Format:  NCSA
 
Death Row

STEPHENSON, JOHN MATTHEW # 87

ON DEATH ROW SINCE 06-17-97

DOB: 07-31-63 DOC#: White Male

Warrick County Superior Court Judge Edward A. Campbell

Prosecutor: Todd Corne

Defense: Anthony Long, Dennis Vowels

Date of Murder: March 28, 1996

Victim(s): Brandy Southard W/F/21; John Jay Tyler W/M/29;
Kathy Tyler W/F/29

Method of Murder: shooting with SKS Assault rifle

Summary: Jay and Kathy Tyler picked up Brandy Southard from her work in Evansville and were chased by Stephenson to an intersection in rural Warrick County, where he emptied a 30 round SKS Assault Rifle into the pickup truck and their bodies. Each were then stabbed repeatedly. Stephenson was also convicted of the earlier Burglary and Theft from Southard's residence.

(Believed to be the longest and most expensive trial in Indiana history. Jury selection began on September 24; Opening Statements began on December 30; Found Guilty on May 8; Jury recommended death on May 20; 140 total trial days. The defense was allowed 2 attorneys, 2 investigators, a paralegal, a professional photographer, a civil engineer, a forensic scientist, a jury consultant, a neuropsychologist, and a mitigation expert. Sister Helen Prejean was flown in to testify at the sentencing hearing. Claims paid for 2 attorneys fees were $334,156, paralegal fees were $57,788, expert fees were $79,193, investigator fees were $74,493, miscellaneous expenses were over $10,000).

Conviction: Murder (3 counts), Burglary (B Felony), Theft (D Felony)

Sentencing: June 17, 1997 (Death Sentence, Death Sentence, Death Sentence, 10 years, 1 1/2 years concurrent)

Aggravating Circumstances:
3 murders (lying in wait, drive-by shooting rejected)

Mitigating Circumstances: shown he could be safely imprisoned for Life without Parole, some multiple murderers are in DOC and not on Death Row

Direct Appeal: APPEAL PENDING


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