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Prosecutors Appeal Ruling that Threw out Alleged Wife Killer Stobaugh's Conviction

Prosecutors who saw the conviction of an alleged wife killer overturned are not giving up their effort to put him back in prison.
Prosecutors who saw the conviction of an alleged wife killer overturned are not giving up their effort to put him back in prison.

Victim Kathy Stobaugh's father says he's very glad prosecutors are appealing because there's no doubt in his mind that the last person to see his daughter, Charles Stobaugh, is guilty of murder.

Denton County prosecutors have filed a petition for review of the 2nd Court of Appeals ruling in January that threw out the conviction of Stobaugh.

He was sentenced to 25 years for the murder of his wife, Kathy, a former Nocona school teacher, even though her body was never found.

But, two years later, he's out of prison. The Sanger man's murder conviction was overturned for lack of physical evidence, including a body or DNA.

Kathy vanished in late December, 2004 on the eve of their divorce as she was preparing for another school semester in Nocona.

Her car was found at Charles' farm. The primary point in the the request for a review of the Court of Appeals ruling is the so called 13th juror argument.

Prosecutors say the appeals court erred by inserting itself as a juror and, considering whether a murder had been proven, instead of determining if a rational jury could determine a murder had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

They also point out they're not required to produce a body or the method used to kill someone to obtain a conviction.

They say the totality of evidence, including Stobaugh luring Kathy to his farm, previous threats he made, and his inconsistent statements and conduct after her disappearance were enough for a reasonable jury to determine he killed his wife and hid her body.

Prosecutors also say there was his fear of losing his property in a divorce settlement, a dollar amount Kathy's father says would have been much cheaper for Stobaugh to just pay.

Kathy's father, James Munday, said, "She asked him for $100,000. She's already collected, in a round about way, a lot more than $100,000 in the process of this whole deal it's cost him more than $100,000. If the devil works and lets him loose, I just hope and pray they find something later on down the road."

If the Criminal Court of Appeals affirms the 2nd Court's ruling, Stobaugh will be released from any future criminal prosecution.
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