John Stumpf, Ohio

 

Updated: Monday, April 13, 2020

John David Stumpf was scheduled to be executed at 10 am local time on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio.  His execution has been rescheduled for Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Fifty-nine-year-old John is convicted of the murder of 54-year-old Mary Jane Stout, which occurred on May 14, 1984, in near New Concord, Ohio. John has been on death row in Ohio for the last 35 years.

John did not have a criminal record, nor did he have a reputation has a trouble maker prior to his arrest.

On May 14, 1984, John Stumpf, Clyde Daniel Wesley, and Norman Leroy Edmonds, were driving near Washington, Pennsylvania, after they had been drinking at a bar. They were continuing to drink while driving and had three handguns in the vehicle. Around dusk, the three men pulled over in Guernsey County, Ohio.

Stumpf and Wesley armed themselves and went to a nearby home and rang the door bell. Norman Stout and his wife, Mary Jane, were home. Norman let in the men, who claimed they needed to use the phone. Stumpf used the phone and then wiped it down with a handkerchief. Then Stumpf and Wesley pulled out their weapons, telling the Stouts this was a robbery.

The Stouts were taken into a bedroom and held at gunpoint by Stumpf, while Wesley searched the house. Norman eventually moved towards Stumpf and was shot between the eyes. Norman and Stumpf continued to fight, with Norman receiving another shot to the top of the head, and was likely hit on the head by butt of the gun. Norman remembers hearing two voices talking, followed by four gunshots, before he lost consciousness again. Norman later learned that Mary Jane had been shot four times, and did not survive her injuries.  An investigation determined that the same bullets, fired from the same gun, were used to shoot both Norman and Mary Jane.

 

Stumpf and Wesley fled the scene of the crime in the Stout’s vehicle, tossing one of the guns out the window. Edmonds, who had stayed in the car during the robbery, left once he saw the Stout’s car backing out of garage. He stopped for gas and left without paying, shooting at two men who attempted to chase him. Edmonds returned to Pennsylvania.

 

Stumpf and Wesley abandoned the stolen car after one day, wiping it clean of fingerprints. The reunited with Edmonds and sold the two remaining guns. Stumpf stayed in Pennsylvania, while Edmonds and Wesley went to Texas.

 

Edmonds was arrested first and implicated Stumpf and Wesley. Stumpf surrendered to police, claiming that he was not involved in the crime. After learning that Norman survived his injuries, Stumpf admitted to participating in the robbery and shooting Norman, however, he denied killing Mary Jane, saying he fled after shooting Norman and was not in the house for Mary Jane’s murder.

 

Stumpf was charged and waived his right to a trial by jury and decided to plead guilty. His plea deal, however, did not spare him from the death penalty. A three-judge panel sentenced him to death. Stumpf attempted to argue that he should not be sentenced to death because he was follower, he had limited mental abilities which made him extraordinarily susceptible to Wesley’s influence, he had been consuming alcohol prior to the crime, and his age should be taken into consideration. The prosecution argued that Stumpf was the leader.

 

However, at Wesley’s trial, tried by the same prosecutor, the prosecutor argued that Wesley was the leader. Additionally, at Wesley’s trial, one of his cell mates testified that Wesley had confessed to killing Mary Jane. Wesley was given a life sentence, with the possibility of parole after 20 years. Edmonds served 10 years in prison before being paroled.

 

Many of Stumpf’s appeals have focused on the discrepancy between the trials.

 

John Stumpf had a previous execution date of January 3, 2018. It was rescheduled due to ongoing problems establishing an execution protocol and obtaining drugs for use in executions. More information regarding Ohio’s execution problems can be found here.  

 

Pray for peace and healing for Norman and the family of Mary Jane. Pray for strength for the family of John. Pray that if John is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented prior to his execution. Pray that John may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

  

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