In May 2001, the tragic death of a successful surgeon was revealed to be more than an accident. Almost everyone assumed David Stephens’ poor health had finally given up when he died.
The authorities, on the other hand, discovered that it was much more than that. ‘Scorned: Love Kills: Bedside Manner,’ a documentary on Investigation Discovery, dives into how David’s death was, in fact, murder. So, shall we investigate what transpired?
What Caused David Stephens’ Death?
With his then-wife and two children, David Bolam Stephens relocated to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1987.
He established a heart clinic at one of the hospitals and rose through the ranks to become the chief of surgery.
In 1997, the 59-year-old married Stephanie, a considerably younger nurse at the hospital. David, on the other hand, experienced a series of health problems over the next few years and was on the waiting list for a liver transplant.
David Bolam Stephens
Born: 2 Apr 1942 Port of Spain, Trinidad And Tobago
Death: 1 May 2001 (aged 59) Hattiesburg, Forrest County, Mississippi, USA
Burial: Roseland Park Cemetery
Hattiesburg, Forrest County, Mississippi, USA
The surgeon had previously been diagnosed with hepatitis C, diabetes, and a stroke, rendering him unable to work.
Stephanie discovered her spouse had died when she awoke on May 1, 2001. David was lying face up in his bed, arms folded.
By all accounts, the case appeared to be closed. Everyone assumed he died peacefully in his sleep. A simple blood test, however, threw the investigation into disarray.
Who Was Responsible for the Death of David Stephens?
Stephanie had sought to get rid of David’s insulin pump as quickly as possible. After David’s death, blood was collected and tested, and the results were suspicious. Chemicals that were not natural to the blood were present.
As a result, the authorities began looking into the couple’s background. When David and Stephanie first met at the hospital, they were both married to other people.
After that, the two had an affair that lasted for a few years until Karen, David’s wife, found it in 1995.
Karen confronted David about the connection at the moment, and she was in the driveway with a gun in her mouth. She slipped there, and the rifle went off.
Karen was transported to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, but she died a few months later of a suicide. Then, in 1997, David married Stephanie, and the couple appeared to be doing well.
However, due to David’s recent health problem, funds were limited. Stephanie also had health issues that made it impossible for her to work.
The presence of etomidate, a medication commonly used by anesthesiologists, was discovered during the initial testing of the blood. After then, David’s body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed.
Authorities learnt of another medicine this time: laudanosine, an atracurium metabolite used as a muscle relaxant after surgery for persons on life support. The cause of death was then altered to laudanosine poisoning and etomidate overdose.
Stephanie allegedly used the insulin pump to give the drugs, killing David, according to the authorities. The evidence appeared to hint to a monetary motivation.
David would get a letter from his pension fund informing him of a cash-out option at the time. Every year, David would sign a check and request that the money be carried over to the next year. The letter, which always arrived on May 1st, proved to be significant proof.
David appears to have signed the agreement on April 30, 2001, opting for the pay out option.
The letter, on the other hand, arrived on May 1, raising suspicions. Stephanie had also remarried by June 2002 and had spent an $80,000 annuity in less than a month. She was detained in September 2002 after enough circumstantial evidence pointed to her guilt.
What Caused Stephanie Stephens’ Death?
Stephanie was brought to trial a year after her arrest. Karen Burnette, a friend of Stephanie and her husband, was one of the prosecution’s witnesses.
Stephanie admitted to playing a role in David’s death, according to her testimony. According to her, David told Stephanie that he wanted to die and that he needed her assistance.
Stephanie had given him two sedatives as well as a heart medication. In September 2003, she was condemned to life in prison after a jury convicted her guilty of murder.
Stephanie was imprisoned for three years before succumbing to pneumonia on October 14, 2006. She died at the age of 38 in a Mississippi hospital.