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Anne Marie STOUT





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - To collect insurance money
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 10, 2007
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: 1965
Victim profile: William "Bill" Stout, 50 (her husband)
Method of murder: Shooting (9 mm Beretta handgun)
Location: Darby, Ravalli County, Montana, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on September 28, 2008

photo gallery


Supreme Court upholds Stout murder conviction

By Perry Backus - Ravalli Republic

July 28, 2010

The Montana Supreme Court affirmed Anne Marie Stout's conviction and life sentence for deliberate homicide.

Stout was convicted following a three-week trial in 2008 of shooting her husband, Bill, in the head while he slept on June 10, 2007 at the couple's Darby home. 

Ravalli County District Judge Jeffrey Langton sentenced her to a life term later that same year.

Stout appealed the conviction saying Langton improperly allowed the jury access to reports, improperly admitted evidence and refused to suppress evidence seized under the authority of a search warrant.

She also argued that Langton did not have jurisdiction to modify her sentence after appeal to include reimbursement for costs of her appellate counsel.

Four of five the Supreme Court justices ruled Langton acted properly in addressing issues of evidence during the trial.

Langton ordered Stout to pay $57,127 of court cost incurred during the trial, but his subsequent order that the amount should be increased if there was an appeal didn't specify a specific amount.

The justices remanded that portion of her sentence back to Langton's court to allow the Ravalli County judge to write a new order that will add attorney costs incurred by Stout during the appeal process.

Justice James C. Nelson dissented.

Nelson disagreed with the majority opinion that Stout's "so-called harassment campaign" was admissible under district court rules.

Stout's husband was killed with his own pistol, which was found in the saddlebag of his motorcycle in the garage of the house. Investigators also found a latex glove that was imbedded with gunshot residue on the outside and Stout's DNA on this inside in the same laundry hamper where the pistol's holster was discovered.

A note in Stout's handwriting was discovered in her nightstand that contained apparent instructions on how to fire a pistol similar to the one used in the crime. She claimed the note was a guide for the couple's college-age son for using the clothes washer.

Prosecutors said the couple's marriage went bad after Stout learned her husband had a short term affair with a woman from Arkansas. After that revelation, Stout began a long and complicated series of deceptions to make her family believe that they were being victimized and stalked by the other woman.

Investigators found 56 internet searches on how to kill someone and get away with it on her computer. Stout was the beneficiary of a $500,000 term life insurance policy her husband had taken out two years before his death and the co-owner of real estate worth over $500,000.

The decision was filed with the Ravalli County Court on July 13.


Stout sentenced to life in prison

By Perry Backus - Ravalli Republic

September 29, 2008

Standing before a courtroom packed to capacity, Anne Stout told a district judge Friday that her husband was more than just her companion - he was her best friend.

Within the half hour, Ravalli County District Judge Jeffrey Langton sentenced the 43-year-old Darby woman to life in prison for shooting her husband, Bill Stout, while he slept, in June 2007.

Stout was convicted of deliberate homicide in Langton’s court in June 2008 following a three week trial that included testimony from more than 60 witnesses. It took the jury less than six hours to return with a verdict.

On Friday, Stout faced the judge clad in an orange jumpsuit and with her hands and feet in shackles, during the two and a half hour long sentencing hearing.

Langton said he didn’t find any mitigating circumstances for the murder in a pre-sentence report, which indicated that Stout failed to show remorse for the killing.

County prosecutors recommended a life sentence without the possibility of parole. They said Stout subjected her husband to two years of public and private humiliation before shooting him after she discovered he’d been involved in an affair and that she had carefully planned the murder.

Langton left the door open for parole, but only after the woman was psychologically evaluated and completed any recommended mental health treatment.

Stout appeared to suffer from an inability to accept reality, which won’t be cured by a few counseling sessions, Langton said at the sentencing hearing.

“Ms. Stout has a great deal of soul searching and mental health work for this (rehabilitation) to ever be possible in this case,” Langton said.

Before passing judgment, Langton provided a brief biography of Stout and outline of the case.

Stout was born in California and was part of a household of seven. She had no relationship with her father after the age of 4. When she married Bill in the mid-1980s, she’d already had a child, who was raised by the couple.

