On December 5, 1991, Richard Stokley was executed at Arizona State Prison for the murder of two 13-year-old girls.
Stokley and his accomplice, Randy Brazeal, were convicted of killing Mandy Meyers and Mary Snyder in 1991 in rural Cochise County. They had offered the girls a ride after a Fourth of July weekend fair, and then drove them out into the desert where they raped and murdered them before throwing their bodies down an abandoned mineshaft.
Brazeal, who was 19 at the time, turned himself in to authorities the day after the girls’ deaths, claiming that Stokley had held him hostage while he tortured and sexually assaulted the two teens.Stokley confessed to raping and strangling the girls, but argued that Brazeal was a willing participant and helped kill the girls and hide their bodies.
Investigators did not believe Brazeal’s story, but DNA testing in 1991 was very slow — and, since Brazeal had a right to a speedy trial, prosecutors did not want to risk the defendant being acquitted, so they cut a plea deal. Following the plea deal, Brazeal received a 20-year prison sentence for two counts of second-degree murder.
Shockingly, DNA results came in just a few weeks later — and revealed the presence of Brazeal’s semen inside Mandy. Cochise County prosecutors were eventually able to prove that Stokley had raped and killed one of the girls, and Brazeal raped both and killed one.
Brazeal was released from prison in July 2011, and was believed to have relocated to Arkansas to live with family members.
On the day Stokley was executed, he was finally pronounced dead at 11:12 A.M. This was well after the 10 A.M. scheduled execution time, due to the fact that prison officials and medical staff had difficulty locating a vein in Stokley’s left arm. After several attempts, staff were able to locate a vein in his groin and administer the cocktail of lethal drugs. He was 60 years old.
Stokley’s last meal consisted of porterhouse steak, French fries, fried okra, and a bleu cheese–dressing salad, biscuits, cream soda, and chocolate ice cream.
When reached by phone for a comment after the execution of Stokley, Brazeal responded, “Good riddance to him.”
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Main photo: Richard Stokley [Arizona Dept. of Corrections]