on the floor where Munz was found, as well as the ceiling, cabinets, walls and furniture in the kitchen. There also were bloody footprints throughout the house, he said.

Kollar said there were three bags near the front door to the home filled with coins, jewelry, weapons and bloody towels.

The day Munz was killed, his adult nephew was in the house at 5394 Richman Road. Paul Munz testified Tuesday that he called police from a locked room inside the home. He told the dispatcher he knew Cepec and that he heard a struggle between him and his uncle.

Medina County sheriff’s deputies told the jury Monday that they responded to the call and spotted Cepec in the garage. They said Cepec ran through the nearby woods and was arrested in a field.

Detectives testified Thursday that Cepec told them he was innocent and that he found Munz dead.

Other deputies said Tuesday that Cepec confessed to them at least five times that he killed Munz.

“He said, ‘I did it. I deserve the death penalty,’ “ former Detective Todd Hicks told the jury. “I asked him, ‘Do you want to die?’ and all he said was, ‘Eye for an eye.’ “

Cepec’s attorneys, Kerry O’Brien and Russell Buzzelli, filed motions to block the confessions but Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler denied their motions Feb. 4.

Friday wrapped up the first week of testimony. Cepec’s trial is scheduled to continue 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.