Oklahoma's parole board Friday denied a clemency request from a death row
inmate convicted of running over his wife with a pickup truck and killing her
nearly 16 years ago.
Timothy Shaun Stemple, 46, is set to be executed March 15 for the 1996 death of
his wife, Trisha. The Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 against recommending
Prosecutors said Stemple beat his wife with a baseball bat then ran her over
along U.S. 75 in Tulsa with the help of a 16-year-old accomplice.
"He is one of the most evil men that I have come in contact with in my many
years of service," Tulsa Police Officer Mike Huff, a 37-year veteran, wrote to
the panel in advance of Friday's hearing. He called Stemple a "monster."
But forensic specialist Andre Stuart told the board he believed Trisha
Stemple's injuries weren't consistent with prosecutors' scenario and suggested
she died in a motor-vehicle accident instead.
Stemple previously had said his 30-year-old wife died while making a trip to
Walmart to buy aspirin, but declined to take questions or talk during Friday's
hearing about what happened the night his wife died. He appeared via video
monitor and addressed a sister of the victim.
"Missie and everybody else, I didn't get to see the presentation today, but
hopefully you guys have some idea why this is a very improper forum to discuss
it," he said. "If you guys wish to come visit me please do so."
Gov. Mary Fallin cannot grant clemency without the board's approval. Had the
board recommended mercy, she would have been free to accept or reject its
Stemple's execution is 1 of 2 set for next month, and the attorney general's
office has asked that Fallin set an execution date for another inmate. Oklahoma
has 4 doses left of a chemical it uses when executing prisoners.
Trisha Stemple's family and friends wrote letters to the board describing her
as a loving, protective woman who cared for others and did work for a
"She was the sole provider for her family, working full time, as well as taking
care of both her kids and keeping the house in order," her sister, Deborah
Ruddick-Bird, wrote on behalf of her parents. "She loved and adored her kids.
She was always there for them for love, support and hugs, kisses and snuggles."
Timothy Stemple's 21-year-old daughter, Lauren, asked the board not to execute
"Please don't take away the last member of my family I have left," she said.
Trisha Stemple died Oct. 24, 1996. Prosecutors claim Timothy Stemple enlisted
the help of a 16-year-old to kill the woman so they could collect a $950,000
life-insurance policy. Prosecutors claim both men struck Trisha Stemple with
baseball bat covered in plastic wrap before Timothy Stemple ran her over
repeatedly with his 1978 pickup truck.
When Trisha Stemple's body was found, she was wearing jogging pants with tire
tracks that matched her husband's truck, prosecutors said.
According to a report by the attorney general's office, Timothy Stemple acted
suspiciously when he reported his wife missing, and an investigation led to the
cousin of a fast food worker with whom Timothy Stemple was having an affair.
On the night of the attack, Timothy Stemple pretended he had engine trouble,
and the teen lay in wait along the highway, the report said.
It said that while Trisha Stemple shined a flashlight on the engine, Timothy
Stemple revved the engine to signal the teen to attack. The teen said he hit
her twice and Timothy Stemple hit her 10-14 times, according to the report.
After leaving her for dead, the pair returned to the scene and found she had
dragged herself into grass along the highway, the report said. According to the
teen accomplice, Timothy Stemple then sped up to 60 to 70 mph and ran over the
"This means lethal injection if we get caught," Timothy Stemple later said,
according to the accomplice's account cited in the report.
(source: Associated Press)