OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday reversed his week-old decision to grant parole to a former Tulsa police officer convicted of murder.
Jimmie Dean Stohler, 69, was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder and murder solicitation convictions. He was found guilty of killing Michele Rae Powers, 30, in 1982 with a poison-tipped crossbow arrow.
Stohler had been eligible for release as soon as Friday after Stitt’s April 22 decision, the Tulsa World reported. The decision resulted in severe criticism from Powers’ family and prosecutors, who learned of the parole only when the newspaper’s reporter contacted them.
“He turned a murderer out — someone who committed murder with a crossbow. He stalked her for four months,” said Rochelle Ruth, Powers’ twin sister. “I’m just sick, absolutely sick. I voted for him. How could a governor do that?”
In a letter dated Thursday, Stitt’s general counsel Trevor Pemberton said the governor reconsidered his parole decision after receiving material from the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office “that was not previously available to this office.”
Also charged with murder in the case was Robert Doss, another former police officer and one of Stohler’s best friends who was Power’s ex-boyfriend. Doss lost a custody dispute with Powers over their 4-year-old son, and Powers told her sister that she feared for her life.
“When she got visitation with her son, and she walked out of the courtroom, she said to me: ‘Bob’s going to kill me over this,’” Ruth told the World.
Doss was acquitted, however.