The Francine Stepp appeared to be a well-off family. Francine Stepp’s parents, Mark and Dolores, had successful careers that provided a comfortable lifestyle, and the future looked bright for their only child.
But the hidden tensions within their home would finally lead to unimaginable bloodshed. Mark and Dolores, who had served in the Navy, had previously moved from Wisconsin to Stillwater, Oklahoma, in 1979.
Mark was a technician at a power plant, and Dolores was a supervisor in the university’s accounting department at Oklahoma State. In their respective fields, both excelled.
Mark’s friends said he was laid-back, while Dolores was more Type A. The Stepps and their daughter, Francine, strongly bonded despite their different personalities.
But as parents, the Stepps respected their military heritage. Francine’s acquaintances recall that her parents were highly authoritarian.
“Her parents seemed like they were very controlling of everything that she did, who she could be friends with, where she could go,” said former classmate Julie Reid on the Oxygen show “Snapped,” which airs on Sundays at 6/5c.
The Stepps’ daughter’s transition into adolescence was fraught with tension. Every day after school, she had no choice but to return home.
Reid remarked, “If they let her drive, she had to head home from school. Cindy Sue Wynn was Francine’s close friend and neighbour, and they spent most of their time together in their neighbourhood.
“Francine was quite sweet, yet she was timid and reticent. On the other side, Cindy was the complete antithesis. Reid told the producers, “We had to make Cindy the star of the show.”
What happened to Francine Stepp?
Both Mark and Dolores had served in the Marine Corps. Dolores was the accounting supervisor at Oklahoma State University, and Mark had taken a job as a technician at a power plant when they both retired.
From the outside looking in, his life appeared to be a dream. The couple had a daughter named Francine, who was 18 years old, and they were married. Their daughter appeared to have a bright future, and both parents were successful in their careers and enjoyed strong job security.
But, of course, not everything can be perfect. Several acquaintances and family members of the couple testified about their dictatorial and inflexible nature during the investigation.
Both in the upbringing of their daughter and in the relationship itself. They adhered strictly to the norms that had been established.
Until then, there had been no clear indication of why someone would seek to eliminate them. They were rigorous, yet no one ever reported them for illegal activity or a physical altercation. It was a hate crime committed against peacemakers.
A young man called Michael D. Reed turned on the first lights. Francine’s classmate was the young guy who said she and her buddy Cindy had discussed killing their parents because they were sick of them.
The girls resented the restrictive limitations that the Stepps imposed on their daughter. One of her classmates said Francine had to leave school immediately after classes since she could not participate in after-school activities or parties.
It was a form of “rebellion” on her part to occasionally visit Cindy Sue Wynn, her best friend who lived in the next neighbourhood over.
Together, they completed high school and enrolled at Oklahoma State University. However, Francine left school before her first year was over.
During that time frame, tensions first began to rise. Whenever Wynn was involved, the Stepps saw her daughter as rarely as possible.
On the 22nd of June, a second resident of Stepps called the police to say that he had seen Francine driving near her house on the morning of the murder.
According to the young woman’s story, she spent the night in Cindy’s brand-new abode. She claimed that when she returned home early this morning, she discovered her parents dead in the foyer.
A double homicide was reported to police in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on June 8th, 1988. Mitzi Wynn, mother of Cindy Wynn, best friend of the victim’s daughter Francine Stepp, made the call.
The authorities found two bodies in the primary bedroom. As they approached, they discovered that the victims had been shot rather than stabbed to death.
Francine sobbed that she had come home to see her parents in such a state that morning. She was devastated and didn’t know what to do, so she hurried to her neighbour and best friend Cindy Wynn’s house for support.
While the police took his statement, they discovered several peculiarities while gathering evidence. At the crime scene, detectives discovered fingerprints and shell casings.
It was reported to the authorities that while Dolores was on the floor, Mark was placed on the bed. The lack of evidence of a forced entry also led police to conclude that the offender knew his or her victims.
He was surprised by the sight of two separate sets of footprints on the carpet. This suggested that two burglars had entered the premises.
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When Reed also admitted to the girls that he knew they had tried to recruit someone to conduct the “dirty work” before the tragedy, the police began to suspect the girls.
He claims that he and Francine had offered a man called Jackie Phillip Myers a substantial quantity of money to “take care of Francine’s parents” some days prior.
There isn’t much known about him, but we know that Myers confirmed the information, and he turned down the offer.
There, detectives decided to re-interrogate Cindy, who had initially been defensive but ultimately corroborated her friend’s alibi during questioning on the day of the murder.
They told Cindy that they had enough evidence of what had happened that day and that it was better for her to confess so that she would not have such immense sadness, considering her apprehensive attitude and that everything pointed to the children of Mark and Dolores.
In addition, a distraught Cindy explained all that had transpired. The girl admitted that since they had been unable to hire a hitman, they had chosen to carry it out themselves.
Ronald Thrasher, a retired police commander, provided specifics to the ‘Snapped’ program regarding the remark.
He claims that everything transpired when he and the accused went to the latter’s home at first light. Francine was pointing the rifle, and Cindy was standing close by. Suddenly, the girl pulled the trigger, and the screen went blank.
Both only had fuzzy recollections of what had happened at the time, but they both admitted to the crime.
As per the Stepps’ daughter, their friend did not participate in the killings but instead helped organize and tidy up the aftermath. At the time of his confession, Wynn acknowledged this as well.
According to ‘The Oklahoman,’ Francine was arrested more than a month after the murder and charged with two counts of murder. She pleaded guilty to both and was given a life sentence.
A 10-year sentence was imposed on Wynn despite the fact that he was not a co-defendant in the murder. According to official records, she was freed at 28 in 1999 after serving her sentence.