- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2006

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — A Rockingham County court has sentenced to death a man convicted of ordering the murder of his ex-girlfriend because he was angry about child support payments.

It is the court’s first death sentence in six years.

Ivan Teleguz, 27, was sentenced Tuesday for ordering the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Sipe, in July 2001.

Circuit Judge John McGrath described Teleguz’s conduct as “heinous” and “reprehensible” before telling Teleguz, “No other punishment is appropriate other than death.”

Pam Woods found her 20-year-old daughter dead in her Harrisonburg apartment July 23, 2001. Miss Sipe’s 2-year-old son was in the bathroom unharmed.

Michael Hetrick, 31, of Warren, Pa., testified that Teleguz paid him $2,500 for the job.

His accomplice, Edward L. Gilkes Jr., 27, of Altoona, Pa., also testified against Teleguz.

Gilkes is serving 15 years in prison for his part in the murder-for-hire plot. Hetrick is negotiating a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Teleguz, whose family fled religious persecution in the Soviet Union when he was a boy, stood expressionless during the sentencing.

It was a demeanor he had maintained throughout the February trial, the result, his attorney’s said, of his conservative childhood.

But Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst called it evidence of his cold, calculating nature.

Judge McGrath agreed.

“If I had one iota of doubt of your guilt, I would do so,” Judge McGrath said of imposing the lesser punishment of life in prison. “If I had one iota of doubt of your viciousness, I would.”

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