As the first of three drugs were pumped into his system, Bigler Jobe “Bud” Stouffer II, 79, spoke with his spiritual advisor, at one point visibly laughing and smiling as his execution was carried out on Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
A day before becoming the second person to be executed by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections this year, Stouffer told The Frontier he was at peace with his upcoming death.
Stouffer’s last words on Thursday before the execution were “My request is that my Father forgive them, thank you.”
By 10:03 a.m., about two minutes after the process began, Stouffer’s eyes closed and a few quick puffs of breath escaped from his lips. His breathing deepened, with his chest rising and falling every three seconds. He was ruled unconscious by 10:06 a.m. By 10:09 a.m., he was no longer breathing.
At 10:16 a.m., Stouffer was ruled deceased.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow told reporters afterward there had been no complications with the process. Stouffer’s execution differed greatly from that of John Marion Grant, who was put to death in October. Crow also told reporters Grant’s execution had been done without complication, though media witnesses reported the condemned man had convulsed and vomited on himself during the process.
There were no such incidents with Stouffer, who appeared to die peacefully.
Stouffer was convicted in 1985 of killing Linda Reaves and shooting Doug Ivens, who survived. Stouffer claimed that someone else killed Reaves and that he shot Ivens in self defense after Ivens pulled a gun on him. Prosecutors said at trial that Stouffer asked Ivens for his gun, then shot him with it, calling it “almost a perfect crime.”
The shooting and Stouffer’s first trial happened before DNA evidence was available to prosecutors, and then-Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy said that, by borrowing the gun, Stouffer had almost gotten away with murder.
But Ivens lived and told police Stouffer had shot him.
Stouffer’s original conviction was thrown out after a federal court ruled he had received ineffective assistance of counsel. He was found guilty and sentenced to death again at a second trial in 2003.
A day before his execution, Stouffer spoke with The Frontier, repeating his claim that he was innocent of killing Reaves, but saying he was “at peace” with his death and was pleased Gov. Kevin Stitt had not granted him clemency.
The state’s Pardon and Parole Board recommended Stouffer’s sentence be changed to life without parole following the complicated execution of Grant in October. But Stouffer told The Frontier that life without parole was “worse than the death penalty.”
“They’re supposed to execute me at 10 o’clock in the morning and I’m at perfect peace about that because if the Lord’s through with me in this assignment then I’ll go home and be with Him,” Stouffer told The Frontier. “I would like to be able to prove my innocence while I’m alive but I think it will be proven later while I’m not alive.”
Following the execution, Rodney Thompson, Reaves’ cousin, read a statement to reporters, saying that “the law of the land (had been) carried out.”
“Linda’s sister, Dana, and her family can finally get on with their lives without fear,” Thompson said. Ivens, who survived the shooting but died years ago, had returned to Reaves’ grave every year to place a Christmas tree, he said.
“We pray the Ivens family, who has also lived in fear of (Stouffer) ever since, can now find peace. Although long in coming, justice has prevailed,” Thompson said.
Stouffer had been in prison since 1985, and at 79 years old, he was the oldest prisoner on death row, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Stouffer will be Oklahoma’s last execution in 2021. Wade Greely Lay, convicted alongside his son of first-degree murder and attempted robbery with a firearm for the killing of Kenneth Anderson, a security guard, during a bank robbery in Tulsa in 2004, was set to be executed Jan. 6. But a court issued a stay in his execution in order to hold a mental competency hearing.
The state’s next scheduled execution is for Donald Grant on Jan. 27. Grant was convicted of killing two women, Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith, in 2006. Grant appeared before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month for a clemency hearing, but the board did not forward a clemency recommendation to the governor in his case.