Nearly 18 months after he was arrested for allegedly killing the mother of his two children, a Riverhead native was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison for the crime Tuesday, according to the Madison County District Attorney’s office.
Under the terms of a December plea agreement, Stephen Schumedja pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter with intent to kill under extreme emotional disturbance and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, both felonies. He will serve 25 years on the manslaughter charge and an additional 1 1/3 to 4 years on the motor vehicle charge, Madison County District Attorney William Gabor said.
The 2001 Riverhead High School graduate was initially charged with murder following the Sept. 1, 2014 stabbing death of his girlfriend, Amy Bradstreet, 44, at the home they shared in Cazenovia, N.Y., a town about 17 miles southeast of Syracuse.
“It was a horrific crime that had a lot of people looking for an explanation and none has been discovered,” Mr. Gabor told the News-Review in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Mr. Schumejda expressed remorse at his sentencing, apologizing to Ms. Bradstreet’s family, and telling the court he had looked forward to a “fairy tale life” with the victim, Mr. Gabor said.
Ms. Bradstreet’s mother, Bonnie, also spoke at the sentencing, Mr. Gabor said, calling the Bradstreet family “remarkable” and noting how they have cared for their grandchildren since their daughter’s death.
“They have gladly embraced that job,” the district attorney said.
On the day of the arrest, State Trooper Jack Keller told the News-Review Mr. Schumejda fled to his mother’s house in Delaware County with the couple’s two sons, who were 3 1/2 and 18 months at the time, in the moments after the killing. Mr. Schumejda’s mother then called police after her son arrived, Mr. Keller said.
Mr. Schumejda, who has been in the Madison County Jail since his arrest, used a knife to stab Ms. Bradstreet “several times in the face, neck and body,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Cazenovia town court at the time of his Sept. 1, 2014 arrest. Mr. Gabor said Tuesday the evidence showed Ms. Bradstreet suffered 62 stab wounds.
At his December court appearance, Mr. Schumejda described his account of the incident in detail, saying he woke up and saw a silhouette of a person, and thought it was a stranger, according to a report on Syracuse.com.
“There was a physical struggle, and under extreme emotional disturbance Schumedja stabbed Bradstreet,” the website reported.
At the time of her death, Ms. Bradstreet still owned a rental property on Sylvan Avenue in Flanders that had been badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and Mr. Schumejda owned a house he rented out on Old Farm Road in Riverhead.
Ms. Bradstreet, a financial manager for an international management consulting business, was remembered at several memorials and fundraisers in the Flanders area following her death, including a candlelight vigil organized by her neighbors on Sylvan Avenue.
Correction: A previous headline on this article suggested that Mr. Schumejda was sentenced for murder. He pleaded down from murder to manslaughter.
Top photo: Stephen Schumedja (orange jumpsuit) in Madison County court Tuesday just before he was sentenced to prison. (Credit: Elizabeth Doran/syracuse.com)