Thursday, March 11th, 2010
Max sentence set in stalking case
Mercer County Common Pleas Court
By Margie Wuebker
Steven W. Shoupp, who was sentenced Wednesday in Mercer County Common Pleas Court for charges of menacing by stalking, said the actions that led to his arrest were merely attempts aimed at taking photographs to support allegations of infidelity in his pending divorce case.
The 54-year-old Celina man, who formerly resided at 1523 Irmscher Blvd., directed the comments to Judge Jeffrey Ingraham and not his wife of seven years seated with family and friends. He never turned to face her and looked straight ahead as she tearfully begged the judge to impose the maximum sentence allowed by law.
Ingraham did just that, ordering Shoupp to serve consecutive six-month sentences at the Mercer County Adult Detention Center for misdemeanor charges of aggravated menacing and menacing by stalking. The defendant, who requested leniency because he is completing a degree in education and hopes to do his student teaching soon, received credit for 204 days served in the wake of his Aug. 19 arrest. The judge suspended 120 days of the remaining 156.
Ingraham also granted a civil protection order for the victim. Defense attorney Kenneth J. Rexford asked the judge to read the four-page document so Shoupp would understand the restrictions about having no contact whatsoever with the victim or three other named individuals during a five-year period ending March 10, 2015.
Shoupp eagerly addressed the court when asked for comments, calling the opportunity "a time to get out my side of the story" and "a time to clear my name" and adding he has become the subject of gossip in Mercer and Auglaize counties.
Admitting to bad decisions and poor judgment, he touched on his efforts to get "proof" of alleged marital infidelity and the effect dredging up the past has had on his life. Unable to hire a private detective due to financial constraints, he purchased several disposable cameras and set out to take photographs, he said.
Shoupp, who pleaded no contest to the charges, reportedly followed the victim to a St. Marys restaurant Aug. 18 and watched through a window as she dined with a friend. Court records also indicate he drove past her residence several times the following day and parked at a nearby professional office. He returned later and stood across the street as she left the house, reportedly assuring her everything would be over sooner than she suspected and then using a finger in a slashing motion across his throat.
While admitting he did come by the house several times to take photographs of a car in the driveway, Shoupp indicated he was not in Celina when some of the other incidents allegedly occurred.
The victim told Ingraham the episodes that brought her to court have been mentally, physically and emotionally draining.
"I'm scared for my life," she said. "I'll always be looking over my shoulder."
She stated their marriage was based on "a lot of lies and deceit." Shoupp reportedly admitted being married before but said his wife died in a traffic accident. However, authorities in Colorado continue to investigate her suspicious disappearance 19 years ago and consider him a person of interest in the unsolved case.
Cold case investigator Bruce Isaacson came from Littleton, Colo., as a witness for the state at Shoupp's Feb. 4 trial. However, the proceeding was postponed when the defendant requested six more people be added to the list of defense witnesses. Isaacson provided a deposition for court purposes at the time so he would not have to come back. The trial never occurred because Shoupp accepted a plea bargain Feb. 25.
In keeping with that negotiated agreement not to argue at the time of sentencing, Fox called Shoupp's actions calculated and precise.
"He knows what he's doing today," Fox said. "And he knows what he was doing on Aug. 19, 2009."