KINGMAN — A shooting death nearly a year ago on an Interstate 40 off ramp in Kingman was resolved in a plea agreement entered Tuesday at the Mohave County Courthouse.
Bradley Stumpf, 32, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the Feb. 11 death of Jason McCafferty, 46.
Prosecutor Karolina Czaplinska told Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle that McCafferty had taken Stumpf to Phoenix for a work assignment but that McCafferty decided to return to Kingman because Stumpf’s behavior had become erratic and strange. She said that behavior continued on the drive home during which Stumpf grabbed and pulled the steering wheel while McCafferty was driving, nearly forcing the vehicle from the freeway.
Czaplinska said as the vehicle traversed the I-40/Stockton Hill off ramp in Kingman, Stumpf pointed a 9 mm handgun at McCafferty’s face. She said a single shot fired into the victim’s chin traveled down through his neck and into his left lung.
Czaplinska said the state’s theory of a possible motive is that Stumpf was despondent over a breakup, harbored jealousy and suspected that anyone in contact with his estranged girlfriend was involved in an affair.
Stumpf disputed the assertion.
“I held no animosity toward Mr. McCafferty,” he told Carlisle.
Stumpf explained he had been awake about 36 hours and was dozing in and out of sleep on the way back to Kingman. He said his groggy condition explained the shooting.
“It was more of an accident because I was asleep when I pulled the trigger,” he said. “I just ran because I was scared.”
Czaplinska said Stumpf was able to slide over and apply his foot on the brake pedal to bring the vehicle to a stop. She said Stumpf positioned the holster and gun in the vehicle to make it appear that McCafferty shot himself.
Court records indicated that Stumpf fled on foot to a residence where he said that McCafferty had apparently killed himself. The records revealed that Stumpf told investigators that he had been hearing voices for months and that he was hearing them again, and McCafferty yelled at him on the way back to Kingman.
Stumpf denied staging the weapon but said nothing about hearing voices during the change of plea hearing.
Terms of the plea agreement require Carlisle to impose a 10- to 20-year prison term during a Feb. 6 sentencing hearing.