DENVER — A man who claims jury tampering led to him being sentenced to die for the murder of a Putnam City teacher is getting an opportunity to avoid execution.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday told a judge in Oklahoma City to determine whether improper communication with a juror influenced the sentence imposed on Bigler Jobe Stouffer II.
That determination could be the key to Stouffer's attempt to overturn his conviction and death sentence.
Stouffer was convicted of first-degree murder and shooting with the intent to kill in a 1985 attack against his girlfriend's estranged husband, Doug Ivens, and Ivens' girlfriend, Putnam City teacher Linda Reaves. Ivens was wounded but survived, but Reaves was killed. Stouffer received the death penalty for Reaves' slaying and life in prison for the attack on Ivens.
Ivens and his wife were pursuing divorce proceedings, and Stouffer was dating Ivens' wife.
Judges of the Denver-based appeals court ruled 3-0 that a hearing is necessary on Stouffer's claim that a juror's husband influenced the 2003 verdict. The appellate judges instructed U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron in Oklahoma City to conduct the hearing to determine whether the jury's impartiality was compromised.