An 18-year-old man has been sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in prison after he murdered a 91-year-old World War II veteran by beating him, covering him with gasoline, and setting him on fire so that he burned to death. George Steward pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the killing his next-door neighbor, Paul Monchnik, though he did at least seem remorseful for his horrific crime.
- Paul’s body was found by his son Scott. Scott arrived at his father’s house, which was his childhood home, to find it burned to the ground with his father’s body surrounded by the elderly man’s blood from the beating he endured before his death, the Detroit News reports. Scott described it as a “scene from hell” and admitted he’ll be haunted forever by what he saw that day.
- Scott describes Steward as a “monster.” Speaking in court, Scott tore into Steward for taking his father’s life in such a brutal and horrific way. “His life was brutally taken from us by a monster,” he told the court. “The terrible sickening feeling I get thinking that my dad’s last hour on Earth was filled with horror and pain, worse than anything he went through in the war.”
- Steward’s motive is completely unknown. He lived next door to Paul Monchnik with his grandfather at the time of the murder, and it’s unclear what led him to commit such a horrendous act. However, he has said that he is “remorseful” for what he did.
- Steward’s remorse comes a little too late. “Each and every day I wish I could take it back,” he said at his sentencing hearing. “No one should be able to leave this world like that. I’m sorry for the loss I caused their family, for the heartache I put in their hearts. Hopefully one day they can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”
- The suspect’s family is still by his side. George’s sister, Taige Steward, said outside of court that while she has sympathy for the victim’s family, her family is also going through a lot. “I feel sorry for the family and for my family as well, because we are all going through. I know he honestly feels terrible about what happened,” she said.