Son says Mesa mother was killed by boyfriend because she wanted to move out

Elizabeth Thomas was shot and killed while sitting on her couch in a home she rented in Mesa.
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 8:16 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Mesa mother was killed after being shot in the back of the head by her boyfriend, who said he did it because she was “nagging him,” but now her son says he feels like he did it because she was planning to move out.

Elizabeth Thomas was shot and killed while sitting on her couch in a home she rented in Mesa. She leaves behind her son Jacob who says he was with her the night before the incident enjoying their time watching a baseball game together. Now he is devastated. “I want to curl into a ball and not uncurl myself ever so I don’t know when it’ll sink in or if it’ll even sink in but I’m walking around in a haze,” her son Jacob Thomas said.

His world was turned upside down Tuesday. Police say his mother, Elizabeth, was shot in the head while sitting on her couch by her boyfriend, 48-year-old Timothy Staufenbeil.

Police say he called 911 and told them he was cleaning his gun when it accidentally went off. But he changed his story a few times. Later that day, during an interview with investigators, he said he saw her on the couch holding a gun to her head and rushed toward her to take it away, but it went off.

Court documents show he called a friend and admitted he shot her because she was annoying him for a few days. “She’s gone and she’s not coming back and it’s his fault and I can’t do anything about that,” Jacob said.

Jacob says the two were on and off the last couple of years and lived in this rental home off Sossaman and Guadalupe roads. He says his mom was planning on moving out and believes that caused some serious tension. “He was losing his free ride and that’s why he did this I think,” Jacob said. “This is a guy who didn’t have a job or any sort of income within the last five years. He stole from my mom and stole from her purse and her credit cards. I think she was fighting back and not taking any more of the insults.”

Elizabeth also leaves behind two dogs. Jacob says Tyson and Blue have been looking around the house for her. Unfortunately, due to Jacob’s living situation, he can’t keep the dogs. However, he hopes someone in the community will take the two pups into their home and love them as much as Elizabeth did. “I want them to get good homes so she and them can continue to live on,” he said.

If you are interested in adopting the dogs, you can contact Jacob at

Staufenbeil is facing a second-degree murder charge.