Death Row Inmate Bigler Stouffer Was Executed Without Complications, DOC & Witnesses Say

Thursday, December 9th 2021, 5:33 pm

MCALESTER, Oklahoma -

The State of Oklahoma put Bigler Jobe Stouffer to death Thursday as punishment for the 1985 murder of Putnam City Schools teacher Linda Reaves.

It’s Oklahoma’s first execution since media witnesses reported complications in the execution of John Marion Grant on Oct. 28. 

Six weeks later, the post-execution reports from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and media witnesses agreed; there were no complications in Stouffer's execution. 

“It seemed like he went to sleep and didn’t wake up,” News 9’s Sawyer Buccy said.

She served as one of five media witnesses chosen at random.

“They asked Stouffer what his last words are. He said, ‘Father, forgive them. Thank you.’ You couldn’t hear anything else that’s going on in that room,” Buccy said.

Rev. Howard Potts stood over Stouffers feet in the execution chamber, serving as his spiritual adviser and friend of 63 years.

“He said, ‘I’m so glad this day is here,’ that’s what he told me,” Potts said. “When I finished, I said, ‘let the band start playing, let us dance with glee because of what place he’s going.’ This was his destiny. He was destined to die now."

Behind a pane of glass, witnessing the execution was the family of Linda Reaves. 

“Although long in coming, justice has prevailed,” Reaves’ cousin, Rodney Thompson, said.

Reaves was a third grade teacher at Hilldale Elementary in the Putnam City school district.

She was murdered by Stouffer at age 34. 

Stouffer was also convicted of shooting Reaves' boyfriend, Doug Ivens, and accused of staging the scene to look like a murder-suicide. However, Ivens survived the bullet to the face and testified against Stouffer.

On Thursday, Thompson thanked Gov. Kevin Stitt, who just last week denied a clemency recommendation for Stouffer. They also thanked the attorney general, prosecutors, and investigators

“The dedication of these public servants after almost 37 years of effort, to see truth prevail versus falsehoods and smokescreens that surfaced is both commendable and a tribute to justice,” Thompson said.

Stouffer maintained his innocence. In an interview on Wednesday, he said he rather be executed than spend the rest of his life in prison.