Stephen G. Chancey

Steven Chancey’s wife of five years, Joyce, was divorcing him when he murdered her.  Prior to her murder, she obtained a restraining order against him based upon threats that he had made to her.

One of those threats specifically told her to stay away from her regular Sunday AA meeting.  When she and her friend arrived at that meeting, they saw Chancey’s vehicle parked nearby.  As they were walking into the meeting, they saw that Chancey quickly approaching them, which frightened Joyce.

When Chancey got a few paces behind them, he pulled out a handgun and started shooting Joyce while continuing to walk towards her.  He fired a total of seven rounds, six of which struck her.  Three shots were in her torso and arms, the other three were all close to her head.  The shots to her head were made as he was standing over her body.  As demonstrated by stippling that peppered her cheek, at least one shot was fired very close to her head.

After murdering Joyce, Chancey calmly walked back to his vehicle and drove off.  He then called 911 and reported that he had murdered his wife and that he was going to turn himself in, which he did.

Joyce was Chancey’s third wife.  His first marriage ended due to Chancey being physically abusive.  At one point, he even used a sledge hammer to break down a door to get to his then wife.  When his second marriage was ending, his second wife was only able to escape the home they were in by threatening to shoot Chancey if he tried to prevent her from leaving the house.

Prior to pleading guilty, Chancey pursued a not guilty by reason of insanity plea.  According to what Chancey told the court clinic when he was being evaluated for that plea, he had become upset with Joyce because he was afraid she might turn the members of their AA group against him.  This fear developed after Chancey had been physically violent with Joyce and he feared she would tell others about what he did.

Per a document found on Chancey’s computer dated about a month-and-a-half before the murder: “Joyce came to the 12:30 AA meeting today and it made me really angry hurt. My anger is fear based. When someone does something to hurt me, I retaliate to warm them not to try to hurt me again. When I retaliate, I escalate. There is no limit to the level to which I will escalate my retaliation. I am calculating. In this situation I have thought about ways to hurt Joyce. Changed sponsors this morning. Thought about killing Joyce’s daughter to hurt Joyce.”

Chancey admitted to the evaluating doctor that, after writing that document, “I could feel the rage up in me and I get mad and think of ways to hurt Joyce.”  He told the doctor that he had thoughts of using the flat of his hand to drive the bridge of her nose up into her forehead, as he had been taught to do in the military; of rigging her car to blow up; of blowing Joyce away; and of hurting her daughter based on the philosophy of “attack what they love.”  Chancey said he was becoming “increasingly hopeless, depressed, and suicidal, with intense emotions including irritability and anger.”

As just noted, Chancey has a military background.  He informed the court clinic that people in the military had found him “too confrontational” and that he had been nicknamed Hacksaw “because he was often too rough on people.”

Turning back to this matter, it was Joyce’s attending the February 3, 2002, AA meeting that finally was too much for Chancey to handle.  A slew of threatening emails and phone calls following that meeting pushed Joyce to getting a restraining order.

A week later, he saw Joyce walking into the AA meeting he had warned her to stay away from and believed she had tauntingly smiled at him.  This, per his report to the court clinic, caused him to revert back to his military training and to formulate a plan to kill Joyce in his head: “It was like I was given a mission to keep that target out of that building.”  The “target” was Joyce and his objective was to “kill the target.” 

Per the evaluating doctor: “The actions were described as being executed in a [sic] automated, unemotional fashion, including six shots to the victim, the last being point blank to the back of her head. After the shooting he had the ‘urge to police my brass’ (pick up the shell casings) but he realized he was not supposed to do that, because his job was then to get out of the area and back to the jeep. He was irritated that it took him six shots to execute the mission instead of four, but was pleased that he thought he had completed the mission in approximately four and a half seconds.”  Chancey also “recalled various persons standing by or running away and stated that if they had tried to stop him he likely would have killed them because they would have been interfering with his mission of reaching his ‘rallypoint.’”

According to both police and the attorney that he called to meet him at the police station, Chancey showed no emotion about having killed his wife and, instead, was logical and coherent.

While in jail, Chancey did what he could to have his finances moved to accounts that Joyce’s family would not be able to reach should they file a civil suit against him.  When his daughter refused to cooperate with this plan, he became angry, cursing at her, and telling her “you had better fucking do this” while threatening her.  (He apparently apologized to his daughter the following day.)

Ultimately, the court clinic found that Chancey was suffering from major depression at the time he murdered Joyce, but that he absolutely understood the wrongfulness of his actions.

These things all lead to the conclusion that Chancey is a very dangerous person.  His history shows that he gets into relationships that end in violence. The most recent ended in murder. Prior to committing that murder, Chancey weighed whether he should kill Joyce or attack what she loved and go after her daughter. He readily admitted that he was ready, able, and willing to kill anyone who might have tried to stop him.

Pickaway Correctional Institution
Min Sentence
Max Sentence
Date Admitted:
Next Eligibility
Hearing Date:

Feedback Form

Send a comment regarding this individual.

Parole Board requires a valid address.