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Port Jervis man found guilty; Killed his girlfriend with knife and hammer

TyRochelle Haughton
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
April 23, 2014

PORT JERVIS, NY — A Port Jervis man has been found guilty of killing his girlfriend. The jury found that David Stevenson, 39, took the life of TyRochelle Haughton, 35, at the house they shared with three of her children and one of his, on Mountain Avenue.

The act occurred on January 15, 2013. According to prosecutor Julie Mohl, Stevenson attacked his girlfriend in the shower, first using a hammer and then a knife, resulting in a bashed head and a slit throat.

Mohl said Stevenson’s motive was that he knew Haugton was going to leave him, and he couldn’t allow that to happen.

In what might have been a suicide attempt, or an attempt to hide the evidence, Stevenson opened the gas valves on the stove and started a fire, but he then fled the scene, and was found a bit later with serious burns to his upper body.

The defense attorney, Jamie Santana, argued that the prosecution did not make its case. Santana said there was no blood evidence to connect his client to the hammers in the house. Stevenson’s DNA was found on the knife handle that was believed to be one of the murder weapons, but Santana argued that was because Stevenson lived in the house and was therefore to be expected.

But there was one bit of evidence that was difficult to explain. When investigators were first examining the scene, they found a note on the front porch that appeared to be a confession and a suicide note.

A forensic expert testified that a comparison to other samples of Stevenson’s writing, showed Stevenson was the author of the note.

The note said, among other things, “I will not let anyone live off of what I put back together. She has used me and never was into this at all. Cool. I would never be happy without her or my family together so no one will be happy. I always have the short end of everything. Not this time. I’ll be gone, but this [expletive] coming with me.”

The note also contained a request that an arrangement be made so that Stevenson’s daughter could live either with Haugton’s sister or Stevenson’s father.

The jury found him guilty of murder on April 17. When he is sentenced on May 20,, he could face a maximum of 25 years to life.