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Belstadt convicted in 1993 murder of NT high school student

Mandy Steingasser was murdered in 1993.
File Photo
Mandy Steingasser was murdered in 1993.

It took about 10 hours of deliberation all day Monday and Tuesday morning, but Joseph Belstadt, 46, was convicted by a jury in Niagara County Court Tuesday afternoon of second degree murder in the death of Mandy Steingasser, 17, in September 1993.

Her body was found strangled in Bond Lake Park in Ransomville several weeks after she was last seen getting into Belstadt's car in North Tonawanda.

Joseph Belstadt's mug shots
North Tonawanda Police
Joseph Belstadt has been a prime suspect since the 1993 murder.

Belstadt was always considered a prime suspect in the murder of the North Tonawanda high school student by police, but charges were not filed for 25 years. By then detectives were able to use more modern methods of DNA evidence processing to link evidence with the suspect.

Belstadt was arrested in April 2018 and has been free on $250,000 bail since then. The trial was postponed several times, including once by the COVID pandemic, and took more than three weeks to complete. More than 40 witnesses took the stand.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 10.