Man who shared apartment with convicted murderer facing charges

SEBRING – Steven Van Pelt, the man who shared an apartment in Salem with convicted murderer Miranda Todd at the time of her young son’s death in 2010, had his own brush with the law late Friday.

According to Sebring police, Van Pelt, 28, West Virginia Avenue, Sebring, now faces six charges, including two felony gun-related charges in Mahoning County.

A police report states patrolman Joe Amabeli pulled over a car driven by Kylie Stiffler at 11:39 p.m. Friday for an alleged headlight violation.

Stiffler was also one of Todd’s roommates in 2010. During testimony by the couple in Todd’s trial, it was found that Stiffler and Todd were involved in a sexual relationship with Van Pelt, all three were involved in marijuana use and Van Pelt had guns in the apartment.

Knowing about some past issues with Van Pelt, Amabeli on Friday asked for and was granted consent to search the vehicle.

Another police officer, Michelle Bush, searched Van Pelt, reportedly finding a marijuana pipe rolled up inside his pant leg and laying it on the vehicle’s hood. At that point, Van Pelt reportedly ran behind the Williams and Case Insurance building before going northbound over the railroad tracks.

Van Pelt fell twice while crossing the tracks and when he fell, police said, a loaded .45-caliber Springfield Armory handgun fell from his pocket. He reportedly then fell down the embankment of the railroad tracks and rolled to the bottom, where Amabeli was able to jump on top of him.

Van Pelt was taken into custody and police reportedly found another loaded magazine clip in the jacket pocket and a small amount of marijuana in his jeans pocket.

Van Pelt complained of a rib injury from falling and was taken to an area hospital before being taken to the Mahoning County Jail, where he remained until he was released on a $14,000 surety bond on Tuesday.

According to Sebring Municipal Court, Van Pelt appeared on Tuesday. A preliminary hearing was set for March 14 for the felony charges of having weapons while under the disability of an alcohol or drug dependency and carrying a concealed weapon. A pretrial was also set on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and obstruction of official business.

No charges have been filed against Kylie Stiffler

Miranda Todd was convicted in Columbiana County last June of murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering children in the death of her infant son, Derek Dennison. She was sentenced to 15 years to life.

Todd’s mother, Melinda Todd, was found murdered in her Salem Township home on Dec. 3 when Miranda Todd’s 5-year-old son, Cole Reed also was found bludgeoned in the home. He survived. No charges have been filed regarding the death or injuries to Reed.