There was no remarkable martial history until 2000, when the couple’s oldest child committed suicide, Langton said. That event caused a “fracture in the relationship” - for some reason, Bill Stout blamed his wife for the suicide and the couple began to fight, he said.

In 2004, Bill Stout took out a $500,000 life insurance policy on himself. His wife was the sole beneficiary. The policy included a clause that would disallow payment should Bill Stout commit suicide in a two year period beginning in January 2005.

In March 2005, Bill Stout was involved in a brief affair with an old girlfriend while on an out-of-state trip, which included some “creative correspondence,” Langton continued.

Anne Stout discovered the affair in May 2005.

“From every indication, your reaction was more intense than one might expect,” Langton said.

Stout created a fictitious e-mail account in 2005 and began a campaign to torment her husband by sending fabricated e-mails addressed from the other woman to her husband and his family and friends.

“You began a lengthy, really troubling campaign of vindictive, surreptitious attacks on Bill and not just directed to him, but your own children, family and neighbors. Everybody important in Bill’s life,” Langton said.

The activities continued to escalate even though Stout told her husband she’d accepted him back in the marriage, the judge said.

“It was really, really extreme behavior … it went on for months. You never trusted Bill after that,” Langton said. “You thought he was devious … I think Bill was probably doomed from that point on.”

Bill Stout’s decision to sell the house in May 2007 was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back, the judge said.

On May 31, 2007, Bill Stout reported his Beretta 9mm pistol and two magazines stolen.

Ten days later, Anne Stout fixed her husband a nice dinner, saw their son out the door, had sex with Bill, and while he slept, shot him with his own handgun, Langton said. When her son returned later that evening, Stout acted normally.

The mother and son got up the next morning and went to Missoula for breakfast and a shopping trip to the mall, the judge said.

Stout reported finding her husband’s body when they returned home.

“All of that indicates some degree of a lack of emotion,” Langton said.

Stout continued to deny any involvement in the murder even as evidence continued to mount.

Investigators later discovered internet searches on her computer with titles like “how to kill someone” or “how to poison someone and get away with it.” They discovered a note in Stout’s handwriting on how to operate the handgun. The gun was found wrapped in a towel in a saddlebag on her husband’s motorcycle.

This wasn’t a case where a person was overcome in a moment of passion, said County Prosecutor Bill Fulbright.

“This was something that was planned out,” Fulbright said. “It was not an impulsive thing.”

Stout’s son, mother and brother asked the court to allow Stout a second chance by retaining a right to ask for parole.

Noah Stout said that’s what his father would have wanted.

“This hearing is for justice for my father,” Noah Stout said. “When I think of justice for him, I don’t see that as his grandchildren getting to know their grandmother by putting their hand against a piece of bulletproof glass.”

Noah Stout said he wasn’t there to ask the judge to disregard the verdict, but “to give my mother no chance ever again … that isn’t the right thing. It’s not something my father would have wanted.”

Stout’s mother, Irma Moreno, told the judge she still believes her daughter was not guilty.

“Mothers know their children,” she said, with a voice choked with emotion. “I know that my daughter is a good individual … I wish that I had been able to protect my daughter from this terrible ordeal.”

Stout’s brother, Jose Luis Moreno, said Bill Stout’s death left a large void in the family’s life and sentencing Stout to life without a chance for parole would “just make it worse for all of us and her children … We all love her. We haven’t given up on her and we never will.”

Langton also ordered Stout to pay the costs accrued by the state public defender’s office and other court costs.

Montana State Regional Public Defender Ed Sheehy told the court his office’s costs amounted to $15,000.

Ravalli County Prosecuting Attorney Geoff Mahar challenged that amount saying a more realistic fee for two attorneys working for a year to put together a deliberate homicide defense would be between $70,000 and $100,000.

“There’s a whole segment of the population out there who are paying for this defendant’s defense … this (the $15,000 estimate) is like a 1985 bill. Judge, it’s 2008,” Mahar said.

A hearing on the matter was set for Nov. 26.

Sheehy said he would appeal Stout’s conviction of deliberate homicide saying the case was based on circumstantial evidence and there was no one who could testify that Stout actually shot her husband.

In her statement to the court, Stout asked that she be allowed the chance to return to her family as quickly as possible to help her sons recover from the loss of their father.

“Allow our family the seeds of hope,” Stout told Langton.

“Your children will be deprived of your company,” Langton said. “It’s not because you’ve been convicted of the crime. It’s because you committed the crime."


