Coroner: Slain Dentist Was Drunk

Posted: June 23, 1998

Slain Society Hill dentist Stephen Grosse was drunk at the time of his murder, with tests showing his blood-alcohol level was enough to prevent him from fending off his attacker, authorities said yesterday.

Toxicology tests show that Grosse, 44, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15, which is 50 percent above the legal limit of 0.10, said Montgomery County Coroner Halbert Fillinger.

Tests are not complete on whether Grosse had any drugs in his system when he died, Fillinger said.

``The whole thing is kind of mysterious. There's a lot more looking to do,'' Fillinger said.

Police would not say yesterday whether there was any significance to Grosse's drunken state.

They continue to question friends and business associates of Grosse, who owned cosmetic dentistry practices in Center City and Lansdowne.

Grosse, who was a well-known member of the city's gay community, was deeply in debt at the time of his murder.

He also had recently changed his will and life insurance beneficiary, making a male model he had met four months earlier his sole heir.

The heir, an aspiring actor named Alvin Steffey Jr., has been questioned by police and is not a suspect, police have said.

Grosse was found June 10 in his burning Mercedes on a secluded road in Lower Merion Township.

The autopsy showed he died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

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