CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The case of a man who is accused of murdering his girlfriend and her seven-year-old son inside their French Road apartment last week is set to go to a Grand Jury.
Shane Stevenson, 31, waived his right to a felony hearing during an appearance in Cheektowaga Town Court Wednesday morning.
He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of 2nd degree murder last week, after police found his girlfriend, Raina Voll, and her son, Leo Klinger, dead on September 15.
Sources tell News 4 the victims were strangled.
Police say officers discovered the bodies as a result of an investigation that began earlier in the day September 15, when Voll’s other child, a two-year-old, was found abandoned in a stroller outside a Cheektowaga church. Officers were able to trace the toddler back to the family’s apartment.
Stevenson was taken into custody at the scene. He is not the father of either child.
Police say the murders occurred in a “domestic situation”, but have not commented on a particular motive as their investigation continues.
With Stevenson waiving his right to a felony hearing, the case will now be presented to an Erie County Grand Jury within the next 45 days. The Grand Jury will decide whether to indict Stevenson based on whether they think there’s reasonable cause to believe Stevenson committed a crime.
The standard of proof is lower for a Grand Jury than it is for a jury during trial. In the later stages of the criminal proceedings, that jury must decide whether they believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect on trial committed the crime. Stevenson, like all defendants, is innocent until proven guilty.
Stevenson is being held without bail in the Erie County Holding Center.