Who is Bigler Stouffer? Oklahoma to Execute Inmate for Teacher's Killing

Oklahoma is preparing to execute Bigler Jobe Stouffer II for the 1985 killing of a schoolteacher on Thursday.

Stouffer, 79, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 10 a.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

Executions in the state have typically been held later in the day, but Department of Corrections spokesman Josh Ward told Newsweek that Stouffer's execution "like all executions going forward, was moved to 10 a.m. for logistical reasons."

The execution would be the first in Oklahoma since John Grant vomited and convulsed after the sedative midazolam was administered during his October execution, which ended a six-year moratorium on capital punishment in the state brought on by concerns about its lethal injection protocols.

Stouffer was sentenced to death for the murder of Linda Reaves in an attack that also left her boyfriend, Doug Ivens, seriously injured, but he has always maintained his innocence.

Bigler Stouffer II
Bigler Stouffer II is set to receive a three-drug lethal injection at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, for the 1985 slaying of an Oklahoma City-area teacher. Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File

His attorneys argued that Oklahoma's current three-drug lethal injection protocol risks subjecting him to unconstitutional pain and suffering and that that he should be included in a federal lawsuit challenging the protocols with other death row plaintiffs that is set to go to trial in February.

But federal courts rejected his request for a stay. A last-minute appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court remains pending.

Oklahoma's Pardon and Parole Board last month voted against executing Stouffer, with some board members voicing concerns about the state's ability to humanely execute people, but Oklahoma's Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt rejected the board's recommendation.

Protesters are expected to gather outside the penitentiary and Stitt's mansion on Thursday morning in a final bid to urge the governor to grant Stouffer clemency.

"Regardless of one's feelings about the death penalty, no one can argue that government can be trusted to always get it right, or that capital punishment is an effective public policy," Abraham Bonowitz, the director of Death Penalty Action, told Newsweek.

Stitt did grant clemency to Julius Jones just hours before his scheduled execution last month, commuting his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, after an international outcry.

Stouffer was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to death after his first conviction and death sentence was overturned.

Prosecutors said Stouffer went to the Oklahoma City home of Doug Ivens, whose ex-wife he was dating, on January 24, 1985, to borrow a gun. They say he fatally shot Reaves and wounded Ivens to get access to Ivens' $2 million life insurance policy.

But Stouffer's attorneys have argued that he had accumulated assets of approximately $2.5 million before his arrest.

Stouffer told a parole board hearing that Reaves was dead when he arrived and that Ivens, who testified against him, was shot during a struggle over a gun.

"I was not present when Linda Reaves was shot," Stouffer told the board. "I am totally innocent of the murder of Linda Reaves and my heart goes out to the family of Linda Reaves that have suffered as a result of her murder."

Oklahoma execution chamber
This Oct. 9, 2014, file photo shows the gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo