October 31, 2019
Chase Horn

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – In early September, Joseph Stephens took off before a Cleveland County jury found him guilty of two counts of forcible sodomy and one count of lewd acts with a child.

The jury recommended a 139-year sentence for Stephens. He was found a week later hiding with his wife in a hotel room, and Thursday, a judge agreed with the jury sentencing Stephens to the full 139 years in prison.

A decision his brother-in-law says was a long time coming.

“Justice was served today,” Thomas Steadham told News 4. “You can’t do what this man did to children and get away with it, and that’s what the judge said.”

The sentence is 20 years for each forcible sodomy count, and 99 years for the lewd acts with a child.

The sentences will run concurrently, meaning Stephens will serve a maximum of 99 years in prison. The judge said she made that decision, because she didn’t want anyone to think she was sentencing Stephens out of anger because he ran.

Before the judge made her decision, Stephens was allowed to make a statement.

In the statement, he demanded a retrial because he said his lawyer didn’t have his best interests in mind. He also accused Steadham of jury tampering, saying he “would be in the parking lot where the jury was directed to park, speaking to anyone that would listen.”

He also accused his brother-in-law of “contacting the news with made up stories.”

Steadham says he stands by everything he’s said.

“Typical Joey Stephens. He’s a sociopath, a pathological liar and obviously a horrible, horrible, despicable monster that’s never going to harm another child again for the rest of his life,” Steadham said. “Everything I said is true. Absolutely everything, and we just found out a bunch more. We’re really happy about the verdict.”

The Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office says it's happy with the decision, and this is proof the jury did its job.

“I feel good about the fact that a jury of 12 people, neutral and objective that have never heard or been involved in this case, got to hear that evidence first hand,” 1st Assistant DA Travis White said. “They got to make a decision, not only make a decision, but make a decision beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Stephens was guilty of those charges.”

Stephens' request for a new trial was denied, but he plans to appeal.

His wife Tiffany was also sentenced Thursday. The same judge gave her 20 years in prison for enabling the sexual abuse of a child.


Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.

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