Arizona inmate executed after murdering 2 Elfrida girls in 1991

Gallery Image

FLORENCE (AP) — An inmate was executed Wednesday after being convicted of murdering two 13-year-old girls in a Elfrida where they were raped, strangled and stabbed before being dumped in a partly flooded mine shaft.

Richard Dale Stokley, 60, was put to death at a prison in Florence two decades after he and another man were convicted of murdering Mandy Meyers and Mary Snyder in 1991 in rural Cochise County.

Stokley had no formal last words but earlier expressed regret while speaking with members of the execution team during the lengthy setup time.

I do wish that I could die doing something meaningful, you know, this seems like such a waste,” Stokely said.

After the execution, the sister of victim Mary Snyder said she resented Stokley and lamented that her young sister had been killed.

She never got to learn how to drive. She never got to go to high school. She never went to prom, and she never met my kids,” Elisha Gonzales said.

The execution of Stokley was Arizona’s 34th since 1992. Daniel Cook was put to death on Aug. 8 in Arizona’s most recent execution.

U.S. Supreme Court rulings cleared the way for the lethal injection given to Stokley. On Tuesday, it denied two appeals on his behalf and declined without comment to block his execution.

In his final appeals, Stokley’s lawyers said he was entitled to a new hearing on sentencing evidence. They also said his constitutional rights were violated because the other man convicted in the case is free after serving 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the Arizona Supreme Court adequately considered evidence on possible leniency for Stokley. Prosecutors also defended the disparity in sentences by saying the other man negotiated a plea agreement.

The girls were killed after they left a July 4th holiday weekend community campout in Elfrida, saying they were going to a restroom. They never returned, instead going with Stokley and Randy Brazeal to the nearby ghost town, authorities said.

Acting Cochise County Sheriff Rod Rothrock, who was the lead detective on the case, said in a recent interview that circumstances of how the girls went with the men were never determined.

Stokley, who was 38 when the girls were killed, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. He also was convicted of sexual assault against a minor.

Brazeal, who was 19 when the girls were killed, was released from prison July 2, 2011, after serving his full 20-year sentence.

While Stokley said both men participated in the slayings, Brazeal denied involvement in the killings. However, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, avoiding a trial that the then-county attorney feared could result in an acquittal because DNA evidence was not yet ready.

Stokley has said he thought his life was worth saving, that he knew he had made “grave and irreversible errors” and that he was sorry he “was mixed up in these awful events that brought me to this.” He also said he was sorry for the victims and their families.

But he recently declined to ask the state clemency board to recommend that the governor either delay his execution or commute his death sentence in prison. A clemency request would be futile because the board hadn’t shown mercy to other death-row inmates, he told the board in a handwritten letter.

I don’t want to put anyone through that, especially since I’m convinced that … it’s pointless,” he wrote. “I reckon I know how to die, and if it’s my time, I’ll go without fanfare.”

AZ_Mom on Wed, 12/05/2012 - 12:58pm

I sure hope the family can find some closure. I know the one man is still out
there. I hope he makes restitution and does good with the rest of his time
here on earth. RIP Mandy and Mary.

Sumtingwong on Wed, 12/05/2012 - 7:33pm

Please tell us what restitution he could make?

Ken Adams on Fri, 12/07/2012 - 1:23pm

Cannot help but think that a person who has the mentality to kidnap, rape,
and murder two young girls will not do too much good with the rest of his
life. Just my view…

crazydoglady on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 10:30am

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving individual, too bad it took so long.
Without going into details, I happened to be in a place 20 years ago, with my
13 y/o daughter, when Stokley was being escorted out of a room. I didn’t even
know who he was coming out that door, but he just had the look of pure evil,
and immediately shielded my daughter from his line of vision. When I found
out a few minutes later who it was, I was horrified he had even been within a
few feet of my daughter. The other one who “served his time” and got
released… that is beyond me. May he never have a moment of peace until he
dies. I certainly would not want him living anywhere around my family. I know
the families of Mary and Mandy can never get over something like this, no
matter how many years pass. Nothing will ever give them back the lives that
might have been. Just so they know, there are people here who do remember and
still pray for them and their girls.

Text Resize

-A A +A