March 18, 2014
Stephen Rex Edmiston's execution was scheduled for 7 pm EDT, on April 16, 2014, at the State Correctional Institute Rockview in Rockview, Pennsylvania. Stephen's execution has been stayed by US District Judge Kim Gibson to allow time for Stephen to complete his federal appeals. Fifty-five-year-old Stephen is convicted of killing 2-year-old Bobbi Joe Matthew on October 5, 1988, after kidnapping her from her house in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Stephen has spent the last 26 years on Pennsylvania's death row.
On the night of October 4, 1988, Bobbi Joe Matthew went to bed wearing a pair of purple shorts in the home she lived in with her father, Harold Matthew, her grandmother, Nancy Dotts, and several other children. Harold later fell asleep on the couch. Around 3:30 am, Harold was awakened by a man with a beard and wearing a ball cap. The man apologized for waking Harold and after the two a brief conversation, Harold went back to sleep.
Two children identified a man of similar description entering their bedroom just moments later. According to the children the man walked over to talk to Bobbi Jo, left the bedroom, and then returned, whisper something to Bobbi Jo, and leave again. A few minutes later, a vehicle was seen leaving the home.
Nancy arrived home around 5:30 am on October 5, 1988. She went to the children's bedroom to check on them but did not see Bobbi Jo. Nancy awoke Harold to ask him about the missing child. Harold and the children all described the man they had seen. Nancy recognized the description as the nephew of the man she was dating. This information was reported to the police who tracked down the nephew, Stephen Edmiston.
A search of Edmiston's pick-up truck revealed blood on the driver's side seatbelt receptacle, blood in the middle of the bench seat, a blood stained towel, bloody scissors, and purple shorts, similar to the ones Bobbi Jo wore to bed. Edmiston eventually confessed to police to raping Bobbi Jo in his truck and then hitting her several times with his fists until she stopped moving. Edmiston also drew the police a map of where Bobbi Jo's body was located. When police asked him what they would find at the site he indicated on the map, Edmiston replied "a dead, raped little girl."
Medical testimony at Edmiston's trial claimed that Bobbi Jo's cause of death was a combination of the several severe injuries the young child suffer including scalping, blunt force injuries, and trauma to the genital area. Bobbi Jo was scalped from her ear, across her front hairline and down to her other ear. Her scalp was peeled back to the nape of her neck, exposing her entire skull. The blunt force trauma to her torso caused her liver and lungs to tear. Her intestines protruded from her genital area, which was completely obliterated and ripped. There were also areas of burning on her body along with many other lacerations, abrasions, and a skull fracture.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Bobbi Jo. Please pray for strength for the family of Stephen Edmiston. Please pray that Stephen may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he had not already found one.