Stout found guilty of murder

By Jenny Harris - Ravalli Republic

June 20, 2008

HAMILTON - It took less than six hours for a Ravalli County jury to find Anne Stout guilty of murdering her husband with a 9 mm Beretta handgun.

The jury handed down its verdict Thursday at 12:20 p.m., following a nearly three-week trial that included testimony from more than 60 witnesses.

In a packed Ravalli County courtroom, Stout, 43, put her head in her hands as the guilty verdict was read to Ravalli County District Judge Jeffrey Langton.

In tears, Stout was taken into custody and will remain in the Ravalli County jail awaiting sentencing.

Anne Stout's husband, Bill, 50, was shot in the head on June 10, 2007, in his Darby-area home.

Ravalli County Prosecuting Attorney Geoff Mahar said the case was a year's worth of work.

"This was a classic 'CSI' story and there was an incredible amount of computer and technology work that went into it," Mahar said. "There were so many aspects to the case, and we did our best in trying to make our case as concise as possible. (County Prosecuting Attorney) Bill Fulbright and I did our jobs, but the real victims in the case are the family members of Anne Stout."

Mahar said the cooperation of the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office was essential to the trial.

"They worked on this case tirelessly and when the investigation was done, they did everything and more," Mahar said. "Sheriff (Chris) Hoffman needs to be congratulated for mentoring and leading a good group of professionals and people. Win or lose, we were very proud to work with them."

Fulbright gave the jury credit for its work on a long case that was, at times, both tedious and emotional.

"This case was a perfect example of our legal system at work. We put it out there and then let the citizens of the community decide," Fulbright said. "I was afraid after three weeks we would lose sight of what this was about - the loss of a good man."

Montana State Regional Public Defender Ed Sheehy called the verdict a result of the legal process.

"That's how our system works," Sheehy said. "I guess they felt as though I didn't raise enough reasonable doubt."

Stout will be sentenced Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. in Langton's courtroom.


Stout testifies in her behalf

By Jenny Harris - Ravalli Republic

June 13, 2008

The Darby woman charged with killing her husband last June told the jury Thursday that she thought her family was a strong and happy one.

Anne Marie Stout, 42, took the stand in the afternoon to answer a series of questions about her past, her family and her life with her husband, Bill. Her testimony is expected to continue Friday.

"My life was very happy with Bill," Stout said. "We had a good life together. We were making plans to possibly move up to Bigfork, making plans for vacation and building a new house."

Stout also talked about the death of her oldest son, Ben. Ben committed suicide during winter break, when he was 19, she said.

"I've never been to the property where he killed himself," Stout said. "What happened to Ben really affected us all. I dealt with it differently than Bill and our two sons, Noah and Matthew, dealt with it differently from us. But we got through it and I thought we were a strong, happy family."

Stout"s attorney, Ed Sheehy, asked her if she was currently in a romantic, sexual relationship.

"Yes, I currently have a boyfriend," she said. "I met him around Thanksgiving last year at one of Matt's sports banquets."

Earlier in the day's court proceedings, Sheehy presented a video with Stout's interview with Ravalli County Detective Perry Johnson on June 15, the same day she was arrested for allegedly killing her husband.

In the video, Johnson told Stout he had all the evidence to believe she in fact, killed Bill.

"I can assure you that I do know you are the main suspect in the murder of Bill Stout," Johnson said on the video tape. "We have all of the evidence and all of the findings to prove that. I know that he died before you left on Sunday morning and I have the time of death to prove that. I'm asking you these questions now to help me with the investigation."

Stout emotionally reacted to the accusation on the tape and said she didn't kill her husband.

"You are so misinformed," she said on the tape. "You can't prove anything, because you don't know. You are not informed because that did not happen."

Anne's courtroom testimony is expected to continue Friday morning in the courtroom of Ravalli County Judge Jeffrey Langton.

Bill Stout was found dead in his home with a bullet wound in his head on June 10, 2007. Anne is charged with deliberate homicide. The trial is expected to continue through early next week.


Stout trial turns to computer’s evidence

By Jenny Harris - Ravalli Republic

June 5, 2008

A Ravalli County jury received a lesson in computer forensics during the third day of murder trial of Anne Stout on Wednesday.

