Stephen Thompson murder trial: his estranged wife’s testimony, the woman who lived

Local News

JOPLIN, Mo. – On June 10, 2015, Joplin man Stephen R. Thompson shot two victims with a twelve gauge shotgun – Carissa Gerard, 38, and estranged wife Kristina Thompson, 44. Gerard was found deceased upon the arrival of officers and Thompson was transported to Freeman Hospital, critically injured. Thompson, who was shot trying to flee, survived the multiple gunshot wounds.

Joplin local Kristina Thompson, who is on disability and cannot work due to the incident, told her full story in Judge David Mouton’s courtroom today, September 21.

“I’m here today because my husband shot me and killed Carissa,” said Kristina Thompson.

Kristina met Stephen Thompson in February 2012 and married him in October of that year.

“The first part of our relationship was really great… He treated me like a princess… He was good to me,” said Thompson.

Kristina became pregnant. Then right before their son was born, Stephen was injured on the job and could no longer work.

“There were difficult times… We had several separations,” said Thompson.

In May 2015, Stephen and Kristina separated for good. Then, through a high school friend, Kristina met Carissa Gerard. After a while, it became more than a friendship. A photo of Thompson and Gerard on Facebook set Stephen off.

Stephen texted Kristina making threats, saying he had been outside of Carissa’s bedroom window. Kristina filed an ex parte.

In June, Carissa began moving into Kristina’s home at 4215 W. 26th Place in Joplin.

The two had just attended their first Pride event. “We were just starting our life,” said Thompson.

Prior to this, Stephen and Kristina’s son was taken by DFS. On the morning of June 10, 2015, Kristina was visiting their son at the DFS office.

Afterwards, she returned home where her older son Tyler, Gerard and herself were residing. Thompson and Gerard were sitting on the bed, chatting.

“Out of the blue, I hear ‘Tyler, where’s your mom?'” recalls Thompson. They both recognized the voice immediately – Stephen.

“The door opened and I heard the gunshot,” she said.

“‘I’m shot, I’m shot,'” Thompson recalls Gerard yelling. They rushed to the bedroom window where they both escaped the home to the backyard.

Everything happened quicker than what Thompson is “able to describe.”

“I knew at that point I was going to die,” said Thompson.

Thompson was climbing the fence when she “felt a huge blast, hot fire pain.” She fell backwards.

“I could see Carissa laying there… I drug myself to their [neighbor’s] backdoor… holding my guts in. I banged my head on their door to get their attention,” she said.

Kristina said that when she turned to her side, she felt “everything coming out.” Neighbor Christal VanGilder dragged Thompson into her home.

“‘Please don’t let me die,'” she said to VanGilder, who was applying pressure to her wound.

Thompson finally heard the sound of sirens. She was “literally pulling hair out from pain.”

“‘My husband – he shot me,'” Thompson told the paramedics.

“‘I don’t understand how she’s talking,'” she recalls paramedics saying.

Upon arriving at the hospital, trauma surgeon with Freeman Health System Brock Carney said Thompson was in shock, with a high heart rate and low blood pressure. She had a wound in her right upper abdomen from being shot at close range from a shotgun. He said there was a “very good chance she may not survive” the injuries. He performed surgery on Kristina.

When she woke up from the surgery, Thompson, unable to speak, remembers mouthing “‘where’s Carissa?'”

Kristina Thompson underwent multiple surgeries and was in the hospital for nearly 2.5 months. Shotgun pellets still remain in her body.

Stephen Thompson, 60, is charged with first degree murder, first degree domestic assault and two counts of armed criminal action.

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