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Denton Co. Man Gets 25 Years For Killing Wife; Body Not Found

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News
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Charles Stobaugh was found guilty of killing his estranged wife in 2004. (credit: KTVT/KTXA)

Charles Stobaugh was found guilty of killing his estranged wife in 2004. (credit: KTVT/KTXA)

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DENTON COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – A 56-year-old Sanger man is headed to prison for murdering his estranged wife in December 2004.

Despite the fact that Kathy Stobaugh’s body has never been found, on Friday a Denton County jury sentenced Charles Stobaugh to 25 years behind bars for killing her.

It was the final outcome of a three-week long murder trial.

Six years after the murder Stobaugh will pay for the crime he committed. “He’s going to have a tough time,” said Kathy’s older brother, Mark Munday. “Because he’s used to freedom and his freedom will stop.”

Stobaugh won’t be the only one in prison though, the Munday’s said they’ve been suffering through emotional confinement since the mother of two disappeared. “He done away with the kids’ mother,” said Kathy’s father, James Munday. “He done away with my daughter and their sister.”

Kathy’s younger brother, Chris Munday, said, “His family, who choose to visit him, still get to visit him. We can’t visit Kathy.”

While the Munday’s hoped for a life sentence, Stobaugh’s defense attorney was disappointed with the conviction given the lack of physical evidence. “There was no body, no body parts, no confession, no forensic evidence,” said defense attorney Darrell Comer. “One of the cornerstones of our legal system is the presumption of innocence. We’ve eroded that away to the point it is guilty until proven innocent.”

Prosecuting attorney Susan Piel, said, “I think the jury absolutely gave him the presumption of innocence at the beginning of the trial.”

Although Kathy’s body was never found, Piel said the circumstances all pointed to murder and to Stobaugh.

The couple was in the midst of a bitter divorce when Kathy vanished in December 2004. She was just hours away from filing divorce papers that would guarantee her whatever she wanted in the separation. “If there was one lynch pin that’s it,” Piel said, “he calls her over there, she goes over there, her car is there, and no one ever hears from her again.”

Stobaugh will have to serve at least half of his 25-year prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole. His defense attorney says they plan to appeal.

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