NewsMcAlpin Murder Trial

Actions

Judge to decide fate of man who murdered couple at their Cleveland car dealership

Jury recommended death penalty
Web_Promo_Image_960x720.png
Posted at 12:46 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 12:46:41-04

CLEVLEAND — A Cuyahoga County judge will determine if the man who killed a couple at their car dealership in 2017 will receive the death penalty at his sentencing hearing Tuesday afternoon.

You can watch a livestream of the sentencing around 1 p.m. in the player below.

Last week, a jury recommended the death penalty for Joseph McAlpin. He was found guilty in the slayings of Trina and Michael Kuznik and their pet dog Axzel at Mr. Cars on East 185th Street.

McAlpin was convicted last month on four counts of aggravated murder, four counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of kidnapping, four counts of felonious assault and a slew of other charges.

Investigators say McAlpin and two others went to the dealership on East 185th Street to steal cars and the robbery took a deadly turn. One of the other suspects pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter earlier this year. The second man has not been put on trial yet.

When the case was given to the jury to decide whether or not they would recommend a death sentence or life in prison, they deliberated for less than an hour.

RELATED: Jury decides death penalty for man convicted of murdering couple at car dealership

The decision came in the second day of the sentencing phase of the trial and followed a morning of sometimes emotional closing arguments by both sides in which McAlpin again maintained his innocence.

"I am innocent," said McAlpin. "I will continue to say that, continue to say that, and I will continue to say that until my fight is finished. No matter if it's me getting on the gurney having something stuff up my veins and taking that penalty, or if it's me coming back in this courtroom, reiterating it all again, doing it as round two."

The crime rocked the Collinwood neighborhood. Cleveland City Councilman Michael Polensek, who represents Collinwood, was in court when the judge read the jury's death penalty recommendation.

"The evidence was overwhelming, he was there," said Polensek. "He did it. And to stand in the courtroom and to constantly deny it, and then sympathize with the family, you rotten SOB, you got what you deserve."

MORE:

Jury finds man guilty of murdering couple at Cleveland car dealership

On Your Side investigation reveals slow 911 response times by Cleveland police

Continuing coverage of the McAlpin murder trial