Man sentenced in '88 Phoenix homicide - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

UPDATE

Man sentenced in '88 Phoenix homicide

Posted: Updated:
Steven Michael Humelhans (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Steven Michael Humelhans (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
CBS 5 News' Adam Longo spoke exclusively with Steven Michael Humelhans after he was found guilty to a 1988 Phoenix murder. CBS 5 News' Adam Longo spoke exclusively with Steven Michael Humelhans after he was found guilty to a 1988 Phoenix murder.
  • More newsMore>>

  • Cuts to food stamps will only hit 4 states

    Cuts to food stamps will only hit 4 states

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 4:39 AM EDT2014-09-17 08:39:02 GMT
    An Associated Press review finds that cuts to the nation's food stamp program enacted this year are only affecting four states, far from the sweeping overhaul that Republicans had pushed.More >>
    Cuts to the nation's food stamp program enacted this year are only affecting four states, far from the sweeping overhaul that Republicans had pushed, an Associated Press review has found.More >>
  • Vikings bar Peterson from all team activities

    Vikings bar Peterson from all team activities

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 4:13 AM EDT2014-09-17 08:13:17 GMT
    Adrian Peterson was back at Minnesota Vikings headquarters on Monday, and the first thing fullback Jerome Felton did when he saw his star running back was give him a high-five.More >>
    After a day of public pressure from angry fans and concerned sponsors, the Minnesota Vikings have reversed course and placed star running back Adrian Peterson on the exempt-commissioner's permission list, a move that...More >>
  • Dempsey: Half of Iraqi army not OK as US partners

    Dempsey: Half of Iraqi army not OK as US partners

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 1:37 AM EDT2014-09-17 05:37:01 GMT
    About half of Iraq's army is incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group's territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially...More >>
    About half of Iraq's army is incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group's territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially rebuilt...More >>
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The family of a young man who was killed in Phoenix in March of 1988 is getting justice after waiting a quarter of a century for their son's killer to be convicted.

Steven Michael Humelhans, 41, was sentenced Monday to a term of life in prison with the possibility of release after 25 years in the death of 25-year-old Eric Rice.

Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Jerry Cobb said the sentence is the only allowable punishment for a non-capital, first-degree murder conviction under laws in place at the time of the crime.

New witness testimony helped convict Humelhans of kidnapping, robbing and killing the Domino's Pizza manager.

A jury found Humelhans guilty of first-degree murder last month.

"I want them to know I didn't kill their kid," said Humelhans when asked what he wanted Rice's family to know. "I didn't kill their kid and had nothing to do with killing their kid."

Last year, Winnebago County sheriff's officers arrested Humelhans in the northern Illinois city of Roscoe, near the Wisconsin border, on a first-degree murder warrant out of Maricopa County in connection to Rice's death.

Phoenix police say Humelhans was first charged in Rice's death in 1996, but the case was dropped because of lack of evidence. Police said a witness provided new evidence that was presented to a grand jury in March and Humelhans was indicted.

Prosecutor Kristin Larish argued in the trial that Humelhans confessed his role in the crime to  Heather Robbins, Humelhan's ex-wife, who testified against him.

"She knew every single detail about the crime. Said she was gonna get a big reward," said Humelhans.

Robbins testified in court that she never sought out reward money and never received any. It was her testimony and Humelhan's fingerprints on a Domino's pizza check that should have ended up in the night drop that were the key pieces of evidence.

"There's always been this nagging question of the details. What happened?" said Tom Phinney, Rice's step-father.

Prosecutors allege Rice was kidnapped after closing the Domino's Pizza location he managed at 25th Avenue and Peoria.

According to testimony from Robbins, Humelhans admitted he and another man put Rice in the trunk of a car and drove to a deserted area near I-17 and Happy Valley Road.

The pair stole the money from the night drop bag and then shot Rice multiple times and left him for dead. He was found clinging to life the next morning by a couple out riding recreational off-road vehicles, but died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Rice was engaged at the time of his death.

Tom Phinney and his long-time partner, Eric's mother Marian Rice, sat in on every day of the three week long trial. Phinney was not surprised when shown a clip of Humelhans interview in which he denied his involvement in Eric Rice's murder.

"So, is he gonna make a claim like this to try and save his life and not serve 25 years in prison? I think so," said Phinney.

Humelhans tells CBS5 he plans to appeal his conviction.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow