The daughter of a murdered army veteran working as Domino’s delivery driver has recalled the night her stepmother allegedly lured her mom to her death by placing a fake pizza order to an empty parking lot.
Erica Stefanko, 37, is on trial for the murder of Ashley Biggs, 25, who was strangled to death in New Franklin, Ohio in June 2012 amid a bitter custody battle with her ex-boyfriend, Chad Cobbs.
Cobbs, who was married to Stefanko at the time, pleaded guilty to the murder in February 2013 and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty.
Erica Stefanko (pictured in court on Monday) 37, is on trial for the murder of Ashley Biggs, 25, who was strangled to death in New Franklin, Ohio in June 2012
Stefanko is accused of helping her ex-husband and Biggs’s ex-boyfriend Chad Cobbs (right) murder the army vet (left) who was working as a Domino’s delivery driver, by placing a fake order to a closed business where she was later ambushed
Stefanko, from Rittman, was arrested last fall after investigators received new information suggesting she had played a role in Biggs’s killing and is facing multiple charges including aggravated murder.
Biggs’s 15-year-old daughter, who was seven at the time, testified at the trial on Wednesday recalling the moment she allegedly heard Stefanko lure her mom to her death.
The girl, who asked not to be photographed in court and was only identified as ‘G.C.’ said she had been sitting in the backseat of a car when she heard Stefanko place the phony pizza order.
She said Stefanko, who was in the passenger seat, ‘did not use her name’ during the call, but she could not remember the alias she used.
She neither could recall where the car was at the time but said it was ‘pitch black’ outside, the Beacon Journal reported.
The girl added that she then fell asleep in the car and awoke the following morning at her grandparents’ house.
The court heard testimonies from Biggs’s daughter and Cobbs this week with both saying Stefanko (pictured) had placed the call that lured the delivery driver to her death
Biggs and Cobbs’s daughter – identified only as G.C. – was only seven and had been in the care of her father at the time of her mom’s death. The couple had been in the middle of a bitter custody dispute before Biggs was killed
G.C. was considered a key witness for the prosecution because her testimony would corroborate claims made by her father who this week agreed to testify against his ex-wife from prison via video.
The defense however had opposed G.C. taking the witness stand, arguing that she was too young at the time of the murder.
The court however ruled children over 10 are presumed competent to testify even if they weren’t of age at the time of the incident.
G.C., who had spent the majority of her childhood under the care of her father and Stefanko, told the court she agreed to testify because she wanted to ‘get the truth out.’
She acknowledged she had pleasant and bad memories of her stepmother but revealed Stefanko ‘didn’t treat me right’ ‘and nobody really knew’, according to the paper.
She said she believed her stepmom had been jealous of her relationship with her dad and claimed she had physically and mentally abused her.
She also said she did not have any memory of her slain mother, who had left her in the custody of her father as a baby and later began a new relationship with a woman.
At the time of Biggs’s death, the couple had been in a custody dispute and Cobbs had feared he was going to lose his daughter, the paper reported.
Earlier in the trial Cobbs had also told the court how Stefanko had used a fake name to order a ‘large pizza with half pepperoni and half mushroom’ to a closed business in New Franklin.
Police believe Stefanko lured Biggs to her death by placing a fake pizza order to this closed business in New Franklin, Ohio, in June 2012
Stefanko, from Rittman, was arrested last fall after investigators received new information suggesting she had played a role in Biggs’s murder and is facing multiple charges including aggravated murder
When Briggs showed up to deliver the order, he ambushed her in the parking lot, strangled her, and put her body in the back of her car before dumping it in a cornfield, he said.
When police later arrived on the scene in New Franklin, they found a large amount of blood on the ground outside the closed business.
Hours later, police found Biggs’ lifeless body in her car in a Chippewa Township cornfield.
Police immediately connected Cobb to the murder because a four-foot zip tie was used in Biggs’ strangulation, and he owned a cable installation company.
Cobb and Biggs were never married. In 2007, Cobb was awarded full custody of the couple’s daughter and for the four years immediately following the order, the girl seemed to live happily with him, his three other children and his wife, Erica.
Starting in October 2011, Biggs and Cobb traded insults via court orders: she complained that he changed his phone number and effectively violated a court order.
He complained that she was trying to alienate him from his daughter.
He also complained that Biggs had incorrectly told local authorities that he had taken their daughter out of the state, which would be a violation of their custody agreement.
Following Cobb’s incarceration, his wife and alleged accomplice, Erica, divorced him and in 2015 remarried, taking her new husband’s last name, Stefanko.