Suspect In Bartlesville Stabbing Death Turns Himself In

Sunday, October 18th 2009, 11:28 am
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, OK -- A Bartlesville man is in the Washington County jail accused of stabbing another man to death over a woman.

Bartlesville Police say 33-year-old Steve Rippey was stabbed once in the chest and died minutes later. His body was found slumped over the steering wheel of his pickup truck at about 10 p.m. Saturday.

The loss of a child is painful enough for any mother, but it's what Rippey tried to do in his final moments that have his mom and family overcome with emotion.

"He would give the shirt off his back for anybody, if that's all he had to give," said Mark Scullawl, Rippey's cousin.

Police say Rippey was at home Saturday night with his girlfriend and 49-year-old Paul Waller. Then, a violent fight broke out between Rippey and Waller, according to police.

"The house where all this started was torn up and there was a lot of physical evidence of the altercation, including the stabbing," said Chief Tom Holland, Bartlesville Police.

Family members describe Waller as a mutual friend and say the two were fighting over a woman. Police say Waller pulled out a large Bowie knife and stabbed Rippey.

"It was a chest wound, near the heart, near the lungs," said Chief Holland.

Rippey ran to his pickup truck and drove the two blocks to his mom's house. Before he could get out, police say he slumped over the steering wheel and died.

"He knew that momma would take care of him if he could have gotten here. If I had been here, I could have taken care of my son. I would have stopped that bleeding in his heart," said Shirley McCarty, Rippey's mother.

Shirley McCarty says her son came to visit every day. She believes he wanted to say goodbye before he died.

"It gives me comfort that he wanted to see me, but there is so much pain in this, it'll take forever to get over it," said Shirley McCarty.

At about midnight, Waller turned himself in to Bartlesville police, saying he didn't mean to kill Rippey.

McCarty says she won't look at home the same way again, knowing her son died just outside her window.

"He was coming to momma," said Shirley McCarty.

Waller is still in jail.

Police Chief Holland says he'll hand over the police reports to the District Attorney Monday morning. He says Waller could face first or second degree murder charges.

There is a fund to help pay for Rippey's funeral expenses. Donations are being accepted at any Bank of Oklahoma branch to the Steve Rippey Memorial Fund.