A man wanted for questioning in the slaying of a West Valley woman and her daughter was in custody Wednesday in Mississippi after a girlfriend recognized him on a television program about the FBI's most-wanted fugitives.
Steven Ray Stout, who made it on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List and was featured on a network television program Nov. 27, was arrested Tuesday by the FBI and Gulfport police on federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for murder.He was arraigned Wednesday morning before a U.S. magistrate in Biloxi, Miss. Stout has waived extradition and will be returned to Utah within 10 days, said Terry Keefe, West Valley City assistant police chief.
Stout was wanted in the deaths Jan. 22 of his mother-in-law, Bonnie Craft, 41, and her daughter, Maureen Turner, 19. He was married at the time to Craft's daughter, Sharon.
Keefe said Stout was going by the alias of Billy Johnson and watching the television program, with his girlfriend, about the FBI's 10 most-wanted men when the show featured him as a federal fugitive. "She looked at him and said, `That looks amazingly like you; isn't that a coincidence,' " Keefe said. "He said, `That is me.' "
Keefe said Stout then gave his girlfriend some information about the killing that never had been released to the press. "That would indicate he knew something from the crime scene."
The woman, whose name has not been released, waited several days before she felt it was safe to call the crime program's toll-free number.
"They immediately called us," Keefe said. "We have received hundreds of leads that didn't work out. But this time we knew we had a viable lead."
The FBI in Gulfport was notified and officers went to the woman's apartment to interview her after she told them Stout was to be out of town. But a man answered when agents and Gulfport police knocked on the door.
The agents asked the man to identify himself, and he said "I'm Steven Stout,who are you?" Keefe said they identified themselves as FBI agents. Stout tried to close the door and escape, but they subdued him after a brief struggle. Stoutwas armed with a .25 caliber handgun, but he did not attempt to fire the weapon
In a joint press release, Robert M. Bryant, special agent in charge of the FBI in Utah, and West Valley Police Chief Dennis Nordfelt said Stout was charged with first-degree murder on March 22. Prosecutors believe he entered the women's mobile home, beat the 19-year-old with a hammer, strangled and then stabbed her two times in the chest.
Stout waited for the older woman to return home, investigators theorize, and beat and stabbed her to death before putting both bodies in the bedroom.
Stout then fled Salt Lake County in Craft's car, police said. Witnesses told police the man was seen in Bountiful that evening.
Family members reported seeing Stout in upstate New York the week after the killings, but he was long gone by the time investigators arrived.
He was later spotted in Webster Springs, Va., where officers in Utah and Virginia believe family members there hid him for a number of months. Officers also believe Stout spent some time in North Carolina after leaving Virginia and before arriving in Mississippi.
The FBI said Stout, 32, a Sutton, W.Va., native, apparently has been on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for about a month. When arrested he was working as a laborer in a Gulfport motel.
Fox Broadcasting, producer of the show seen on KSTU Channel 13 in Salt Lake City, said Stout is the third Top-10 fugitive captured as a result of the program.> Thirty-three fugitives now are in custody as a direct result of viewer tips, said Jack Breslin, Fox spokesman. Since February, 113 wanted felons have been featured on the program.