Van Wisse pleads guilty in 1983 murder of Laurie Stout

On September 20, 1983, Austin Police were investigating the sexual assault and murder of 22-year-old mother Laurie Stout.  Her body was found inside an office building she was cleaning on South First Street.

According to police, 18-year-old UT student Robert Van Wisse had been there the night before registering for a class.

He became a suspect and was eventually charged with Stout's murder but he was nowhere to be found.

In late 2016 Van Wisse was added to the FBI's Top 10 "Most Wanted" list.

In January, he surrendered.  Authorities took him into custody at the U.S. port of entry in Laredo.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning, the now 52-year-old Van Wisse took a plea deal, admitting guilt in Stout's murder.

After the hearing, law enforcement and attorneys explained how they got to this point.

FBI agent Justin Noble says thanks to Van Wisse's "Most Wanted" status they were getting close to tracking him down -- and he says Van Wisse probably felt the law closing in on him because of the list.

"He definitely saw it.  There's no doubt he saw it on his computer, he had a billboard near his house," Noble said.

Attorney Perry Q. Minton says his firm has represented Van Wisse since 1983.  Minton's father was his attorney back then.  When Van Wisse was added to the top ten list, Minton took action.

"We reached out though a long process to get ahold of him to let him know that they felt apprehension was imminent and to advise him of what we thought of that fact," Minton said.

Eventually Minton got ahold of his client  and called Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore to negotiate Van Wisse's surrender.

"Honestly when he first called we basically said 'you know it is not the policy of this office to negotiate with fugitives,'" Moore said. 

"Overall this was the best route to take because he would be arrested in Mexico and pending several appeals...years of appeals, it would take awhile if we could even get him back," said deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Marcum.

Moore agreed to a plea deal of 30 years behind bars.

"I hope it was a satisfying moment for this family.  They have been in a lot of pain for a very long time," Moore said.

During the hearing, Laurie Stout's sister took the stand and told Van Wisse she hopes his days in prison are consumed with terror to remind him of the terror her sister felt.
               
Then Van Wisse himself spoke to the family saying he has no answer for happened -- he had never been violent before and hasn't been violent since.
              
Van Wisse said the crime will rightfully haunt his soul forever.  He said he doesn't expect to be forgiven and doesn't deserve to be.

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