L. MILFORD TWP., Pa. - After several hours of deliberations Thursday, the jury reached a verdict in the case of a man accused of beating his girlfriend to death while he was high on meth.
Steven Oliemuller was found guilty of third-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Alexus Quay at a home in Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County.
Oliemuller faces up to 40 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 3 at 1:30 p.m.
Mary Dickinson, the victim's mother, calls the verdict "a blessing" on the eve of the three-year anniversary of her daughter's death.
"I just feel like justice was served. Maybe our family can finally start to heal. And I am just full of all kinds of emotions. I'm still hurting, I'm still sad, but I am so, so thankful to God. What happened today is exactly what needed to happen," Dickinson said.
During closing arguments Thursday Oliemuller's attorney told jurors some of the marks on Quay's body were consistent with a motor vehicle accident. But the prosecution says that's not the case. They say Oliemuller killed Quay during a three-day meth bender, and then tried to cover it up.
On June 18, 2018, emergency crews were dispatched to a home in Lower Milford Township where they found Quay dead with severe injuries to her head and body.
Her boyfriend, Oliemuller, claims she overdosed and he was trying to help her. The defense told jurors Oliemuller had nothing to do with Quay's death, suggesting she was injured outside of the home, possibly in a car accident, and that Oliemuller tried to provide CPR and called 911 to get her help.
But the prosecution told jurors that was not the case, showing them images of Quay's blood spattered all around the house and providing testimony from relatives who say Oliemuller was violent and aggressive when he was high on meth.
Law enforcement officials say in the hours after Quay's death Oliemuller's story about what happened kept changing.
But the defense criticized that testimony, saying it was the result of an investigation made to fit the narrative that Oliemuller was the killer.
But the prosecution told jurors the investigation was very thorough, finding even the most minute pieces of evidence throughout the house. All leads were followed, and there were no other suspects or other plausible causes for Quay's death, according to prosecutors.