Pinellas jury convicts St. Petersburg man of murder in death of estranged wife

Published Feb. 3, 2012

LARGO — A jury on Thursday convicted a St. Petersburg man of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his estranged wife nearly three years ago.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip J. Federico immediately sentenced Myron Stenhouse, 48, to life in prison.

Hunter Kelli Stenhouse, 35, was found dead inside her husband's home on June 19, 2009.

Myron Stenhouse had filed for divorce just a few months earlier. His wife had moved to Brandon. But that day, authorities said, Hunter Stenhouse had brought the couple's toddler daughter to Myron Stenhouse's home at 6236 20th Way S for a visit. It was Father's Day weekend.

"We know that things just didn't go as expected on that day," Christopher LaBruzzo, assistant state attorney, told the jury during his closing argument. "That is why we're here today."

Myron Stenhouse called police at about 1:25 p.m. that Friday, saying he needed an officer. When police arrived, he was outside, waiting with his daughter in his arms. His wife was inside with multiple gunshot wounds.

During the trial, jurors heard evidence that after the shooting, Myron Stenhouse called 911 and told dispatchers his wife had attacked him. He mentioned a knife, which was found near her body. "We don't know what exactly happened," James O'Neill, Myron Stenhouse's attorney, told the jury. "Not knowing equates to reasonable doubt."

But prosecutors suggested Myron Stenhouse had staged the scene. They noted that Myron Stenhouse, a former police officer at Bay Pines VA Medical Center, shot his wife twice — once in the throat and then in the heart.

"This was a premeditated, deliberate act to kill Mrs. Stenhouse," LaBruzzo said.

Myron Stenhouse, authorities said, told detectives that his wife had started nagging about his parenting skills that day.

Myron Stenhouse did not take the stand. The jury deliberated for about an hour.

The couple's child, now 3, is in the care of her mother's relatives.