12-24 years in stabbing
The person identified as the "stabber" in a Lansford attempted homicide incident was sentenced to a long state prison term along with another co-defendant in the case.
Steven Allen Walck, 28, and Jennifer Steigerwalt, 36, both of Lansford, were sentenced by Judge Steven R. Serfass on Monday for their part in the attack on Christopher M. Herman, 28, of 115 E. Snyder Ave., Lansford, where the incident occurred on Oct. 21, 2011. The two previously entered guilty pleas to the charges.
Serfass sentenced Walck to serve 12 to 24 years in a state prison on a charge of criminal attempt-homicide. He was also sentenced to serve six to 12 months on a terroristic threats count, current with the first count, in another unrelated case. He had admitted sending a threatening letter to Joann Behrens, county prothonotary. Walck was upset over seeing his child in a custody matter and threatened Behrens and her office staff for allegedly interfering with the case.
Steigerwalt was sentenced by Serfass to serve six to 12 years in a state prison on a charge of criminal conspiracy-aggravated assault.
The two were charged along with Kevin Marshal Brandwein, 24, and Raymond Ziegenfuss, 19, both of Lansford, with beating Herman, tying him up, and then stabbing him in the back several times, attempting to kill him.
Police said Walck was the one who stabbed Herman, who was hospitalized at the Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township, after the incident, but has since recovered.
Steigerwalt was living with Herman at the time and was involved in a romantic relationship with him and also was romantically involved with Brandwein, police said.
After being tied up, beaten, and then stabbed, Herman managed to break free and flee the residence. He went to the Lansford police station but could not find anyone and then went to the American Legion, located next store. Individuals in the Legion called for medical assistance and police.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by state police at Lehighton, who took charge of the investigation, Steigerwalt and the others met at Walck's home and planned the attack on Herman.
They then went to the Herman home and found him asleep in an upstairs bedroom. They attacked him in the bedroom.
Brandwein carried Herman to the basement area of the home where he was tied up and then assaulted.
Court appointed defense attorney Joseph Sebelin claimed his client had a history of abuse from family members, although charges were never filed. He said his client also had a history of mental health issues.
Walck told Serfass, "I'm sorry. I regret what I did. I'm sorry to the victim."
District Attorney Gary F. Dobias called Walck a "danger to society." He said the attack was planned and could have resulted in the death of Herman.
Serfass said the case was a troubling one and said but for "the grace of God, Mr. Herman was able to escape."
Serfass told Walck, "You are a dangerous individual and are a menace to the community."
In addition to the jail term Serfass ordered Walck to make restitution totaling $121.90, have no contact with the victim or his co-defendants, get a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendations for treatment, and supply a DNA sample.
He was given credit for 816 days spent in prison to date on the charges.
Steigerwalt told Serfass, "I'm sorry for what happened." She added, "I thought the only thing that was going to happen was fighting with him (Herman)."
Dobias said the incident was not spontaneous, but was planned and that Steigerwalt helped put everything into motion.
In addition to the jail term Serfass ordered Steigerwalt to make restitution totaling $121.90, get a mental health evaluation, have no contact with the victim or her co-defendants, and supply a DNA sample.
She was given credit for 816 days spent in prison to date on the charge.
Each must also pay court costs which average about $1,000 apiece.
On Aug. 2, 2013, Brandwein was sentenced by Serfass for his part in the incident to serve a total of 10 and 1/2 to 21 years in a state prison.
Ziegenfuss is scheduled to plead guilty to his part in the incident on Thursday before Serfass.