RALEIGH, NC (AP) - Lawyers for an Iraqi War veteran facing a possible death sentence if convicted of killing his 10-month-old stepdaughter say he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when he beat her to death in their Raleigh home two years ago.
Attorneys for Joshua Stepp said Monday at his first-degree murder trial that the 28-year-old veteran abused alcohol and prescription drugs to deal with having to pick up body parts of fellow soldiers after they were killed in Iraq.
Authorities say Stepp beat, shook, and slammed the infant's face to the carpet while caring for her while her mother was at work in November 2009. They say the baby also was sexually assaulted.
While Stepp's lawyers agree he killed the child, they say he did not sexually abuse the girl.