Stout, 42, is charged with killing her husband, Bill, in June 2007.

The household computers of the Stout residence and Anne Stout’s work computer and laptop, were seized during the original Ravalli County Law Enforcement investigation on June 11, 2007, after Bill Stout was found dead in his home with a bullet wound in the head.

The computers were searched for possible evidence and then submitted to the Montana computer crime unit, a department of the Montana Division of Criminal investigation.

Ravalli County Detective Dave Potter testified when he searched Anne’s work computer internet history, he found someone had visited a California Supreme Court Web site that explained a mental defense.

Stout’s defense attorney, Bill Sheehy, said that while the computer’s history might indicate that someone visited the Web site, there was no way to know who that person might be. Several other employees also used the same computer, he said.

Potter said he turned the seized computers over to Jimmy Weg, chief computer forensic agent at the state’s computer crime unit.

Weg testified to conducting detailed computer forensics on requested computers, in search of any evidence to the alleged crime.

In a two-hour detailed examination by Ravalli County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Fulbright, Weg talked about what he discovered.

“Computers don’t delete things the first time you ask them to,” said Weg. “I have the tools to obtain, find and print any evidentiary relevance.”

Weg’s dissection of Anne’s computer indicated the creation of two e-mail addresses in the name of Barbara Miller - the woman that Bill Stout allegedly had an affair with in 2005.

Anne’s computer history showed the creation of the e-mails, from the Yahoo server, in Barbara’s name, Weg said.

Weg also provided a list of contacts within the e-mail’s address book and several e-mail messages sent to Bill, Anne and several of the couple’s friends.

One message titled, “Old friends and lovers never go away” detailed the relationship between Bill and Barbara and mentioned a pregnancy, was sent from the created account in Barbara’s name on Anne’s computer.

“So, what you’re telling the jury is that somebody sitting at that computer had to create these e-mails because the computer’s history shows somebody logged in and out of those specific e-mail addresses,” said Fulbright.

Sheehy asked Weg if he could prove who created the e-mails since the household laptop was used by several family members. Weg said he couldn’t tell the jury who created the accounts, but only that someone who knew how to log on to Anne’s laptop would be able to create the accounts.

Weg proceeded to detail further evidence found on the computer’s internet search history.

Weg said words most frequently searched on Anne’s laptop were, “how to kill someone,” “common household poisons,” “how to put someone to sleep,” “how to poison someone,” “homemade poisons,” “how to poison someone and get away with it,” “untraceable poisons,” and “how to make a sleeping formula.”

On Anne’s workplace computer, Weg said he found commonly searched words such as “divorce,” “planning a divorce” and “Barbara Miller.”

Anne Stout was arrested on June 13, 2007 for the alleged homicide of her husband Bill Stout, after he was found dead on June 10 with a bullet wound in the head.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.


Woman arrested in husband's death

Associated Press

June 17, 2007

MISSOULA - The wife of a Darby man found shot in the head in his home last weekend was arrested Friday on suspicion of murder, the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office said.

Anna M. Stout, 42, is accused of fatally shooting her husband, William Stout. She is being held in the Ravalli County Detention Facility.

According to authorities, Anna Stout called 911 last Sunday afternoon and said there was "something wrong" with her husband.

"There's blood, and his eyes are all bruised, and he's cold," she said in police documents.

When ambulance crews arrived, Anna Stout led them to the master bedroom, where they found her husband dead from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. A cartridge from a 9 mm handgun was found under a pillow.

Police later learned William Stout had called the Sheriff's Office a few weeks earlier to report that his 9 mm handgun and holster were missing from a safe in his closet.

The gun was found last week Monday in a saddlebag on William Stout's motorcycle. The holster and some bloody socks were later found in a hamper under some of Anna Stout's clothing.

Police said they inspected Anna Stout's car and found rubber gloves with blood and gunshot residue on them.

Authorities say Anna Stout told police she cooked dinner for her husband Saturday night before the couple went to bed at 10 p.m.

Anna Stout told one of her husband's friends the next morning that her husband wasn't feeling well.

She told police she then left to go shopping in Missoula with one of her sons at about 8 a.m. Sunday. She said she found her husband dead when she came home at about 4:30 that afternoon.

Authorities said autopsy results found that because the food in Stout's stomach had not been digested, he must have been killed before 8 a.m. Sunday.



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