When 18-year-old Stacie Pannell was found murdered in her dormitory room in 1985, there were many questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the crime and who was responsible. Almost a year after the slaying, Stephanie Alexander’s life turned upside down after confessing to killing her suitemate, Stacie, at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Mississippi.
Investigation Discovery’s ‘Crime Scene Confidential: Speaking for Stacie’ focuses on what happened in the teenager’s case and features an interview with Stephanie. Over the years, she has maintained her innocence and recanted her confession. So, if you’re curious to find out more about Stephanie Alexander and where she is now, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Stephanie Alexander?
Stephanie Alexander lived in the same dormitory as Stacie at the time of the murder. At around 2:30 am on October 8, 1985, Stacie’s roommate, Amy Wheeler, could not get into the room. So, she knocked on Stephanie’s door, who seemed to be sleeping at the time. Stephanie then let Amy through to access the shared bathroom. Amy was horrified at the discovery of Stacie’s partially nude body and alerted campus security.
The case stalled for almost a year until Steve Rhoads, a law enforcement officer from Illinois, was called in to assist. He determined during questioning that Stephanie had not been truthful, and after a few hours, she confessed to the murder. Stephanie then signed three different statements in September 1986. In addition, she wrote a letter to Randy Price, the guy she had been seeing at the time, where she described what happened on the night in question.
Stephanie had been in her room doing her homework on October 7, 1985, and between 9 pm and 10:30 pm, she had taken codeine tablets to curb the discomfort from an infection. Stephanie slept after that, only to be woken up after midnight when a few friends brought in an intoxicated Stacie. Unable to sleep, Stephanie said she went to Stacie’s room to talk, and the conversation moved to Stacie’s boyfriend at the time, Tommy Osborne. When Stacie asked Stephanie what she thought of Tommy, she said he was “fine.”
According to Stephanie, this seemed to anger Stacie, who asked her to stay away from Tommy. She added that the conversation turned violent when Stacie slapped her, with Stephanie doing the same. The confession also stated that Stacie then told her suitemate, “I’d better not see you hanging around him. I’ll kill you. Do you hear me?” According to Stephanie, Stacie then slapped her again and began to choke her. After that, Stephanie claimed to have used the drill rifle to hit Stacie several times.
Stephanie further stated that she wasn’t sure what she was doing because of the effects of codeine. After locking the door, she cut the screen out using a steak knife in one of the drawers. She burned the part of the screen in the bathroom along with her bloody T-shirt. Stephanie then pulled Stacie’s panties down and staged the scene to make it look like it was a rape. She eventually went back to sleep before being woken up by Amy a couple of hours or so later.
Where is Stephanie Alexander Now?
After Stephanie Alexander was charged, she claimed that she had been hypnotized, with the investigator planting the idea in her head. However, the confession was allowed as evidence in court. The defense contended that no physical evidence connected Stephanie to the murder, but the jury found her guilty of manslaughter in the heat of passion in January 1988. She was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, of which she served about 10 years before being released.
Stephanie has maintained her innocence ever since, stating that she was coerced into the confession because the investigators were frustrated with the unsolved case. Having said that, Stephanie Louden, as she is known today, seems to be doing much better. She runs her own business in the music field and enjoys spending time with her family. From what we can tell, Stephanie still lives and operates her business out of Mississippi.