Roger Dale Stafford

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Roger Dale Stafford
Born November 4, 1951
Died July 1, 1995(1995-07-01) (aged 43)
Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma
Cause of death Lethal injection
Criminal penalty Capital Punishment
Date June 22-July, 1978
Country United States
State(s) Oklahoma
Killed 9
Weapons Firearm

Roger Dale Stafford (November 4, 1951 – July 1, 1995) was a convicted spree killer and serial killer sentenced to death and executed for the 1978 Lorenz-Sirloin Stockade murders.[1]


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.[2] 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.[1]

Three weeks later, he murdered six employees at a Sirloin Stockade restaurant in Oklahoma City during a robbery.[3]

Capture and trial[edit]

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.[4] On Oct. 17, 1979 he was convicted of all nine murders, and sentenced to death.[5] 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.[3]


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.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Grimes, Jeanne (20 June 2013). "Deadly summer of 78". The Purcell Register. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Speaks, Shoalanda (25 June 2016). "Shoals Crime: Murder at McDonald's". Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Thornton, Anthony (15 July 2008). "Drifter shoots, kills 6 workers at steak house (July 16, 1978)". NewsOK. Archived from the original on 15 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "Executed Inmates: Stafford". Tulsa World. Archived from the original on 15 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  5. ^ Thornton, Tony. "Sirloin Stockade murders timeline". NewsOk. Archived from the original on 15 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  6. ^ 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.