PRESS RELEASE, 3/31/2016

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters comments on David J. Steffen’s sentencing

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters commented on the sentencing of David J. Steffen.

Steffen appeared this morning in front of Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Beth Myers for sentencing for the 1982 murder of Karen Range.  Steffen was convicted of raping and murdering Miss Range in 1983 and sentenced to death after a jury trial in Hamilton County. 

He appealed his case in both state and federal courts.  The state courts affirmed his conviction and death sentence but in 2006 the United States District Court granted Steffen’s request to remand the case back to state court to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the rape conviction.  Steffen had always maintained that he did not rape Miss Range although he admitted that he had attempted to do so.

In a tragic turn, morgue employee Kenneth Douglas was convicted in 2008 of Abuse of a Corpse for having sexual conduct with Miss Range’s corpse at the morgue.  He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

After years of protracted litigation following the federal court decision concerning the scope of the new hearing, the parties ultimately came to an agreement and set the matter for sentencing this morning. 

Pursuant to the agreement by all parties, Judge Myers sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Miss Range.  Steffen also waived any appellate rights.

Prosecutor Deters commented, “Finally there is some justice for Karen Range and closure for her family.  This has been a long time coming.  This case has taken many twists and turns but my office never lost sight of the fight for justice for Karen and her family.

Karen was a beautiful young woman who did not deserve to die at the hands of Steffen and then have her corpse brutalized by Kenneth Douglas.   I am satisfied that justice has been served today and will not take any further action on this case.

I hope that Karen may now rest in peace and her family can find some closure and comfort knowing that Steffen will be locked up until he is no longer breathing.”