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Attorney General's Office seeks ruling in murder case appeal

Rick Stillion / The New Concord Leader Published: August 31, 2010 6:57 AM

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has filed a motion with the U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati seeking a ruling on an appeal filed by convicted killer John David Stumpf.


The motion requested the court proceed to a final disposition, as the case has been pending since oral arguments on July 26, 2007.

Stumpf was sentenced to death on Sept. 27, 1984, for killing 54-year-old Mary Jane Stout on May 13 of that same year.

He was also convicted of trying to kill Stout’s husband, Norman, in the couple’s New Concord area home.

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The case has been with the Sixth Circuit court since July 19, 2005, when the U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case to the court for further considerations.

At that point, the case was automatically referred to the panel for disposition. 

The court ordered briefs be filed by legal counsel which were received on Jan. 30, 2006.

Oral arguments were presented more than 18 months later and the case has been decisional since that time.

Stumpf, 49, is currently incarcerated on “Death Row” at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.

On the day of May 13, 1984, the Stouts invited Stumpf and his accomplice, Clyde Wesley, into their home to use the telephone.

The pair claimed that their car was  disabled on nearby Interstate 70.

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Stumpf shot Mr. Stout twice in the head as Wesley ransacked the house, seriously wounding him.

Stumpf then turned to Mrs. Stout, who had witnessed her husband being shot, and fatally shot her four times.

He was indicted on the murder and attempted murder charges on June 14, 1984, and then convicted of the crimes in the Guernsey County Common Pleas Court three months later.

The Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence on direct appeal on Aug. 19, 1987.

On Feb. 7, 2001, a federal district court denied the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Stumpf, but the Sixth Circuit Court reversed the district court’s decision on April 28, 2004.

The Sixth Circuit Court vacated Stumpf’s conviction and sentence based on an involuntary “guilty” plea and inconsistent prosecution theories.

The case was remanded to the state court for a re-trial.

On Jan. 7, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the state’s petition for a writ of certiorari that sought a judicial review of the case.

On June 13, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the district court’s decision and remanded to the Sixth Circuit for further consideration of Stumpf’s inconsistent prosecution theory claim.

Stumpf claims prosecutors used inconsistent theories to secure convictions against both Stumpf and Wesley.

Prosecutors claimed Stumpf shot the Stouts after his plea was entered and then claimed Wesley was the shooter at his trial. 

Both men were armed with pistols when they entered the Stout home.

Wesley was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole for 20 years .

A third man, Norman Leroy Edmonds, remained in the vehicle at the time of the shootings.

He later testified against both Stumpf and Stout before being convicted of crimes that occurred while the men were traveling from Pennsylvania to Ohio.




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