Murder charge filed in teen’s death | RecordCourier.com
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Murder charge filed in teen’s death

Ian Teopfer
Special to The R-C |

A Gardnerville Ranchos man will turn himself in on an open murder warrant issued almost a year after he fatally shot his girlfriend’s grandson.

John Edgar Stalcup, 57, faces an open murder with the use of a firearm charge in the Aug. 18, 2015, shooting of Ian Toepfer.

The open murder charge means prosecutors aren’t specifying which level of homicide is involved in the case. Stalcup could face charges ranging from first-degree murder to manslaughter.

Attorney Derrick Lopez said Stalcup would turn himself in to authorities. Bail on the warrant has been set at $25,000.

Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Brian Filter sought the warrant, which was signed by East Fork Justice of the Peace Tom Perkins.

An inquest jury issued a verdict on July 7 that Toepfer’s shooting was criminal homicide after a day hearing evidence and testimony.

According to witnesses, Toepfer was the grandson of Stalcup’s then girlfriend. He’d moved up to Gardnerville a few weeks before.

Stalcup told investigators on the night of the shooting that he hadn’t been consulted when Toepfer moved into the house. Toepfer’s grandmother told The Record-Courier that he’d been living on the streets of Bakersfield and that she sent him a bus ticket to come north.

The family celebrated Toepfer’s birthday on July 31, 2015, a week after he arrived by going to the drag races.

Stalcup, Toepfer, and Stalcup’s daughter’s boyfriend were drinking at the Ann Way home when an argument broke out. Toepfer punched Stalcup in the face, breaking his nose and orbital bone.

Deputies responded to the home at 8:20 p.m. Aug. 18, 2015, and started looking for Toepfer. A deputy testified at the inquest, that Stalcup said he might shoot Toepfer if he returned.

Stalcup told investigators he’d been drinking beer that night, and still had a .024 blood alcohol content more than three hours after the shooting occurred. He hadn’t sought treatment for his injuries until after he was interviewed by investigators after midnight on Aug. 19.

Deputies left the home but returned in response to a 9:36 p.m. 911 call, during which dispatchers could hear the gun go off.

Officers arrived to find Toepfer with a gunshot wound to the back of the head. He was taken off life support the next day.

Stalcup has not been convicted, and is presumed innocent until convicted by a jury or in a bench trial. Once he has been booked, a hearing will be set in Justice Court where he will have an opportunity to either deny or admit the charge.

If he denies the charge, a preliminary hearing may be set where the prosecution would present its case to the justice of the peace. If the justice of the peace determines there is sufficient evidence, Stalcup could be bound over to district court for trial.