Ranchos shooting leads to 15-year sentence
October 11, 2018
Three years after shooting his then-girlfriend's 19-year-old grandson in the back of the head, a Gardnerville Ranchos man was sentenced to 6-15 years in prison.
John Stalcup, 59, was sentenced Thursday after District Judge Tom Gregory heard four hours of testimony and statements from three of victim Ian Toepfer's relatives, including his mother.
"I've taken your age and station in life, and all of the letters I've received and all the evidence in mitigation into account," Gregory said. "Also taken into consideration was the victim's behavior in this case."
Gregory said there were several incontrovertible facts in the case, including that Stalcup had a loaded weapon.
"You told the deputies that the gun just went off, it just went off," Gregory said. "The gun did not just go off. It went off because you pulled the trigger, and that's why I'm going to send you to prison."
Gregory ordered Stalcup to reimburse the county $5,622 for his defense, since the testimony on Thursday indicated he wasn't indigent.
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Prosecutor Ric Casper said that if Toepfer had been arrested on the night of Aug. 18, 2015, he was confident he would have been prosecuted for punching Stalcup in the face, breaking his nose and eye socket.
"There was no need for him to be shot that day," he said.
Toepfer's mother took the stand to ask Gregory to sentence Stalcup to the maximum of 20 years.
"The murder of my son should never have happened," she said. "We cry on his birthday every year."
Defense attorney Mathew Work asked the judge to sentence Stalcup to probation, saying he was in fear of his life after being punched by Toepfer.
"This is not a typical case," Work said. "It took a long time before charges were filed."
On Thursday, Stalcup took the stand to explain how he'd come to shoot Toepfer, who was staying at the Ann Way home he occupied with his daughter and the teen's grandmother.
According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, Stalcup, Raylene Jaskowski, Stalcup's daughter, her boyfriend and Toepfer were drinking Aug. 18, 2015, when an altercation broke out between Toepfer and the boyfriend.
The two went out to fight accompanied by Stalcup, who was punched in the face by Toepfer.
Stalcup suffered a broken eye socket and nose. Deputies were called to the house while Jaskowski took Toepfer away from the scene.
When Toepfer returned, Stalcup was armed with a pistol, which he pointed at the teen.
According to testimony, Toepfer put his hands in the air and turned his back toward Stalcup and said "shoot me."
Stalcup's daughter called 911 while her boyfriend chased and tackled Toepfer. Stalcup ran up on the pair as they were struggling on the driveway and shot Toepfer in the head.
Casper said the shot could be heard by dispatchers who took the 911 call.