Stephen Treiber, Pennsylvania


Updated: Monday, May 2, 2016 1:09 pm EDT

Stephen E. Treiber's execution was scheduled to occur at 7 pm EDT, on Monday, May 2, 2016, at the State Correctional Institute Rockview, in Rockview, Pennsylvania. His execution has been stayed. Forty-six-year-old Stephen is convicted of the murder of his two-year-old daughter Jessica Treiber on March 9, 2001, in Erie, Pennsylvania. Stephen has spent the last 13 years of his life on Pennsylvania’s death row.

Stephen’s execution has been stayed by the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. His execution has been stayed to allow Stephen to pursue federal appeals.

Stephen’s notice of execution was issued by Department of Corrections Secretary John Wentzel, as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has refused to sign any execution warrants. If the Governor does not sign an execution notice within a specified time frame, state law requires the corrections secretary to issue the execution notice.

On Friday, February 13, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a moratorium on executions in the state, until he receives and reviews a report on capital punishment in the state, a report which was ordered in 2011. In his announcement, he called the death penalty in Pennsylvania a "flawed system," "ineffective," "unjust," and "expensive." Read more about the announcement here.


Stephen had not prior criminal history. He had successfully been employed and had a positive work history. Allegedly, Stephen also suffered slight neurological impairment and brain damage from a traffic accident in 1991.


Sometime during the night of March 9, 2001, Kathleen Roemer noticed smoke rising from a neighbor’s home. That neighbor was Stephen Treiber, whom she observed standing on a second story deck, along with Treiber’s girlfriend, Denise Riddle, and Treiber’s daughter, Jessica. Denise was screaming for help while Treiber stood calmly. Treiber later asked about his dogs. When Kathleen asked about Jessica, Treiber stated, “The firemen will get her. She’s probably dead anyway.” Jessica died as a result of the fire.


During the police investigation, Treiber showed police a threatening letter made by gluing cut-out letters from a magazine onto a piece of paper. Within the glue, a dog hair, which matched the hair from on of Treiber’s dogs, was found. Additionally, police determined that the fire had been deliberately started using gasoline, clothing, straw, and candles, and that the home security system had been disabled.


Police also discerned that Treiber had acted differently the night of the fire; wearing shoes in the house when he normally insisted that they be taken off and urging Denise to go out when he normally objected to her going out. Police also discovered that Treiber had a history of being unwilling to pay child support to Jessica’s mother, Jodie. Treiber had also told a friend he would kill Jessica in order to stop paying child support and discussed his plans, which included buying supplies to start a fire, on how to kill Jessica.


Treiber was convicted and sentenced to death on November 4, 2002.


Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Jessica. Please pray for strength for the family of Stephen Treiber. Please pray that Stephen is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence be provided prior to his execution. Please pray that Stephen will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.



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