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Judge denies bond for Ian Edward Stefan, suspect in murder over dog in West Palm Beach

Posted at 10:59 AM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 18:47:16-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A judge denied bond on Friday for man arrested in a deadly shooting in West Palm Beach that police say started with an argument over a dog.

26-year-old Ian Edward Stefan is facing a second-degree murder charge for the death of 68-year-old Slobodan Jakovljevic.

On Friday, Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo denied Stefan's request for bond.

"I have concerns on his decision-making abilities based on the facts here," said Judge Caracuzzo. "I'm going to continue to hold Mr. Stefan on no bond until trial."

Stefan's attorneys asked Judge Caracuzzo to grant him bond and place him on house arrest. They argued Stefan does not have a passport and is not a flight risk, and poses no danger to the community.

"Please judge, I beg you, he must not be free. My husband is dead," said Anka Jakovljevic, the victim’s late wife, while testifying at Friday's hearing.

"How can we ever ensure that Ian Stefan is not a continued threat to the public?" said Gina Rizzo, the victim's stepdaughter. "The question for this court today is a simple one. How can you guarantee that Ian Stefan will not murder again? The only way is to keep him locked up."

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Police said the men got into an argument on Feb. 5 at the Park Place Apartments, located at 1620 Presidential Way. The fight was over Stefan's dog not being on a leash. According to police, Stefan shot Jakovljevic in the chest.

Investigators said there was no reasonable explanation for Stefan to shoot Jakovlijevic, who was unarmed. But Stefan's attorney said Jakovlijevic was a bully and Stefan was acting in self-defense.

According to a motion filed by Stefan's legal team:

"...the defendant not only legally and justifiably defended himself, but had every right under Florida Statue 776.012 to stand his ground."

In addition, Stefan's attorneys said a psychologist evaluated Stefan after his arrest and found he was not a danger to the community. The motion reads:

"Dr. Fichera reported no significant psychopathology and indicated the defendant poses no danger to himself or others and 'if the court so wishes, he may be released into the community without posing a danger to himself or others.'"

A trial date for Stefan has not been set.