Gerald Stano

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Gerald Stano
Gerald Eugene Stano.jpg
BornPaul Zeininger
September 12, 1951
Schenectady, New York
Died (aged 46)
Starke, Florida
Cause of deathElectric chair
Weight230 lb (104 kg)
Criminal penaltyDeath
Span of crimes
1969–February 1980
CountryUnited States
State(s)Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Date apprehended
April 1, 1980
Imprisoned atFlorida State Prison

Gerald Eugene Stano (September 12, 1951 – March 23, 1998) was an American convicted serial killer. He killed at least 22 women; he confessed to killing 41.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Schenectady, New York. His given name at birth was Paul Zeininger. His natural mother neglected him to such an extent that when she finally gave him up for adoption when he was six months old, county doctors declared him unadoptable because he was functioning at what they described as "an animalistic level", even ingesting his own faeces to survive. His mother had four other children before him - all of them were given for adoption. He eventually was adopted by Norma Stano, a nurse, who renamed him Gerald Eugene Stano.

By all accounts, the Stanos were loving parents, but discipline problems nevertheless plagued their adopted son all his life. He earned C's and D's in all subjects in school (except music, at which he excelled). He was a bed wetter until the age of 10. [1] He lied compulsively and was once caught stealing money from his father's wallet to pay fellow members of the track and field team to finish behind him, so he would not be viewed as a complete failure. During his juvenility he had a problem in relations with other kids of his age and often was an object for bullies and mockery. At the age of 14-15 he was arrested for false fire alarm and later for throwing rocks at cars from a highway bridge. He graduated high school at the age of 21 and did not attend college. After having received a High School Diploma he enrolled himself in a computer school. He graduated and started working in a local Hospital but soon after was fired for stealing money from his co-workers. After moving with his parents to Ormond Beach, FL he was changing jobs one after other mostly being fired for stealing money or for being late. [1]


Officially, Stano admitted that he began killing in the early 1970s, when he was in his 20s but also claimed to have begun killing in the late 1960s, at the age of 18. Several girls had gone missing in Stano's area of residence at that time, but since insufficient physical evidence was found when these claims were investigated almost 20 years later, Stano was never charged. He was most active in Florida and New Jersey. He was arrested after a woman named Donna Hensley had come to the police station bleeding and had accused Stano of having sliced her. [2][3]Stano admitted his first murder was made in New Jersey in 1969. He also confessed to have killed six other women in Pennsylvania. After his moving to Florida he may have murdered up to 30 or more women, one of those gruesome killing was the 1973 stabbing of 17-year-old hitchhiker Cathy Lee Scharf. [2] By his 29th birthday, he was in prison for allegedly murdering 41 women. His victims were killed by different methods, such as gunshots, strangulation, and stabbing, but none of them were ever raped.[4] He was housed with fellow serial killer Ted Bundy until Bundy's execution in 1989.


Stano was executed by electric chair on March 23, 1998 in Florida State Prison. For his final meal Stano requested Delmonico steak, a baked potato with sour cream and bacon bits, tossed salad with blue cheese dressing, lima beans, a half gallon of mint chocolate-chip ice cream, and 2 litres of Pepsi.[5] Stano's final statement proclaimed innocence and directed blame for his false confessions at the lead investigator, Paul Crow. He stated:


Controversy has long accompanied Gerald Stano's criminal history, with some[who?] believing that Stano was actually a 'serial confessor', including his arresting officer, Detective James Gadberry, who challenged the decision to accept Stano's first confessions as valid and, in 1986, signed a legal affidavit stating unequivocally that Sergeant Paul Crow was responsible for "spoon feeding" Stano the intimate details of unsolved homicides. According to Gadberry's affidavit, Stano merely parroted the information back to Crow while other veteran homicide officers later made statements to the effect that, they too, had witnessed Paul Crow 'helping' Stano to confess to crimes he had not committed.

Crow's colleagues[who?] recalled how he actively gathered information on unsolved or "cold case" murders from foreign jurisdictions. During sworn testimony in Orlando Federal Appeals Court in 1993, Crow himself recalled using copies of stories from the local newspaper to locate details about murders to which Stano later confessed, including the murder for which Stano was later executed.

In 1995, Crow was removed from office by a grand jury appointed by Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, citing corruption.

Further controversy surrounded the fact that Stano, in spite of his 41 murder confessions, was brought to trial for just one homicide: that of 17-year-old Cathy Lee Scharf, who was murdered in December 1973. A conspicuous lack of physical evidence corroborating Stano's confessions made it virtually impossible for jurisdictions in Florida to prosecute, and Stano's previous convictions were exclusively the result of his own guilty pleas.[citation needed]

Following a hung jury, prosecutors introduced the testimony of a jailhouse informant, Clarence Zacke, who was later discredited when another man against whom he had testified, Wilton Dedge, was released after serving 22 years for rape; lawyers for the Innocence Project established that his DNA did not match that found on the victim.[6]

During a secretly recorded conversation with freelance reporter Arthur Nash in 1997, Zacke admitted that he had lied regarding Stano and other defendants, including Wilton Dedge. He said his testimony had been fabricated with the assistance of two county prosecutors, who offered him incentives in exchange for testimony.[citation needed]

In late 2007, an FBI lab report surfaced which concluded that Stano could not have been the source of unidentified Caucasian pubic hairs that were recovered from Scharf's body. The report was never presented as evidence by the public defender representing Stano. The source of the pubic hairs was not identified, and they were destroyed shortly after Stano's execution in the Florida electric chair in 1998.


  1. ^ a b Gerald Eugene STANO, information, PDF Retrieved on 30 Jan 2018
  3. ^ 1998: Gerald Eugene Stano, misogynist psychopath Retrieved on 30 Jan 2018
  4. ^ "I CAN'T STAND A BITCHY CHICK" Retrieved on 30 Jan 2018
  5. ^ Michael Griffin (March 23, 1998). "Execution flurry begins". The Orlando Sentinel. p. 1. Retrieved 27 July 2017 – via access publication – behind paywall
  6. ^ "Wilton Dedge". Innocence Project. Retrieved 27 July 2017.


External links[edit]