Teen sentenced to 30-60 years for murder of World War II veteran

George Stewart charged with beating man to death, lighting him on fire

DETROIT – A man who is charged with the November killing a 91-year-old Detroit man was sentenced Friday to 30-60 years in prison.

George Stewart will be at least 47 years old before he is released from prison. Stewart is charged with beating Paul Monchnik to death and setting him on fire in his own home.

"No one should be able to leave this world like that," Stewart said in court. "Mr. Monchnik was a good man. He didn't deserve to die like he did."

It's a memory Monchnik's son can't erase from his memory.

"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," Scott Monchnik said.

Stewart plead guilty to second-degree murder. His sister said her brother is not a monster.

"My brother has never been in any trouble in his life," Taige Stewart said.

Local 4 interviewed the then-17-year-old Stewart who lived next door to Monchnik the morning the 91-year-old's body was found.

"I just (saw) the person driving off with his car," Stewart told Local 4 that morning. "Next thing you know, two minutes later, I walk in the house, and we smell fire."

But evidence and surveillance footage of Stewart filling up a gas can tied him to the murder that tore a family apart.

"While dad will always be in our memory and in our thoughts and in our hearts, we have laid him to rest, and we can move on with the healing process," Rae Monchnik said.

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The Stewart family said there is more to the story that hasn't been revealed, but when asked to elaborate, they declined. They do believe George is innocent and they said they plan to appeal.

About the Authors:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.