DA drops charges against man initially accused of killing his wife

Brandon Addeo
York Dispatch
Queshantea Stephens
(Facebook photo)

York County prosecutors dismissed murder charges for a man accused of killing his wife in 2017.

Zukael Tony Stephens, 43, who has a Chester, Delaware County, address, was  released from York County Prison on a judge's order Wednesday,  after the York County District Attorney's Office dropped charges of criminal homicide and third-degree murder against him. 

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In court Tuesday, prosecutors indicated they also have new evidence, according to Zukael Stephens' attorney, first assistant county public defender Clasina Houtman. 

"They indicated that there’s an ongoing investigation that they feel the need to follow through with," Houtman said. "I am grateful the district attorney's office is honoring their ethical duty to investigate new evidence that may exculpate my client. They’re doing the right thing."

It's not clear what the new evidence was, and Kyle King, a spokesman for the DA's office, declined to comment on the issue.

Zukael Stephens

Stephens was charged with the murder of his wife, 39-year-old Queshantea "Bubbles" Stephens, of West Manchester Township. Queshantea Stephens was found dead in Heiges Alley, behind the 700 block of West Princess Street, on Aug. 29, 2017. The York County Coroner's Office ruled her cause of death as "suspicious for asphyxia."

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Houtman said prosecutors dropped the case because they felt their evidence was insufficient to prove Zukael Stephens guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

"It’s possible their new evidence may lead to a different perpetrator," she said. "It may not, but it may."

It's not clear if prosecutors will, or won't, refile charges or pursue new ones against Zukael Stephens. 

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