Friday, June 15, 2012

Kansas City, MO: Teresa Stone sentenced to eight years for conspiring to kill husband

A Jackson County judge sentenced Teresa Stone this afternoon to eight years in prison for her role in her husband’s death — a 2010 killing in Independence that Stone plotted with her longtime lover and minister.

For the first time, prosecutors laid out details of the case against Stone and accomplice David Love, the Baptist minister who preached part of the eulogy at Randy Stone’s memorial service. The lovers had planned to marry, prosecutors said, after Love also killed his wife. He planned to break her neck and stage a car wreck to cover it up, authorities said. That part of the plan never happened, however.

Teresa Stone admitted in April that she helped plot her husband’s shooting in his Noland Road insurance office.

Onlookers crowded the courtroom at the Jackson County Courthouse Annex to watch Circuit Court Judge Marco Roland sentence her today.

Love admitted last year that he fatally shot Randy Stone in Stone’s Noland Road insurance office. Love pleaded guilty in November to second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He is serving life in prison.

Teresa Stone, 40, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to commit murder, a class B felony, with the understanding that her maximum sentence would be 10 years.

Until today, prosecutors had not volunteered the evidence that led them to Stone and Love. Relatives of Randy Stone had pointed to a long love affair between the two. Today, prosecutors said that affair had lasted 10 years.

Prosecutors also revealed contents of emails Teresa Stone and Love had exchanged before the killing. In them, the lovers talked about their dreams, including wedding plans.

Teresa Stone, they said, had expected a large life insurance payment after her husband’s death, but he had changed the policy years earlier to give the bulk of the money to their children.

Love once was the pastor of the Stones’ Independence church.

In a self-help manual that Randy Stone routinely consulted, he identified Love as the "most influential" person in his life, and attended weekly counseling sessions with him. Stone family members have said they believed that he did not know of his wife’s affair with Love.

Love resigned as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church shortly after Independence police searched the church for evidence in Stone’s killing. Love soon moved to South Carolina and was working as a truck driver there when authorities arrested him in November 2010, after a Jackson County grand jury indicted him on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Shortly after the shooting, Teresa Stone told The Star that her husband had been “very loving” and that "he loved spending time with his family."

Love, meanwhile, told The Star that "Randy made it his business to love people and to be loved by them. He did it in a fun, loving way. He just had this magnanimity, a way of drawing people close to him."

Randy Stone, 42, had been active in the church at 18000 E. Lexington Road, including driving a Sunday school bus. Stone once led a mission trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he and a crew of volunteers helped establish a new church. Just months before his death, he and his family traveled to Argentina to bring fellowship and encouragement to another New Hope Baptist Church member who, with his family, was working to establish another church.

But Stone left the church about two weeks before he was killed, according to his mother, Clara Koehler, who said her son was apparently upset that funds raised for specific projects may not have gone to those projects. Her son, she added, had been going through a personal transition. At the time of his death, he was in the process of setting up as an independent insurance agent.

Independence police found Stone’s body in his Noland Road insurance office on March 31, 2010.

At Stone’s memorial service, Love told mourners: "We come to the word of God to try to reconcile the difference between man’s point of view that death seems so permanent and God’s point of view that death is precious.

“We sit here and we weep not just because of the separation from our loved one but because of all the questions that death brings, questions like ‘Why?’ ‘Why him? ‘Why now?’

“Without answers, death seems so cold.”

Randy and Teresa Stone, who married in 1990, had two children, Michael and Miranda.

No comments: