Thursday, March 15, 2012

R.I.P. Timothy Stemple

Roman Colosseum lit to protest an execution
On March 15, 2012, Oklahoma executed Timothy Stemple for the 1996 murder of his wife Trisha Stemple.  According to the prosecution's case, Stemple was having an extramarital affair and engaged the 16-year old cousin of his girlfriend to assist him with the crime.  The teenage accomplice, Terry Hunt, testified against him in exchange for a life sentence.  Stemple consistently maintained his innocence.

Stemple's family unsuccessfully sought to have new evidence that undermines Hunt's account of the attack presented in court.  Hunt had testified that he hit the victim twice with a baseball bat and that Stemple hit her 20-30 times, and then ran over her with a pickup truck.  The brutality of the crime was critical in obtaining a death sentence.  However, the findings of a forensic expert consulted by Stemple's family support the theory that the victim died from an auto-pedestrian collision, not from blunt force trauma to the head -- that she was struck with a vehicle and run over, but not beaten.  Another expert, a forensic animation specialist who reconstructed the crime, agrees with the forensic expert's conclusions.

The Pardon and Parole Board denied the plea for clemency, and Governor Mary Fallin denied a request for a stay to allow the forensic testimony to be heard in court.

The New York Times reported that the Innocence Project also urged the Governor to stay the execution and called for additional DNA testing to be done. "Human blood was found on the plastic that was on the bat," and according to the prosecution it was "too deteriorated to determine whose it was."  The Times said that Stemple's "family hoped advances in DNA testing could help exonerate him."

This is the ninth execution in the United States in 2012, the second in Oklahoma. 

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

So, another man executed when evidence is dismissed, not progressively researched and potentially fundamentally flawed.

I hope that this case isn't forgotten and evidence of guilt or innocence is finally proved.

God bless the Governor!

mlc2005 said...

This account is completely flawed. It's fine to be against capital punishment, but Timothy Stemple is NOT the poster child for ending the death penalty. The evidence against Stemple was overwhelming. The "R.I.P. Timothy Stemple" article above totally overlooked key and damaging facts that prove Stemple's guilt.

The jury did not base it's guilty verdict on forensic evidence alone, as the article here would have you believe.

Hunt, Stemple's 16-year-old co-defendant (the nephew of the woman he was having an affair with) got life in prison for admitting his involvement (hardly a great plea deal). Another person corroborated Hunt's account, and testified that two weeks prior to the murder, Stemple tried to lure his wife to the location of the murder.

Additionally, Stemple wrote letters while in prison admitting his guilt, and asking fellow inmates to kill potential witnesses. When questioned by the police (which was videotaped), Stemple was asked if he knew what happened to his wife; he responded with "I do. Now I better get an attorney."

His wife's tire was intentionally flattened with a drill, and an eyewitness saw Stemple's red truck in the immediate area the night of the murder.

And, btw, after Stemple bashed his wife's head with a bat, he saw her crawling to the road and ran her over at 60 mph. THAT might explain why his family's "expert" crime reconstruction team concluded she was hit by a car.

PLEASE don't assume every person on death row is innocent just because you oppose the death penalty. Timothy Stemple was a monster who was too much of a coward to admit his horrific crime.

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