In 2008, the Stockdale family appeared on the reality TV show, Wife Swap. The premise of the show is that two wives/mothers with different family values, beliefs, income levels and/or situations trade homes for 2 weeks. The first week, the new mother lives the lifestyle of the family she has joined. The second week, she makes rules in order to share her family experiences/beliefs in her new situation. Before the women go home, both couples meet and debrief.
In the Stockdale/Tonkovic episode, Kathy Stockdale traded homes with Laurie Tonkovic. The Stockdales were a family that moved to the country in Ohio to avoid the temptations and dangers of city living. Their children (one of which was 19 years old during filming) did chores on the family farm to earn tokens they could cash in for treats, like gum, or to listen to wholesome radio programs. The Tonkovics were a family living in the city that were not strict with their children, instead choosing to be their friends.
The Stockdale boys were Calvin, Charles, Jacob and James. Along with their father, Tim, the boys played in a bluegrass band called The Stockdale Family Band. The children were homeschooled by their mother. They were not allowed to curse or date and the family was “devoutly religious.”
Laurie said in an interview that during her rule change, she wanted the boys to have more freedom. This proved too much for Jacob who broke down. He told Laurie that following her rules would sentence him to hell.
By 2017, Calvin and Charles had moved out of the family home. Tim, Jacob, James and a family friend were still playing in the band. The group had plans to tour county fairs and small venues that summer.
On June 15, someone called 911 from the Stockdale home. The caller hung up and police were dispatched.
As police approached the front door of the home, they heard a gunshot. Inside, they found 26 year old Jacob. He had shot himself in the head with a .20 gauge shotgun, but was still alive.
In an upstairs bathroom, 54 year old Kathy lay dead. 21 year old James was also dead in the home. They too had been shot by Jacob. Tim was not home at the time.
Neighbors reported hearing as many as 12 gunshots the day of the shooting.
Jacob spent over a year in the hospital. He received reconstructive surgery and had to learn how to walk and talk again.
When he was released from the hospital in September 2018, he was arrested for murder. It is believed that he was not arrested during his hospital stay because the county did not want to be responsible for his medical bills.
In May 2019, Jacob was transferred from jail to a mental health facility. It was declared that he was not mentally competent to stand trial.
In January 2019, Jacob entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury decided that he would not face the death penalty if convicted.
If Jacob is found guilty, he is facing 15-30 years in prison.
A video summary of this week’s post can be found at
2 thoughts on “Jacob Stockdale”
What does “Wife Swap” have to do with Jacob Stockdale killing his mother and brother? Seriously…having boundaries that define family values and moral safeguards so that others don’t get hurt is somehow insinuated as the reason Jacob hurt/killed some of his family? So like, he should have been allowed to define his own boundaries in his parents’ home in order to assure he would never kill any of his family members? He made his own “free will” choice, against his parents’ teachings, and God’s. I’m sure if murder were allowed in this country, with no repercussions at the hands of the legal system, most of us would be dead! I’m thankful for the laws that define legal and illegal acts, and grateful that the majority choose to live within the confines of those laws!!
Wife swapping, in any sense of the word, should be illegal! It’s doubtful that blame can be placed on its influence alone, but maybe, just maybe it did influence Jacob to doubt and distrust his parents, which could have played into his heinous actions!!! It surely could be just as possible as thinking his parents’ rules caused him to kill. In the end, he had a choice between good and evil, and he chose evil!!
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Wife Swap is an American television show on which the family was featured.
The family was portrayed as particularly overbearing and strict in the episode. That is the connection.
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