A man with three past sex offense convictions who is now facing another case and a parole violation asked an Alabama judge to forget about sending him back to prison and just castrate him as punishment.
Stephen Bunyard, 56, was released in 2017 after serving a sentence for a 2007 rape. He was arrested again for allegedly raping a 79-year-old woman in April. He denied this, but admitted to violating his parole by leaving the state, getting a DUI in Tennessee, and not paying court fees.
As punishment for the parole violation, Bunyard faces going back to prison. Madison County Circuit Judge James Smith sentenced him to 30 years behind bars, but Bunyard really, really wanted a shorter term, and asked for castration to make up the difference.
“I certainly don’t have the authority to order castration,” Judge Smith said.
Bunyard’s attorney, Larry Marsili, acknowledged the “unusual” nature of the wish, but said it’s what his client wanted.
“Even though it was an unusual request, my client seems well aware of what he was asking for,” he said.
Prosecutor Tim Douthit seemed surprised.
“I’ve been prosecuting sex crimes for a while, and this is a new one on me,” he said.
As crazy as it may sound, some jurisdictions do allow such a thing, Alabama just isn’t one of them. Several states, including Texas, Illinois, Ohio, an Arkansas, allow defendants to undergo the process as a means to negotiate a lesser prison sentence. One Alabama lawmaker proposed a law in 2016 that would have required castration for certain defendants. That bill would have applied to those 21 and older who are convicted of sexually assaulting children under 12, and would have forced the defendants to pay for their own castration. The bill did not pass.
According to records, Bunyard was also convicted in 1984 of sexually assaulting a senior citizen, and had a 1993 conviction for indecency with a 14-year-old girl. The 2007 case also involved a senior citizen. If Bunyard is convicted in the newest rape case, he would face life in prison without parole.
[Image via mugshot]