Teenager sentenced to life without parole in stabbing death of girlfriend on hiking trail


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NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania — A judge has sentenced a teenager to life in prison without possibility of parole in the stabbing death of his girlfriend on a suburban Philadelphia hiking trail last year.

Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter said last week that 18-year-old Tristan Stahley poses "a continual threat if not incarcerated," The (Pottstown) Mercury (http://bit.ly/1CoVtcd ) reported.

Stahley was convicted of first-degree murder in September in the May 2013 death of 17-year-old Julie Siller of Royersford. Since he was 16 at the time of the slaying, he didn't face an automatic life term on the conviction but rather a sentence of between 35 years and life.

Authorities said Stahley and Siller had been dating off-and-on for about six to nine months at the time of the slaying. They said he used a paramedic-style knife to stab the victim in the throat and body and then dragged her body into the woods.

Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Abidiwan-Lupo cited the impact of the crime and the threat to public safety in seeking the life term.

"He took a life, someone who was wonderful, from her family and friends," he said, adding Siller suffered more than 70 stab wounds and "would have felt each one of those wounds."

"He made sure that if he couldn't have her, nobody else could," Abidiwan-Lupo said.

Prosecutors privately played for the judge recorded prison phone calls in which they said Stahley joked about the killing with others. Carpenter said the prison phone conversations showed that the defendant "has a horribly callous attitude to the crime he committed."

Defense attorney Timothy Barton argued that his client was remorseful, and he called a forensic psychologist to testify that his client was immature, had an IQ below average and attention deficit disorder and couldn't handle rejection.

"Mr. Stahley wasn't able to handle anything that was going on in his life," Barton argued. "This was a 16-year-old boy who lost it."

Information from: The Mercury, http://www.pottsmerc.com

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