Although no details of the altercation between Stidham and Staats were revealed in court this morning, Stidham’s attorney, Knox County Public Defender Bruce Malek described what led to Staats’ death.

“There was a very sizable arguement that occured that day where Mr. Staats had stated he was going to kill everybody in the house,” said Bruce Malek, Knox County Public Defender that represented John Stidham.

According to Malek, Staats retrieved a gun from Stidham’s car and proceeded to fire shots at Stidham. An altercation followed.

Although the preliminary autopsy report confirmed Staats suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the torse and neck, Stidham never admits to the shooting.

Malek said Stidham “indicated he didn’t have any specific recollection of firing the gun.”

Malek said he does not believe anyone else was involved in Staats’ death.

Knox County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Springer does not anticipate any other individuals will be prosecuted in this case.



Joshua Morrison: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @


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9 Responses to “Argument led to gunshots and fight”

  1. Miriam StJean

    @ chad – you nailed it – Thatcher  screwed up – he'[s trying to cover it up under the guise of “plea bargain” – an investigation needs to be launched and he needs to be removed from such a position of trust before he “plea bargains” more murderers into our community

  2. chad

    Prosecutor failed to file proper paperwork concerning Stidham’s right to a speedy trial.  There was no waiver filed.  This was a hurried deal that was meant to cover up Thatcher’s mistake.  Public defender knew Thatcher screwed up and so he got a stupendously sweet deal for his client.  Can’t believe that Thatcher’s office and the courts think we’re actually dumb enough to buy this BS story they’re putting out.  Once the assailant has been shot and is on the ground paralyzed, he’s no longer a threat.  Any additional shots and the plastic bag are no longer even CLOSE to being self-defense.  Total BS.  Please follow through with an Attorney General complaint to launch an investigation into this.

  3. Gary Staats

    Never was self defense…..cold blooded murder. You said it so well. “INTENT”.  Planed out. His intentions was to KILL/MURDER. We will be asking the Attorney General to investigate. Top it off, not one phone call to not even one family member. Kept off the Court docket…MUM, Kept the records in the Judge’s clerks office so nobody could even come in and read the records. Hows that for justice? No, as stated: Lots of crime all around Stidham, stold and sold heavy equipment…wonder who bought dozers and front end loaders? who “BIG did he snitch on to get such a deal? The family was prevented from giving an impact statement too…..Stevie Wonder could see what went on here. And now the family has to open probate just to retrieve all Raymonds personal belongings???? when we can deal with all that without probate. Raymond’s personal property was taken to Stidhams after Stidham Murdered Raymond…by the person who reported him missing. Way more to this and we intend to find out what is being covered up……at what ever costs. We will write who ever we have to to have this investigated. They will get tired of us…we are many. A Grand Jury should have decided this. A Bill Of Information behind closed doors.

  4. restless 5

    Nobody deserves to die the way Staats did.  “Staats retrieved a gun from Stidham’s car and proceeded to fire shots at Stidham.” (with his own gun?).  I think Stidham is a liar and if this had gone to a grand jury (like it should have) the charge would have been MURDER.  

  5. Esmond Neal

    This whole thing is Bs and fighting that “Plea Agreement” should be on the minds of anyone who loved Raymond or sees a injustice.. A plastic bag over anyone’s head in a case involving death implies “intent”…intent to kill…not defend from. That is murder! And if Raymond was paralized or rendered helpless by a spine injury from a gun shot….how does self defense come in when he was asphixiated aftwerwords. Who is Stidham snitching on and why are they so important? And this NEVER MADE IT TO A GRAND JURY……WHY?

  6. Guest

    Apparently the MV News brooks no criticism of Knox county courts.

  7. dowensdlegg

    why was his family and loved ones not told about this hearing ? we had no chance to do a impact statement , This is the meaning of his sentence …..2125.01 Action for wrongful death.
    When the death of a person is caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person who would have been liable if death had not ensued, or the administrator or executor of the estate of such person, as such administrator or executor, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured and although the death was caused under circumstances which make it aggravated murder, murder, or manslaughter. When the action is against such administrator or executor, the damages recovered shall be a valid claim against the estate of such deceased person. No action for the wrongful death of a person may be maintained against the owner or lessee of the real property upon which the death occurred if the cause of the death was the violent unprovoked act of a party other than the owner, lessee, or a person under the control of the owner or lessee, unless the acts or omissions of the owner, lessee, or person under the control of the owner or lessee constitute gross negligence.When death is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default in another state or foreign country, for which a right to maintain an action and recover damages is given by a statute of such other state or foreign country, such right of action may be enforced in this state. Every such action shall be commenced within the time prescribed for the commencement of such actions by the statute of such other state or foreign country.The same remedy shall apply to any such cause of action now existing and to any such action commenced before January 1, 1932, or attempted to be commenced in proper time and now appearing on the files of any court within this state, and no prior law of this state shall prevent the maintenance of such cause of action.  John shot him many times ,placed a bag on his head ,and put him in a septic tank for 2  1/2 years but he isn’t charged with Murder ????  THIS IS NOT RIGHT TO HIS FAMILY AND LOVED ONES WE MISS HIM AND LOVE HIM .