Thursday, February 18, 2010

Zionsville, IN man pleads guilty to bashing death of ex-wife, sentenced to 43 years

(Original Post 12-21-09)

A Zionsville, Indiana man was given a plea deal by Boone County, IN prosecutors Thursday, December 17 in the slaying of his ex-wife on June 11, 2009 because the price of getting a murder conviction would be making their 5 year old son testify about the night his father bashed his mother's head in. 32 year old Michael Stayer pled guilty to the charges in exchange for a 43 year prison sentence in the Indiana Department Of Corrections.

According to Stayer's confession, he and the victim, his ex-wife, got into an argument at her Whitestown apartment. While he was in their daughter's bedroom, he said, Beth Stayer charged at him with a hammer, which he took from her and proceeded to use on her as their son watched.

Prosecutors said Beth Stayer also was beaten with a metal can and other objects for approximately five minutes. Leaving his ex-wife in a pool of blood on the floor, Stayer called 911. Beth Stayer was rushed to Methodist Hospital, where she died the next day.

The Stayers, divorced for less than two months at the time of the slaying, had marital trobles, and Michael had stalked and threatened his wife. Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer said "The cost to get a murder conviction was too great. In order to get the murder conviction, we would have to call Carson Stayer as a witness. . . . Making him relive the crime is too significant of a burden to put on a 5-year-old child."

Ned Masbaum, forensic psychologist, said that testiying against his father "could be more harmful to Carson by his feeling more unrealistic guilt and depression. He is too young to be able to put his role as a witness into the concept of justice for his mother."

Stayer also made a deal with the Indiana Department of Child Services for his parental; rights not to be terminated in exchange for Carson and his 2 year old sister Ashleigh to continue to live with the victim's father. Boone Circuit Judge Steve David will formally sentence Stayer on February 17. Stayer is expected to become parole-eligible in 2030.

(Update 2-18-10) Sentencing, as expected, took place yesterday for Stayer. Stayer will serve 43 years in the custody of the Indiana Department Of Corrections. Judge David said that "Your lack of remorse is disturbing to me. It's appalling, if not shocking...Your children may never fully recover from your reckless act of violence. Innocent people have been affected by your actions."

Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer said that "I don't think he's in touch with the reality of what he's done and what he's done to his family."  Sheriff Ken Campbell said that when he transported Stayer to the courthouse, he was making small talk with the guards. Campbell said Stayer would be placed in the custody of the Indiana Department Of Corrections as soon as possible because "I don't want him in my jail."

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