Roger Dale Stafford
|Roger Dale Stafford|
|Born||November 4, 1951|
|Died||July 1, 1995
Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma
|Cause of death||Lethal injection|
|Criminal penalty||Capital Punishment|
|Date||June 22-July, 1978|
Stafford began his killing spree on January 12, 1974 by killing 21-year-old Jimmy Earl Berry, a student at The University of North Alabama, working as an assistant manager at the McDonald's restaurant in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Stafford, 27 years old at time, was charged with shooting Berry four times and robbing the restaurant of $1390.00. The crime referred to as "The McDonald's murder", remained unsolved until four years after the incident, when Stafford was implicated by his wife Verna. It was believed by Muscle Shoals police that his brother Harold was also involved. He was never extradited to Alabama to stand trial because of the Oklahoma murder convictions. He continued on with his murder spree along with his wife, Verna, and brother, Harold, on June 22, 1978. His wife flagged down the Lorenz family on the side of Interstate 35 near Purcell, Oklahoma, when Melvin Lorenz, 38, his wife, Linda, 31, and their son Richard, 12, were traveling to North Dakota for the funeral of Melvin Lorenz's mother. After the Lorenz family stopped to help, Stafford then robbed and murdered the entire family.
Three weeks later, he murdered six employees at a Sirloin Stockade restaurant in Oklahoma City during a robbery.
Capture and trial
Six days after the Sirloin Stockade robbery, Harold Stafford died in a motorcycle accident in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Police traced a woman who went to see his body at a local funeral home to Chicago, Illinois, where they found and arrested Verna Stafford. They soon apprehended Roger Stafford as well. On Oct. 17, 1979 he was convicted of all nine murders, and sentenced to death. His wife Verna testified against him, and divorced him while he was on death row. (She was sentenced to two life terms for her part in the crimes.) He married two more times while awaiting execution.
Stafford was executed in Oklahoma by lethal injection on July 1, 1995. In his final moments, Stafford is reported to have spoken in tongues to his third wife. Just days after the execution, Assistant Attorney General Sandy Howard, charged with fighting Stafford's appeals received in the mail, a $5 Sirloin Stockade gift certificate with the message "Hey, you got away with it. I am murder (sic) and you help (sic) do it! I am innocent and you know it." written on the back. The message, in Stafford's verified handwriting, was signed "Roger Dale Stafford 103767". Investigators discovered the certificate was purchased at a Sirloin Stockade restaurant in El Reno, Oklahoma, and was subsequently mailed from McAlester, Oklahoma on July 3, 1995.
- Patrick Sherrill – murdered 14 people in an Edmond, Oklahoma post office before committing suicide.
- Timothy McVeigh – bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. McVeigh was executed by the federal government.
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- Jenkins, Ron (14 July 1995). "Stafford Sent "Gift" to Prosecutor Certificate Received After Execution". NewsOk. Archived from the original on 15 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.