A man who had been living the suburban dream in the East Bay with twin daughters and a doctor husband ended up in a messy divorce. And perhaps in a bid for custody of their children, his husband turned him in to police for a crime he had privately confessed to years earlier.

The story has more than a tinge of Lifetime movie vibes. Gay husbands living in Danville, raising twin girls in a $2 million home, end up in a bitter custody battle amid a divorce. And one of them, who was originally from Kansas City, had a dark secret that would come back to haunt him and upend his life.

Timothy Stephenson, 50, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder this month in a 1998 Kansas City case that had gone cold for over 20 years. He'll now serve 16 years in prison with credit for time served.

Stephenson was the last person seen with 26-year-old Randy Oliphant, leaving the Dixie Belle, a Kansas City gay bar, on January 17, 1998. As the Kansas City Star reported after Stephenson's extradition, Oliphant may have been involved with the drug trade, possibly as a drug mule, and allegedly owed some people money.

The exact motive for Stephenson killing Oliphant has never been reported, but drugs could have been a factor. Oliphant's mother told police that her son believed there were "hits" out on him prior to his death.

But Stephenson and Oliphant returned to Stephenson's home on that January night in 1998, and Stephenson would end up shooting Oliphant in the bathroom. He then disposed of Oliphant's body in a rural area of Benton County, Missouri, where it was discovered by fishermen two months later with shotgun pellets in the torso.

Not long after the crime, Stephenson sold a Jeep he owned, and as police investigated the murder in 1998, they learned from the new owners of the car that pieces of carpet had been removed from over the rear wheel wells. Police took samples from the vehicle, and even found some blood, but they were not able to connect this to Oliphant or Stephenson using DNA technology available at the time.

Timothy Stephenson. Photo via Benton County Sheriff's Office

Stephenson was questioned about Oliphant's disappearance but never arrested. As CNN explains, Stephenson told police that he had taken Oliphant home but after their encounter he had driven Oliphant to another bar. Cellphone evidence at the time showed that Stephenson had gone to rural Benton County, but he still managed to escape charges for over two decades.

Stephenson moved to Northern California, and met and married Dr. Joseph Ginejko, an emergency room physician, in 2008. The two were photographed by an AP photographer with their twin baby girls at the San Francisco Pride Parade in 2013, as seen here.

Sometime in 2014, as Ginejko would tell investigators, Stephenson confessed to him that he had killed a man and gotten away with it in 1998. Six years later, Ginejko filed for divorce and got a domestic violence restraining order against Stephenson, in January 2020.

Likely seeking sole custody of their twin daughters, who are now 11 years old, Ginejko told Kansas City police what Stephenson had told him. Police then got Ginejko to agree to wear a wire and see if he could get Stephenson to confess again.

The two met in April 2021, as CNN reports via court documents, and after Ginejko asked Stephenson about his confession seven years earlier, and why he killed Oliphant, Stephenson "became paranoid" and asked if Ginejko was wearing a wire. After not finding one, Stephenson gave a series of conflicting answers, saying that an ex-boyfriend had actually committed the crime, among other things.

But Stephenson's ultimate arrest in 2022 came after a new DNA profile was developed for Oliphant, and forensic evidence from the Jeep was retested.

As the Kansas City Star reports, Stephenson was initially under house arrest following his extradition, living with an aunt in rural Benton County, about 75 miles southeast of KC. But the aunt reportedly alerted police that Stephenson was "having parties and using drugs," and officers arrived at the home to find Stephenson "in his bedroom smoking meth out of a glass pipe" with $7,000 in cash in his closet.

He was subsequently taken to Benton County jail, and he was indicted by a grand jury for second-degree murder soon after. His attorney, Stacey Shaw, had initially told the Star she thought charges would be fully dismissed, and she described her client as "all Starburst and sprinkles,” and "just the most delightful person I’ve met in a long time."

Nearly two years later, Stephenson has taken a plea deal, as the Star reports. With time served, from the sound of it, Stephenson will be out in 14 years.