Stacie Pannell, 18, of Ripley, was murdered in her dorm room at Northeast Mississippi Community College on October 8, 1985. The Mississippi Highway Patrol searched for Stacie Pannell’s killer for almost a year. Alexander confessed to the murder of Pannell in three testimonies. Stephanie Alexander, Pannell’s roommate, was charged with murder and is currently awaiting trial.
Students at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Prentiss County, were terrified at the ghastly discovery of a teenager’s bludgeoned body. In October 1985, Stacie Pannell’s life was cruelly cut short when she was found slain in her dorm room.
‘Crime Site Confidential: Speaking for Stacie‘ on Investigation Discovery focuses on the information collected from the crime scene and how the perpetrator was eventually sentenced to prison. So, if you’re curious about what transpired, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
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What Caused Stacie Pannell’s Death?
Stacie Dianne Pannell grew up in Ripley, Mississippi, and was the oldest of three siblings. The 18-year-old was described as a nice individual who always went out of her way to assist people. Stacie joined the band rifle team at Northeast Mississippi Community College after being a member of the rifle drill team in high school. At the time of the incident, she was a freshman residing in Murphy Hall, a campus all-female residence.
Amy Wheeler, Stacie’s roommate, arrived at the dorm around 2:30 a.m. on October 8, 1985, to find the door locked and Stacie not answering. As a result, Amy went to Stephanie Alexander’s room across the hall.
Stacie’s body was on the bed as she entered her room through the common bathroom. The adolescent was naked from the waist down and laying on her back, covered in sheets. Stacie had been bludgeoned to death, her head severely injured, and a pillow had been thrown over her face.
Who Killed Stacie Pannell and Why?
The manner in which Stacie Pannell’s body was discovered led officials to suspect sexual assault as a motive. They assumed the burglar entered and exited through a hole cut in the window screen. The autopsy, however, discovered no indication of a sexual assault or defensive injuries, according to the show. Tommy Osborne, Stacie’s boyfriend at the time, was investigated but cleared out as a suspect.
After a while, the case came to a halt until the authorities enlisted outside assistance. Steve Rhoads, a police chief in an Illinois suburb at the time, was known for a unique investigative approach in which he could detect if a person were lying by observing their body language. Rhoads spoke with Stephanie Alexander, who was in the adjacent room at the time of the murder, as part of the inquiry.
Steve was sure after interviewing Stephanie Alexander for a few hours that she was lying about a few things and knew more about the murder than she let on. Stephanie Alexander finally confessed after being pressed, admitting to killing Stacie during an altercation.
Stephanie Alexander said in the following statements that she went to Stacie’s room that night to discuss, and that they exchanged comments about Stacie’s boyfriend, Tommy. Stephanie claimed that Stacie didn’t want her to hang out with Tommy, and the dispute quickly turned physical.
Stephanie Alexander claims she hit Stacie with the rifle during the dispute and then staged the scene to make it look like the attack was sexually motivated. As a result, she was accused with the murder of her suitemate not long after.
Stephanie Alexander later claimed that she was pressured into confessing and that Steve had placed the story in her brain. Despite this, a court refused to suppress Stephanie’s confession, and she was convicted guilty of homicide and sentenced to two decades in jail in January 1988.
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