WENTWORTH — A Reidsville man will spend his remaining days behind bars, after pleading guilty to gruesomely killing three family members at their Lawsonville Avenue home.
Tommy James Stout, 43, of Reidsville, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to the murder of 43-year-old Madge “Sissy” Sizemore, her brother 49-year-old David Stanley Sizemore Jr. and their mother, 73-year old Judy Sizemore.
He was sentenced by Forsyth Superior Court Judge Richard Gottlieb to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
Just before 11 a.m. on Nov.7, Reidsville Police were called to 709 Lawsonville Ave.
When they arrived, they found Madge Sizemore and David Sizemore Jr. dead inside the home.
Judy Sizemore was initially found unresponsive but was airlifted to Wake Forest Medical Center in Winston-Salem after Rockingham County EMS medics detected her pulse. She later succumbed to complications from her injuries.
On Tuesday, lead prosecutor Stephanie Reese shared heart-wrenching details of the triple homicide during a summary of evidence.
She said that David Sizemore Jr. was staying at Madge and Judy Sizemore’s residence as he helped with fixes to the home, when the trio was brutally attacked.
The three were discovered by Suzanne Saunders, a daughter and sister of the victims, who initially went to the home to visit and spend time with family.
“What she walked into is the worst nightmare you could imagine,” Reese said.
The prosecutor stated that the scene was so horrific that investigators initially thought the killings were gun-related.
A medical examiner later determined that each victim suffered from multiple blunt-force blows caused by a hammer and hatchet that were recovered from the home.
From the get-go, Saunders told investigators she believed the crime was committed by Stout –a boyfriend to Madge Sizemore who had been staying at the Sizemore home for six months following a long federal prison stint.
“These good people opened their arms and their house,” Reese said, stating that in turn, Stout took advantage of their hospitality by pawning items that Judy Sizemore often had to reclaim.
Reese said that Suzanne Saunders was very concerned about the well-being of her mother and sister during that six month period.
Stout, who was nowhere to be found following the killings, instantly became a subject of interest when investigators found that jewelry belonging to Judy Sizemore was missing from the crime scene and that drawers and purses at the home were ransacked.
Detectives got their first break when Stout began pawning items at two Reidsville shops.
On Nov. 6, Reese said that video surveillance showed Stout attempted to sell a set of dining utensils, pulled out from a blue and cream canvas bag.
Following his arrest, the bag was obtained by officers from an acquaintance Stout stayed with.
Inside was the utensil case, with Judy’s name inscribed on it. The bag also had blood stains, as did the left sole of a shoe that was also recovered.
Investigators also found blood on one of Judy Sizemore’s rings, pawned by Stout and later recovered by police from a local pawn shop.
In a statement read by Reese, Suzanne Saunders said she would never forgive Stout for taking away her sister – who wanted to see him have a life – and her mother who saw the good in him.
“I hope you think of them with a broken back,” Saunders said. “You’re a demon.”
Suzanne’s husband, Ronald Saunders, shared similar testimony to Judge Gottlieb. Standing near the prosecution, Saunders described the agony of losing family has caused and the pain his wife carries on a daily basis.
“I pray you never find peace for what you’ve done,” Saunders said. “There is a special place for you in hell Tommy Stout.”
Stout, who declined an opportunity to address Judge Gottlieb during sentencing, didn’t show empathy during or after the hearing.
Speaking for his client, Defense Attorney Jason Ross said that Stout had been in and out of prison for nearly 18 years, mostly in the federal system.
He said Stout told him he was physically abused by his stepfather starting at the age of three and left the home at 15, before service his first stint in custody at a facility Stout called “Gladiator School”
Stout was in and out of federal custody from 2000-2018 on a distrusting cocaine charge that included two parole violations.
Ross said that when Stout was released from custody for serving his time on the conviction, he was picked up by Madge Sizemore, who Stout called his “lifelong sweetheart”.
Stout quickly got involved with narcotics once he was released and began binge-shooting meth, Ross said.
Reese, who credited RPD for covering all bases in their investigation, said the “sheer, unbelievable scene” would have made it easy to prosecute the case as a capital offense.
Ross told the court that if the case was not resolved by June 10, the state said it would move forward with charging Stout with the death penalty.
“I have been practicing criminal law in Rockingham County for over 20 years and have represented over 25 individuals charged with first-degree murder and this case has been the most difficult to handle,” Ross said following the hearing. “If the state declared this case capital and sought the death penalty, it would have been very difficult to avoid a possible death sentence at trial based on the number of victims and the manner in which the state would have alleged the homicides occurred. Myself, my client and the rest of our defense team thought that life without parole was Tommy’s best option in lieu of facing a possible death sentence.”
Moments before his judgment, an emotional Judge Gottlieb appeared to supress tears as he began to address the family members and friends of the Sizemores who attended the plea proceeding.
“That description is among the most heinous I’ve heard,” Gottlieb said. “There is nothing I can say that would make up for this horrible crime. We hope this will give you some closure and a stepping stone to try to move forward.”
“This (judgment) will result in a life sentence, where he deserves to be,” Gottlieb said.
“Tommy Stout is a vicious, brutal, cold-blooded murderer deserving of death,” said District Attorney Jason Ramey following the hearing. “However, given that the State of North Carolina has not carried out an execution since 2006 and that there are serial killers still breathing that were put on death row in the 1990s, I believe it was in the best interest of the surviving family members of this unconscionable crime to allow this plea to avoid the extremely lengthy trial and appeal processes that come along with a death-penalty case.
“I pray that this result brings some measure of peace and closure to them.”
Ramey also thanked Reidsville Police Chief Robert Hassell, Lt. Shannon Coates, Detective Santana Menard, SBI Agent Destinie Denny and Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Reese for their work on the case.
“Their efforts help ensure that our community will forever be safe from Tommy Stout," Ramey said.