A judge Friday ruled a Nichols Hills physician was insane when he fatally stabbed his 9-year-old son in 2009 and attacked his wife when she tried to intervene.
Dr. Stephen Paul Wolf, 52, was acquitted on the insanity ground of first-degree murder and assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
“I hope that at some time you're able to have some measure of peace in your life. God have mercy on you,” Oklahoma County District Judge Don Deason said.
Wolf will be sent to the state mental hospital in Vinita. He could be there for the rest of his life. Another hearing will be held within 45 days.
The judge has the final say on when and if he is released.
“He states that he was feeling that he was the devil and that his son, Tommy, was the son of the devil and that being the son of the devil is the worst evil there is and he had to release his son from that evil,” a University of Oklahoma psychiatrist, David H. Tiller, reported.
The psychiatrist prepared a report for Wolf's attorney, Mack Martin. A Texas psychologist, Robert D. Morgan, examined Wolf for prosecutors. Both experts agreed he did not know at the time of the stabbing that his actions were wrong. Both said he has experienced remorse and grief after he realized what he had done.
Prosecutors agreed with the experts' conclusion. The judge ruled after reviewing both reports.
“It seems that everyone involved in this does not think that you need to be punished for this crime,” the judge told Wolf. “Personally, I will say that I cannot imagine any punishment that could be inflicted on you that could be worse than what you may do to yourself every day for the rest of your life. And, I'm very sorry, sir.”
Wolf wept as the judge spoke.
“It's one of the most horrendous, unimaginable crime scenes,” Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Lavenue said afterward.
Wolf stabbed his son at their $500,000 home shortly before 4 a.m. Nov. 16, 2009. He repeatedly told the police officer who broke up the attack, “He's got the devil in him, and you know it,” according to a police affidavit.
His wife, Mary Wolf, suffered cuts to her hands and face. She was making a 911 call during the attack. On the 911 call, police officer Michael Puckett can be heard yelling, “Put your hands behind your … back now!”
The doctor can be heard saying, “Mary, he's the devil.” Mary Wolf replies, “He's not the devil.”
The prosecutor said the doctor attacked his son at first in the boy's bedroom. She said the boy tried to get away from his father. The attack ended in the kitchen.
Important to both experts was that the doctor tried to continue the attack even after the police officer pulled him off his son. “That was something that both of the experts really, really considered in making the finding he was in a delusional stage,” Lavenue said.
She said Wolf was involved in his son's activities, and they often were seen throwing a ball around in their front yard.
The experts' reports reveal Wolf decided to stay with his brother two nights before the attack because of his delusions. On the night of the attack, he was at first at his parents' house but had his wife pick him up because he could not sleep. He went to get a bowl of cereal at some point in the morning. He told both experts he could not remember clearly what happened during the attack. He fell asleep in a police squad car after his arrest, according to one report.
“He does wish he could trade places with his son and wishes that he had died that night and not his son, that he had turned the knife on himself,” reported Tiller, who interviewed Wolf last August.
“His delusional disorder … rendered him incapable of realizing the consequences of his actions but even more so of being able to control himself at this time,” Tiller reported. “He was suffering from a major mental illness, that being Bipolar Mood Disorder, Type 1 in a mixed manic phase with psychosis.”
Wolf described for the psychiatrist a life in turmoil in the fall of 2009.
He was facing a malpractice trial, disciplinary action at his hospital for allegedly throwing a chart at a nurse and a deteriorated marriage, according to the reports.
“Further, he was gambling,” the psychiatrist reported. “He spent and lost large sums of money gambling, depleting all of their savings and running up their credit cards to the maximum line.”
His wife has not filed for divorce but did file a civil lawsuit against him over the attack. He told the judge he is taking anti-psychotic medication and anti-depressants.