In a shocking case that has gripped the community of Darby, Montana, Anne Marie Stout has been convicted of the deliberate homicide of her husband, William Stout. Following a three-week trial in 2008, Stout was found guilty of shooting her husband in the head while he slept on June 10, 2007. This article will delve into the details of the case, the conviction, and the subsequent legal proceedings surrounding Anne Stout’s life sentence for the murder of her husband.
Details In Short:
- Date: June 10, 2007.
- Location: Darby, Montana.
- Victim: William Stout, Anne Stout’s husband.
- Accused: Anne Marie Stout.
- Trial Duration: Three weeks in 2008.
- Motive: Husband’s affair and deteriorating marriage.
- Evidence: William Stout shot with his own pistol found in motorcycle saddlebag.
- Key Evidence: Latex glove with gunshot residue and Anne Stout’s DNA found in laundry hamper with pistol’s holster. Handwritten note on firing similar pistol found in nightstand.
- Verdict: Guilty of murder after less than six hours of jury deliberation.
- Sentencing: Life in prison by Judge Jeffrey Langton in September 2008.
- Appeal: Anne Stout appealed, citing trial and sentencing issues.
- Supreme Court Decision: Conviction upheld, Montana Supreme Court ruled judge acted properly.
The Trial and Conviction
After an extensive trial that lasted three weeks, Anne Stout was found guilty of murdering her husband, William Stout, in their Darby home. The evidence presented during the trial painted a grim picture of the events leading up to the murder. Anne Stout’s motive for the crime stemmed from her discovery of her husband’s short-term affair with a woman from Arkansas, which led to a deteriorating marriage.
Investigators discovered startling evidence that pointed to Anne Stout’s involvement in the murder. William Stout was killed with his own pistol, which was found in the saddlebag of his motorcycle in the garage. Furthermore, a latex glove with gunshot residue on the outside and Anne Stout’s DNA on the inside was found in the same laundry hamper where the pistol’s holster was discovered. A note in Anne Stout’s handwriting containing instructions on how to fire a pistol similar to the one used in the crime was found in her nightstand.
The jury deliberated for less than six hours before delivering the guilty verdict, and Anne Stout was sentenced to life in prison by Ravalli County District Judge Jeffrey Langton in September 2008. During the sentencing hearing, Stout’s lack of remorse and her history of tormenting her husband through a campaign of vindictive actions were highlighted as aggravating factors.
Legal Proceedings and Supreme Court Affirmation
Following her conviction, Anne Stout appealed the decision, citing various issues with the trial and sentencing. Stout claimed that Judge Langton had improperly allowed the jury access to certain reports, admitted evidence inappropriately, and refused to suppress evidence obtained through a search warrant. However, the Montana Supreme Court upheld Stout’s conviction and ruled that Judge Langton had acted properly in addressing the issues raised during the trial.
In addition to the conviction, Stout was ordered to pay $57,127 in court costs incurred during the trial. However, the Supreme Court remanded this portion of the sentence back to Judge Langton’s court to determine additional attorney costs incurred by Stout during the appeal process.
Public Reaction and Family’s Testimony
The case garnered significant public attention, and emotions ran high during the trial and subsequent sentencing. Stout’s family members, including her son, mother, and brother, pleaded for leniency and a chance for her to seek parole in the future. They maintained their belief in Stout’s innocence and described her as a good individual who had endured a terrible ordeal.
However, the court’s decision stood firm, emphasizing the severity of the crime and the need for Stout to face the consequences of her actions. Judge Langton highlighted Stout’s lack of emotion and her extensive planning leading up to the murder, stating that her rehabilitation would require significant soul-searching and mental health work.
In conclusion, the case of Anne Stout, the Montana woman convicted of murdering her husband, William Stout, is a tragic and unsettling example of domestic violence and betrayal. The evidence presented during the trial overwhelmingly pointed to Anne as the perpetrator of this heinous crime. The discovery of her husband’s pistol, the latex glove with her DNA, and the incriminating note all provided compelling proof of her guilt.
The motive behind the murder, the revelation of William’s affair, shed light on the depths of Anne’s despair and her subsequent actions to deceive her family. Her elaborate scheme to make them believe they were being stalked by the other woman revealed a disturbed and calculated mind. Furthermore, the substantial life insurance policy and valuable real estate that Anne stood to benefit from added a chilling financial motive to the crime.