PALM BAY, Florida – 27-year-old Stephen Paul Warrington was sentenced on Thursday to 35 years in prison followed by 30 years of probation by Judge Robin Lemonidis for the murder of 22-year-old Jillian Kusznir in April of 2016.
Warrington was arrested on April 21, 2016, after the deceased body of Kusznir was discovered in the trunk of her car by a construction worker near the intersection of Vienna Street NE and Norman Street NE in Palm Bay, Florida
The Medical Examiner established Kusznir had been repeatedly stabbed in her neck and back, causing her death.
Warrington was identified as a suspect as he was known to Kusznir and was tied to the murder by phone records and security videos showing him exiting the car containing her body.
Warrington lived with this mother on Van Loon Avenue which is located just one block away from where Kusznir’s body was found.
Police believe that Kusznir was killed inside Warrington’s home.
A Grand Jury indicted Warrington for the murder on May 14, 2016.
After a nine-day trial and deliberation, Warrington was convicted April 18, 2019, by a Brevard County Jury of Second Degree Murder (F1 PBL) and Petit Theft (M2).
During yesterday’s hearing, the State sought a life sentence for Warrington.
However, the defense argued for 20 years in prison followed by 25 years of probation.
Judge Lemonidis refused to downward depart before issuing her ruling of 35 years in state prison followed by 30 years of supervised drug offender probation.
Warrington will be transferred from the Brevard County Jail to the Florida Department of Corrections to begin serving his sentence.
Kusznir was a witness to a 2013 home invasion in Palm Bay where two men were shot and killed.
According to investigators, Kusznir went to the home on Thuringer Street NW to see Stephen Wright.
Sean Pino and Dylan Kane accompanied her but stayed outside the residence.
There were four people in the home when Kusznir arrived. Pino and Kane accompanied her but stayed outside the residence. There were four people in the home when Kusznir arrived.
As Kusznir left the home, there was a verbal confrontation outside between Pino, Kane and one of the occupants of the home, identified as Alex Souza. Souza and Wright did not know the two men, police say.
During the argument, Pino and Kane forced their way into the home and started a physical fight with Souza, witnesses told the police.
Wright, who was inside the home and witnessed the fight, retrieved a firearm and confronted the two men who allegedly continued towards him in an aggressive manner. At that time, Wright fired four rounds striking and killing both men.
The shooting was later deemed justified by the State Attorney’s Office for the 18th Judicial Circuit of Florida.