DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A convicted murderer in Denton County has now been acquitted and is now a free man. Nearly a decade after the wife of Charles Stobaugh was presumed dead, a panel of judges overturned his conviction in the case.
Charles Stobaugh hugged his children as he walked out of jail today. “I am a little relieved. Yes, I am,” said Stobaugh, while walking arm in arm with the two children he shared with his wife, Kathy Stobaugh. When asked what was going through his mind, Stobaugh said, “I want to get home,” and described the past three years as “a real experience.”
In 2011, a jury found Stobaugh guilty of killing his estranged wife and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Kathy disappeared seven years earlier, in 2004, a day before the couple’s divorce was to be finalized. Her body was never found, and a panel of judges cited that fact, plus a lack of evidence connecting Charles to the presumed murder, to overturn his conviction.
The decision came down just days ago, and Stobaugh was released from prison Thursday afternoon hours after he attended a bond hearing where Denton County judge Bruce McFarling ordered him to pay a $25,000 bond, wear a GPS monitoring device and stay in Denton, Tarrant or Cook counties.
Kathy’s brother, Charles Munday, attended the hearing and still believes Charles is a guilty man.
“It’s disheartening, but the DA is going to fight it, and hopefully will send a good message,” said Munday. “Hopefully, it will get overturned and he’ll go back. That way, it will state that you can’t get away with murder as long as you hide the body well.”
But Stobaugh’s children are supporting their dad and happy that one of their parents is coming home. “He’s a strong guy. I look up to him, always have,” said 22-year-old Tom Stobaugh.
Daughter Charee Humphreys, 26, said, “It’s been a long time. Just put yourself in my shoes and tell me what you think.”
Denton County District Attorney office spokesperson Jamie Beck says prosecutors will more than likely file an appeal, but they will take their time before making a decision. The appeal must be filed within 30 days.
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