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How Did The Marriage of Childhood Friends End In A Bloody Murder Plot?
Darrell Blagg's relationship with his wife, Stephanie, rapidly deteriorated after her brother accidentally shot himself. But nobody predicted their marriage would end like it did.
They were childhood friends whose relationship blossomed into romance. How did the tight bond between Stephanie and Darrell Blagg devolve into murder?
The couple met as kids in a small town in Oklahoma. They became close friends and hung out together often, with Darrell's cousin David Blagg telling Oxygen series "Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins," "If you were around one, you were around the other."
After they graduated high school Darrell moved to San Diego along with Stephanie's brother Glen to join the Marines.
"Stephanie went to California to visit Glen and they got together. It was kind of like fate, I guess," Darrell's sister Rose Doshier said, with David adding, “I believed Stephanie and Darrell were soulmates."
Darrell was discharged in 1987, and the two soon found out they were pregnant. A marriage, two children, and a move to Eunice, New Mexico soon followed. Darrell got a job in the oil industry while Stephanie cared for their three sons, Andrew, John and Dally. In 1996, Glen moved to Eunice, too, to join them. They became a happy family unit — until a tragedy occurred. Glen accidentally shot and killed himself while playing with a gun.
Stephanie was shocked and heartbroken by the death, and in her grief, she grew distant from Darrell and started using drugs. The marriage was severely strained by Stephanie's behavior, so in an attempt to help her and save the relationship, they moved back to Oklahoma. Stephanie said she wanted to work after the move, so she got a job at a convenience store.
“And that's when things really got bad. Everything started getting crazier," Doshier recalled.
Stephanie started an affair with a childhood friend named Billy Kelley. She didn't make an attempt to hide it, either — Darrell was very aware she was cheating with him. Although hurt and devastated, he tried to stick with her for the kids, and four years passed.
But in 2004, Stephanie filed for divorce. She gave him full custody of the three boys and went off with Kelley. Darrell moved back to Eunice, where he seemed to be moving on. He even started dating a new woman. But nine months later, Darrell got a shocking phone call: Stephanie was back in Eunice and wanted him to take her back.
Darrell set her up in an apartment and supported her, but he told her he couldn't move in with her and the boys. Stephanie tried to prove she was clean and a good mother, soon driving the boys to school every day and making frequent emotional pleas to Darrell. Eventually, the two got back together and even remarried. By 2006, it seemed life had settled back into a routine.
Burt on August 11, 2006, that peace was shattered. Doshier got a phone call from a tearful Stephanie, who told her she had found Darrell dead. Doshier rushed over, and found her brother motionless in his home's hallway.
Stephanie then called Eunice police and 911. Authorities arrived at the scene, where video-cam footage captured Stephanie's tearful breakdown.
"I came home, I went to pick [her sons] up in the park, and I walked back there and he was lying there dead. He's dead, Rose, he's dead. Dead!" she said.
New Mexico State Police was called, and investigators examined the scene.
"There was actually no signs of struggle at all," Monica Martinez-Jones, a retired lead investigator with New Mexico State Police, said, adding there was "a lot of blood." They believed he was shot right away when he entered the home.
Martinez-Jones started questioning the three boys: Andrew, 18, John, 15, and Dally, 12. Dally said he and John had been at the park and when they arrived back home, she found the body and told them not to go back there.
When Stephanie was questioned, she said she and Darrell had been having marital issues, so she was planning a date night to show him she cared, making him food while he was off at work. She had then gone to the park with John and Dally before heading back and finding him dead.
Investigators canvassed the neighborhood, and had an interesting conversation at Allsup, a convenience store a block from the residence. The clerk there, a woman named Charlotte King, said she was Andrew Blagg's girlfriend. She told them the boys were actually with Billy Kelley that day.
Dally was brought in for another interview, where he admitted they had been with Kelley, and that he was their mother's boyfriend. Apparently, Kelley would sometimes even sneak into the Blagg residence to spend the night, with the boys' help. When Stephanie was confronted with this information, she was belligerent and insisted she needed an attorney.
Investigators decided to perform a gun residue test on her — and it came up negative, meaning she couldn't have shot the weapon that killed Darrell. However, while executing a search warrant on her car, they found meth in her vehicle. She was arrested for possession of drugs and put in jail.
If Stephanie hadn't shot the gun, had Kelley? Investigators tried to find him, but soon learned he couldn't have been their killer. King told police she had seen Kelley with John and Dalley at Allsup at 4 p.m. getting gas, which the boys confirmed. They also said Darrell had driven by and seen them at the pump. The call for help from Stephanie had happened at 4:10 p.m. It was impossible for Kelley to have made it there to kill him in time. Surveillance footage from Allsup also backed this information up.
But another interview with Stephanie's boys brought a break: They claimed they had seen their mother and Kelley speaking with a man earlier that day at the home, and their mom then told them not to come back near the house. Could this be the killer?
Three days after Darrell's murder, they tracked down Kelley. They pressed him on the man's identity, and he insisted he didn't know anything. Eventually, he said the man's name was "John" or "Juan."
The case progressed when a jail informant contacted police. The woman had befriended Stephanie in jail, and said Stephanie had admitted to being involved with the murder, knew where the weapon was, and wanted to come get it. So, police found a way to lure Stephanie into a trap: They brought the informant out of jail and gave her the funds to bond out her new "friend" Stephanie and offer to go with her to retrieve the weapon. Investigators watched as the two arrived at a local church and searched around, although they were unable to locate the weapon. Still, it was proof authorities were on the right track.
Four months later, another lucky break occurred: A woman in North Dakota called the police and said her boyfriend, Juan Muro, had been the one to kill Darrell Blagg, with the help of Kelley and Stephanie.
All three were arrested. Prosecutors believed Stephanie had wanted custody of all three children so she needed Darrell out of the picture. Muro, meanwhile, had been promised "drugs and money" for killing Darrell, according to "Killer Relationship with Faith Jenkins."
Stephanie pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit first-degree murder and was sentenced to nine years. Billy Kelley was also sentenced to nine years, while Juan Muro received a 16-years sentence after being convicted at trial.
"I lost my brother, I lost one of the most important people in my life. I think they should have all gotten life," Doshier said.
For more on this case and others like it, watch "Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins" here.