OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt is reversing course, now saying he will not grant parole to Jimmie Stohler, a former Tulsa police officer who murdered a woman with a crossbow in 1982.
Stitt changed his mind, deciding not to parole Stohler, after receiving information from the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office that was not previously available to him, according to a letter from Trevor Pemberton, Stitt’s General Counsel, to Tom Bates, Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board Director.
It was announced Wednesday that Stitt had signed off on paroling 69-year-old Stohler. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended Stohler for clemency in March 2022.
Stohler was found guilty of the 1982 murder of Michele Powers, a 30-year-old mother.
Powers was shot in the chest with a poison-tip arrow from a crossbow just outside of her Tulsa apartment.
Tulsa County assistant district attorneys John Tjeerdsma and Matt Kehoe sent a letter to Stitt on Thursday, providing facts regarding Stohler’s long-thought-out plan to murder Powers, saying he joked for years about killing her, often spoke about wanting her dead and that he investigated different methods by which to kill her, searched for someone else to kill her and meticulously prepared to commit the murder himself.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office’s letter to Stitt is shared below.
The Rev. Cece Jones-Davis, an advocate for former high-profile death row inmate Julius Jones, criticized Stitt’s decision to reverse course. She criticized Stitt on Wednesday for paroling Stohler, but not Jones. Stitt commuted Jones’ death sentence in November to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“Many incarcerated Oklahomans deserve a second chance. What the Governor just did to Jimmie Dean Stohler and continues to do to Julius Jones and his family is unconscionable. Kevin Stitt’s political games are costing people their lives,” Jones-Davis, of the Julius Jones Coalition, said.