A former jail mate of a Stafford County man on trial for murder in the death of a Manassas teenager over Father's Day weekend testified yesterday that Michael Carl George told him he had killed the youth.
Roger Lee Settle told the jury that George told him in June that he had driven into an area where Alexander Eugene Sztanko, 15, rode his dirt bike on June 16 and dragged the boy into the woods. "He said his first impression was to have sex with the boy," he said.
Settle told the jury that George told him that he had committed a lewd sex act with Sztanko before he "stunned the boy" in his groin with an electronic stun gun. "Then the boy was screaming and yelling so much he took his gun and shot the boy in the head," Settle said.
George, 33, a former civilan computer operator at Quantico Marine Base, was arrested June 17 and charged with murdering Stanzko, a Potomac High School student who disappeared after leaving his parents' former home on Cardinal Drive after 2 p.m. the previous day. Sztanko rode his dirt bike into a utility right of way known as the Power Lines near Interstate 95 and Cardinal Drive. An autopsy showed the youth died of a single gunshot to the head. He was tortured in the groin before he died, witnesses testified this week.
George's attorney, Lon Farris, unsuccessfully moved yesterday that the capital murder charge be reduced to a lesser offense, arguing that prosecutors had not proved the murder occurred during a robbery. If convicted of capital murder, George could receive the death penalty.
The defense's only witness, a bank employee, testified that a $55 withdrawal was made from George's account from an automated teller machine on June 15. Farris hoped to show that George had no motive for robbery.
During his testimony, Settle, a convicted felon, said he and George had become "good friends from the start" after George moved into his cellblock at the Prince William jail. "He said he liked my hair and he said I was a good looking guy," said Settle, who wore a back and leg brace as a result of an illness he said had occurred since his imprisonment. "He'd make advances at me sometimes," Settle said.
Settle said he told jail officials of his conversations with George after George attempted suicide by cutting his throat with a jail-issued disposable razor a week after his arrest.
"What he told me is sick," Settle said. "I'm a parent and I have a child of my own."
Farris, on cross-examination, pointed out that Settle, who was convicted on 23 theft-related charges, had been granted a sentence reduction from 13 years to two after he told authorities of George's alleged remarks. Prosecutors said they did not help Settle get a reduced sentence, but did not oppose a motion by his attorney to have his sentence reduced.