PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A woman charged in the shooting death of her cousin in Upper Saint Clair pleaded guilty Tuesday morning.
Stephani Munizza pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the Nov. 1 death of 27-year-old Joshua Poremski.
Munizza cried when she stood in front of Judge Jeffrey Manning, and cried again as she stood by her lawyer’s side when he spoke with reporters afterward.
Prosecutors dropped a third-degree murder charge, and she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor.
On Halloween night, while drinking Fireball Whiskey and beer, police say she and Poremski, her cousin, were having a discussion about her desire for a concealed weapon permit and he asked whether she could actually shoot someone.
He told her his gun wasn’t loaded, she aimed and fired. It was loaded. Poremski was killed.
The victim’s family advocated for her release from jail last month and even opened their home to her when she was released.
She could have faced five years in jail, but will serve five years of probation instead.
“They’ve shown compassion, they’ve shown forgiveness, they understand that this was a tragedy and they’ve supported this young lady the entire way,” said defense attorney David Shrager. “And they simply didn’t want this case prosecuted. They just love her and want her to get help and they want to be able to grieve and heal and move on with their lives.”
Shrager told the judge his client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and argued for non-reporting probation, but the judge would not drop the reporting requirement.
“He thought non-reporting probation was no sentence at all because non-reporting carries no obligations for the client except for her to stay out of trouble,” Shrager said. “He felt that she needed a little bit more supervision and that was his decision.”
The five years of probation will be served in her home state of Missouri.
But Judge Manning told her if she violated any of the terms of that probation, he won’t hesitate to bring her back here and sentence her to five years in jail.
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