Panel backs parole in 1982 crossbow murder case
BY CARY ASPINWALL World Staff Writer
Friday, February 22, 2013
2/22/13 at 6:57 AM
A former Tulsa police officer who is serving a life sentence for a 1982 crossbow murder has been recommended for parole by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
Jimmie Dean Stohler, 59, was recommended for parole if he completes a victim-impact panel, 180 days of community level/work release sentencing and psychological counseling, interim director/general counsel Tracy George said.
Because Stohler was convicted of murder, he will not be granted parole unless Gov. Mary Fallin approves it.
The governor's approval is still required for all paroles in cases of violent crimes. A constitutional amendment approved by voters last fall gives the board final say on paroles for nonviolent crimes.
Stohler was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the 1982 slaying of Michele Rae Powers.
He has been incarcerated since 1985 and remains in custody at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington, according to Department of Corrections records.
Powers was the former girlfriend of one of Stohler's friends, Robert Doss, who was also a former police officer. Powers was shot in the chest with a poisoned crossbow arrow in the parking lot of her Tulsa apartment complex in January 1982. She died several days later.
Doss, who was involved in a custody dispute with Powers over their son, was also charged with plotting to kill Powers but was acquitted. Stohler told police he provided the crossbow used in the attack on Powers, but he claimed that it was another accomplice who shot her with the crossbow. No one else was ever convicted.
Stohler gave a statement admitting to planning the murder, obtaining the weapon and arranging for another person to do the killing, according to court records. He pleaded no contest to the conspiracy charge and then unsuccessfully attempted to argue that the separate murder charge was double jeopardy.
In various appeals since his conviction, Stohler has alleged that his defense was hampered by ineffective counsel.
He claimed in court records that his attorney, Tom Gann, "deliberately mishandled Stohler's trial and deliberately filed an inadequate and totally ineffective appeal for personal reasons and gain."
Gann married Stohler's ex-wife, Kay Stohler, in 1989. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said his office prepared a thorough objection to Stohler's parole.
"We have repeatedly objected to him being paroled through the years," Drummond said. "We think he ought to serve the full length of his sentence because of the egregious nature of this crime."
Powers' brutal murder by poisoned arrow required planning and forethought, Drummond said.
"For certain types of crime, there needs to be certain types of accountability," he said. "In his case, he needs to serve his complete life term for what has transpired.
Original Print Headline: Panel seeks parole in crossbow homicide
Cary Aspinwall 918-581-8477
Jimmie Dean Stohler: The ex-cop is serving a life sentence for murder and conspiracy in the 1982 slaying of Michele Rae Powers.