Home Crime N.Y. Man Strangled High School Girl with Her Bra and Dumped Her in Ravine in 1993 – PEOPLE

N.Y. Man Strangled High School Girl with Her Bra and Dumped Her in Ravine in 1993 – PEOPLE

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N.Y. Man Strangled High School Girl with Her Bra and Dumped Her in Ravine in 1993 – PEOPLE

A New York man said he was innocent after he was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of a 17-year-old girl in 1993.
In December, a jury convicted Joseph Belstadt of second-degree murder, more than 28 years after the body of Mandy Steingasser was discovered at Bond Lake Park in Niagara County, the Niagara Gazette reported.
"I would like to say to Mandy's family and friends how sorry I am for the pain they've gone through, but I am not the person who killed Mandy," Belstadt said during his sentencing hearing on Friday, according to the outlet. "I've been saying that since day one, and that's not going to change. I did not kill Mandy Steingasser."
The prosecutor disagreed.
"My response to that is we put out the evidence before a jury, that jury found this defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jury's verdict stands and they found the proper verdict in this case," Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman told reporters afterward, reports WGRZ.
According to the Buffalo News, Seaman described it as "a horrendous and violent crime. He fractured this girl's skull and strangled her with her own bra. That kind of calls for the maximum sentence."
On Sept. 19, 1993, two witnesses allegedly saw Mandy get into Belstadt's car. It was the last time she was seen alive, the News reported.
More than a month later, on Oct. 25, her decomposed body was found in a ravine. She was strangled and suffered from a skull fracture found in front of her left ear, according to an autopsy.
Police collected DNA evidence from Belstadt's car at the time, but it wasn't until 2017 when the use of technology was able to identify the DNA as belonging to Mandy, the News reported.
After Belstadt was arrested, the case was scheduled to go to trial in March 2020 but Covid-19 delayed it until last month. The jury listened to testimony for two weeks and deliberated for 10 hours, the Niagara Gazette reported, before finding Belstadt guilty.
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"For 28 years, the murder of Mandy Steingasser has been an open wound in the community of North Tonawanda and Niagara County," Seaman said following the verdict. "She has not been forgotten by her family, her friends, her loved ones. Not by the North Tonawanda police. Today, finally, 28 years later, her killer has been brought to justice. He will now suffer the consequences of his heinous actions."
Mandy's mother, Loraine Steingasser, spoke at Belstadt's sentencing to remind everyone what she has lost.
"During the time Joe Belstadt has been living his life," she said, "my daughter did not."

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