He Killed a Man Who 'Pleaded for His Life' 26 Years Ago — And Was Caught After Husband Secretly Helped Police

Timothy Stephenson pled guilty to second-degree murder in the 1998 killing of Randal Oliphant, per authorities

<p>Getty Images</p> Crime scene tape

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Crime scene tape
  • Randal Oliphant, 26, went missing after leaving a Kansas City bar in 1998, police say

  • Timothy Stephenson told his husband that he fatally shot Oliphant after the two left a bar together more than two decades ago

  • Stephenson's husband later assisted police by secretly recording a conversation between the two, court records show

A California man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a man who was last seen leaving a gay bar with him in Missouri 26 years ago, authorities say.

Timothy Stephenson, now in his early 50s, was sentenced to 16 years in prison by a Benton County, Miss., judge last week for the 1998 murder of Randal Oliphant, online court records show.

Oliphant, 26, was last seen with Stephenson in Kansas City in January of 1998, investigators say, the Kansas City Star and SF Gate report. Oliphant was reported missing by his mother that year, SF Gate reports.

Two months later, Oliphant’s body was found by two fishermen in a rural area about 100 miles away from Kansas City, SF Gate and the Kansas City Star report, citing authoritiesHe died from gunshot wounds, according to an autopsy cited by SF Gate.

While police kept an eye on Stephenson — who had been identified by the bartender as the last person seen with Oliphant — they reportedly did not have evidence until decades later to indict him.

In the meantime, Stephenson moved on with his life, eventually marrying one Joseph Ginejko in California and raising a pair of twin girls with him, according to the Kansas City Star.

In 2014, he confessed to Ginejko that he had killed Oliphant as he “pleaded for his life,” according to a Missouri State Highway Patrol probable cause warrant, previously reviewed by SF Gate and the Kansas City Star.

Stephenson told his husband that “he shot Oliphant, how Oliphant pleaded for his life, how Stephenson shot him again and killed him, and how Stephenson disposed of Oliphant’s body in Benton County, Missouri,” the probable cause warrant states, per the outlets.

The case remained dormant until Ginejko filed for divorce in 2020 and requested a protection order against Stephenson for domestic violence, SF Gate reported.

It was not immediately clear if Ginejko is the one who eventually turned him in, but he did assist police after the investigation was revived in 2021, SF Gate and Kansas City Star reported, citing unspecified court documents.

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In April 2021, following a DNA investigation, Ginejko met with Stephenson while wearing a hidden mic and in that conversation, Stephenson reportedly gave several “conflicting” statements to Ginejko, per the Kansas City Star.

Stephenson initially denied having told Ginejko about killing Oliphant, the probable cause warrant shows, per the Kansas City Star.

He then said that he had made up the story to “scare” Ginejko, per investigators, and at one point, blamed an ex-lover for the crime, SF Gate and the Kansas City Star reported.

In December of that year, Stephenson was arrested in California, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said in an announcement last week.

He was indicted on second-degree murder charges in 2022, the Kansas City Star reported.

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