JOPLIN, Mo. – The jury finds Stephen Thompson guilty of first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, and first-degree domestic assault.
He’s convicted of shooting and killing Carissa Gerard and critically injuring Kristina Dines (Thompson), his estranged wife at the time of the crime.
The defense argued for second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder. The jury reached the verdict this afternoon, Sept. 23, at 2:10 p.m. and was discharged at 2:19 p.m.
Stephen Thompson is no longer entitled to bond.
The court has scheduled potential sentencing for October 29, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.
Trial Day 4
On day four of the Stephen Thompson trial, both the State and Defense gave their closing arguments.
The State opened its final arguments with a quote from Thompson, “I can be your best friend or your worst enemy.” On June 9, 2015, the prosecutor argues, Thompson decided he was going to kill Kristina and Carissa. The prosecution says he slept on the decision at his mother’s where he knew he could get a gun. He asked her to wake him up early because he had somewhere to be. The State noted that he got off the turnpike realizing he needed to get ammo on the way to Joplin because he had none. When he arrived at the house and saw his estranged wife wasn’t there, he drove around Joplin for two hours waiting.
The prosecution’s closing remarks continued. When Kristina got home, he parked in front of the drive and walked up “calm, cool, and collected” as Thompson stated to police when he was questioned. The prosecutor pointed out that Thompson thought about killing the dogs in this way, but when he realized they were scared with their tails between their legs, he didn’t. The State told jurors that this was not a man in a crazed mindset, he was deliberate in his actions that he was going to kill the two women.
The prosecutor ended their final statement with a powerful video referring to their opening statement, “I can be your best friend or your worst enemy.” That quote was from interrogation between police and Thompson following the attack on his estranged wife and her new lover.
The defense then gave its closing statements. They started with the story of an assassination attempt made on Ronald Reagan by a man with schizophrenia and auditory hallucinations. The defense’s objective was to point out that even a man not in control of all his faculties has the ability to plan out an attack. Therefore, the defense argues, Thompson’s attack can not be deliberate because he wasn’t in control of himself. They say he had just been injured, lost his job and had money issues.
The defense argues that the Facebook post made by his ex, Kristina, sent him over the edge by saying she was now a lesbian and done with her ex. Thompson was quoted saying, “she was laying in my spot, and that pissed me off.” The defense believes the only reason he was so blunt and brutal in the way he spoke about the situation is because he is a macho type and unable to express his feelings in a healthy manner.
The defense ended by asking for second-degree murder instead of first-degree based on any reasonable doubt that he wasn’t completely sane.
The prosecution got a final rebuttal, saying, “We do not get to kill because life gets hard. We do not get to kill because our wife cheats on us.”
The jury started deliberating at 12:13 p.m.
Trial Day 3
The defense called several witnesses to the stand today. KOAM’s Derrick Knitig was in the courtroom.
Trial Day 2 of Stephen Thompson
Tuesday, September 21st, 2021, was day two of the trial. KOAM’s Ty Parks is in the courtroom. Kristina Dines (formerly Thompson) took the stand as well as Detective Justin Barnett, who interviewed Stephen Thompson several times after the crime.
You can read more about day two of testimony here.
Trial Day 1 of Stephen Thompson
Representing the State is Theresa Kenney, Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney, and by Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Kimberly Fisher and Michael Schafer.
Thompson appeared in the custody of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department and with attorneys Thomas Jacquinot, Pat Berrigan, and Devon Passley.
Prosecutors announced that it was withdrawing its request for the death penalty. Around 10:03 a.m., a jury of 12 and two alternates took their seats. The court read them their opening instructions.
The State and Defense gave their opening statements.
The rest of day one consisted of the state presenting evidence against Thompson.
On June 10th, 2015, Joplin police responded to 4215 W. 26th Place. They found Carissa Gerard dead and Kristina Thompson critically injured, both from gunshot wounds. Police arrested Stephen at the home.
While at the home, court documents say Stephen Thompson then shot his estranged wife, Kristina Thompson, numerous times while she was fleeing from him. Emergency personnel took her to the hospital in critical condition. She survived her wounds.
Documents listed the Thompsons and Gerard all three living at that address at the time of the crime. In 2015, authorities told KOAM and FOX 14 that they believed the incident was the result of an estranged relationship between husband and wife.
Stephen Thompson’s Criminal History
Authorities say Stephen Thompson has a history of criminal violence. Records show he had served prison time for writing bad checks and was on parole after 2006. Authorities have investigated multiple reports of violence in the home, including a case in 2013 when Stephen Thompson allegedly choked his wife and stabbed her half-brother.
Previous Articles on Stephen Thompson
- Special Report: A Survivor’s Story
- Pre-trial hearing set for 2015 Joplin murder case
- Thompson formally charged with 1st Degree Murder
- Thompson bound over; Next court date August 24th
Missouri crime updates can be found on Missouri Case Net.
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