Solved: Man sentenced for murder of Kansas City resident he took home from a bar in 1998

March 26, 2024

26-year-old Randall Dean “Randy” Oliphant  was born in Waco, Texas and later moved to Kansas City, where he worked in a Bank, and lived in an apartment in midtown.

On the night of Saturday, January 17, 1998, Randy was at the Dixie Belle Saloon, a gay bar on Main Street, where he met a man named Timothy Stephenson. According to witnesses, the pair left Dixie Belle together that night. Randy Oliphant was never seen alive again.

When Randy failed to show up at work or contact friends and family, his mother reported him missing to police.

In March 1998, around one hundred miles from Kansas City, two fishermen discovered a body in a rural area of Warsaw, Missouri, and contacted police. The body was identified as that of missing Randy Oliphant, and autopsy revealed that he was a victim of homicide. The cause of death was gunshot wounds.

A search of the victim’s clothing turned up a business card for the Dixie Bell Saloon, and after talking to the venues owners and workers, police discovered that the last person to see Randy alive that night was a man named Timothy Stephenson, a married man who, at the time, resided in Kansas City.

When questioned by police, Timothy Stephenson claimed that he had taken Randy Oliphant home that night to his house at 5125 Tracy in Kansas City, before driving him to another bar and dropping him off there.

He claimed that Randy was alive the last time he had seen him, and that he had no clue what became of the man. With no evidence of any wrongdoing on Stephenson’s part to secure a search warrant, police were unable to investigate their only person of interest any further, but continued to keep an eye on him.

Phone records did show that Stephenson had made calls from the Benton County area the day after Oliphant went missing, which is in the vicinity of the area the victim’s body was recovered.

The victim’s murder case went cold and unsolved for two long decades while Stephenson continued with his life, splitting up with his then wife, and relocating to the San Franscisco area where he married a doctor, Joseph Ginejko, and had two daughters.

Reports state that around 2014, Stephenson confessed to Joseph Ginejko that he had shot Oliphant dead in the bathroom of his previous home in Kansas City in 1998. Stephenson allegedly claimed that he remodelled the bathroom to hide any leftover evidence of the crime.

According to Ginejko, Stephenson said that he shot Oliphant, who had pleaded for his life before being shot a second time.

In 2020, Contra Costa County, Ginejko filed for divorce and requested a protection order from Stephenson, who Ginejko said had been violent towards him at home. Ginejko then passed this information on to police, and they began a clandestine investigation to collect evidence against the suspect. At the time of writing, it is not known whether or not if Ginejko was the one to report the confession to police.

When questioned, Stephenson claimed that he only told Ginejko that he had killed someone to scare him, and then tried to blame the murder on an ex-partner.

Media outlets report that the Missouri State Highway Patrol laboratory reexamine DNA in 2021.

Stephenson was extradited to Missouri from California and arrested for the 1998 killing of Randall Oliphant.

 

In May 2022, Stephenson pleaded "not guilty" to second degree murder in Benton County. He was allowed to live under house arrest in his aunt's home in Clinton under her supervision. Clinton is approximately seventy-five miles from Kansas City, where the crime allegedly took place.

He was supposed stay there awaiting for his upcoming trial in August that same year, but by July, Stephenson's aunt reported to police that he had been partying at her home, and using drugs whenever she was away. Unable to make Stephenson adhere to the terms of his pre-trial conditions, his aunt informed police, who executed a search warrant.

During the search they found several thousand dollars in cash, as well as Stephenson sitting on his bed smoking meth from a pipe. Stephenson was charged with Class D felony possession of a controlled substance and transferred to Benton County Jail where he was left to await his trial.

He was indicted by the grand jury for second degree murder on July 15, 2022. His Aunt was afraid that he would harm her if he were released on bail and Stephenson remained in jail.

Timothy Stephenson was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the murder of Randy Oliphant.

On March 15, the Missouri police highway patrol posted to their twitter account: “TODAY, Timothy Stephenson Ginejko pled guilty to the second degree murder of Randy Oliphant who went missing in Jan 98 and was recovered in March of 98, in Benton Co. Stephenson was arrested Dec 21 by MSHP/DDCC. Today, he was sentenced to 16 years in DOC w/credit for time served.”

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