DA: Woman found guilty of killing best friend’s fiancé

Published 4:37 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

District Attorney Warren Montgomery reported Friday that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Margaret Stockstill, 33, of Franklinton, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of her best friend’s fiancé.

Stockstill will face a mandatory life sentence when she appears before District Judge Peter J. Garcia for sentencing on Aug. 16.

The weeklong trial centered on what happened the night of April 14, 2017, when Stockstill shot Cody Couch, 27, to death. The jury rejected Stockstill’s claims that she shot Couch in self-defense.

“She was going to get the last word no matter what,” Assistant District Attorney Blair Alford argued in her closing statement. “She was mad, yes. Justified, no.”

Alford, assisted by Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Authement, argued that Couch’s fiancée, Kristin Copeland, initially planned to spend the evening with Couch and Stocksill, playing cards and drinking at home in Folsom. But things went awry when Couch instead left home to play pool at a bar with friends. Copeland testified that she became angry when he did not respond to her repeated calls and text messages. She then sent him a text message that said she was ending the relationship and burning his clothes, along with a photo of the burning clothes. Couch returned to the house around 10 p.m., and an argument broke out between him and the two women.

Copeland testified that when Stockstill pulled out her gun, Couch threw out his hands and said: “What are you going to do? Shoot me?” Stockstill fired a shot, striking Couch in the lower abdomen.

Alford and Authement argued that the evidence showed that Couch was the one under attack by the two women, who had once shared a brief romantic relationship. The prosecutors played and dissected a cell phone videotape that Stockstill captured in the moments before shooting Couch. Before shutting off the video, Stockstill can be heard saying: “Got your a—!”

The jurors deliberated less than an hour before returning the verdict.