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Biography: Jerry and Irene Stover, victim's parents
 

Jerry Stover was born December 3, 1951 in Abbeville, Mississippi. When a senior in high school, he and Irene Morrison began dating. Irene was born November 24, 1952 in Abbeville and was a year behind him in school. Soon after her graduation from high school they were married and settled down in Abbeville.

Jerry had a knack for retail sales and continued working full time in the local sporting goods shop where he'd worked after school and summers. When Wal-Mart came to Oxford, small businesses found it tough to compete, and the owner of the sporting goods shop decided to retire and close the store. He gave Jerry plenty of warning so that Jerry had time to apply and begin working at Wal-Mart. His conscientious attitude, sales ability and previous sales experience soon caught the attention of management and he was offered a place in their management trainee program. He rapidly worked his way into a secure position in Merchandising.

Irene began working in a grocery store near Abbeville after high school graduation, but when she became pregnant with Andrea she quit and remained a stay-at-home mother until Andrea was out of high school. When Andrea graduated, Irene found work at a supermarket as a cashier, and enjoyed the contact with customers and the extra money.

Andrea was Jerry's "Precious" from the day she was born. He was glad Irene wanted to stay home with their daughter and went along willingly when Andrea was old enough to audition for school and community productions. He often brought home or prepared dinner for all of them when Andrea and her mother were involved in long rehearsals or performances. His life and interests revolved around Andrea.

Irene was not a "stage mother" in the negative connotation, but she wanted to help Andrea attain her artistic goals. She never pushed her daughter to accomplish she dreamed for her, but wanted to see Andrea successful and happy with her own choices.

Jerry and Irene were delighted when Andrea decided to attend the University of Mississippi and live at home. They hoped their influence would quell the wild streak Andrea began showing in her teens, and that the continued stability of their home would outweigh the extremist artistic direction Andrea seemed to be heading in. They were disappointed that Andrea took a job with Oxtales after college since the theatrical group had a reputation for staging outlandish, controversial productions often with a blatant sexual connotation. Irene and Jerry soon learned that Oxtales' reputation was well deserved, as each of the productions Andrea was involved in seemed to cause more strife in the community than the last.

Their worst fears were realized when Oxtales staged "Snopes" and community awareness groups, who had never been fans of Oxtales productions, increased their protests and began vigorously demonstrating against the theatrical company, especially targeting Andrea. Jerry and Irene found their privacy was invaded, their property vandalized, and the embarrassment difficult to endure. They presented a united and strong supportive face to the world, but privately were suffering greatly. Then when Andrea was arrested and prosecuted, they were miserable. Jerry begged Andrea to plead to a lesser charge as was offered her, but she refused. She welcomed the attention saying a court trial would call attention to the "government's attempt to stifle freedom of expression." Jerry and Irene privately resented her selfish attitude and began to doubt her judgment of the situation and the effect it was having on their lives. Jerry was depressed that his "Precious" had become this willful, selfish, egotistic person he hardly knew.

When Andrea was sent to jail, Jerry couldn't bring himself to visit her, at first. The thought of his darling little girl being behind bars was impossible for him to accept. At the same time, he hated what she had become, and found it impossible to reconcile the two. Irene began visiting Andrea as soon as she was permitted and kept it up at least once a week during the entire incarceration. She finally convinced Jerry that Andrea was the child he had always loved, even though he did not agree with his daughter's actions. By the time Andrea was released, they had reconciled and he welcomed her back home.

However, they all found that it was not easy for a 29-year-old independent woman to live with her parents. Andrea's lifestyle involved late night rehearsals and associating, again, with people whom her parents did not approve of. All this, and Andrea's continued strong willed attitude about her reinstatement as artistic director of Oxtales, strained the relationship between parents and daughter. Jerry and Irene's hope that Andrea would come to her senses, seek a less controversial position or even leave the Oxford area was not to be. Instead Andrea plunged into staging a new production, "The Trees," which apparently would be as controversial as "Snopes" had been. Once again, the community organizations and individuals that had so violently opposed "Snopes" were provoked and began even more zealous campaigns to shut down the production, Oxtales Theatre, and Andrea herself. The resumption of these strident protests centering on their daughter renewed Jerry and Irene's distress and discomfort over the way Andrea was living her life and the way it was affecting theirs.

Jerry and Irene were shocked and devastated by the death of their only child and wonder if there was some way they could have prevented it.

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