WATERBURY, Conn. - A murder victim’s family has criticized Connecticut’s judicial system after the man convicted of a 1984 murder was released early from a life prison sentence.
A state judge Thursday ordered the release of 58-year-old David Weinberg, who was convicted of murder in 1988 in the 1984 stabbing death of 19-year-old Joyce Stochmal, of Seymour. Her body was found in the Zoar River.
The Hartford Courant reports that Judge Roland Fasano in Waterbury ordered Weinberg’s release after the Connecticut Innocence Project raised doubts about Weinberg’s conviction. Waterbury State’s Attorney Maureen Platt agreed to have Weinberg’s sentence modified to time served.
Stochmal’s sister accused the state of not fully investigating the Innocence Project’s new information.
Joyce Stochmal and Weinberg did not know each other. CBS affiliate WFSB reports that she was walking to work when she was abducted and stabbed more than a dozen times. Weinberg was reportedly identified as the suspect after his girlfriend led police to the spot where Stochmal’s belongings were burned. Weinberg showed her that spot a day before.
That, along with other evidence, including blood on a murder weapon and hairs belonging to Stochmal that were found in Weinberg’s trunk, got him a life sentence, which was later changed to 60 years.
Weinberg has reportedly always maintained his innocence.
According to the station, Connecticut’s Innocence Project found a confession from a woman with known psychological problems which had never been heard before and which the state says they didn’t know about.
That revelation lead to other evidence being re-tested which ultimately reversed, or at least cast doubt on, what a jury heard back in the 1980s.
Stochmal’s family disagrees with the judge’s decision and believes Weinberg killed Joyce.
“I thought he would have given up and accepted his fate but the conniving murderous liar that he is, is still squirming to find a way out,” said Paul Stochmal, Joyce’s brother.
“While demanding perfection from the state, the Innocence Project has not shown any proof of David Weinberg’s innocence, because they can’t,” said the victim’s sister Marianne Heffernan.
WFSB reports that Weinberg is still guilty of murder. In exchange for his freedom he agreed that he has not been exonerated and can’t sue the state.