Roger Dale Stafford

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Roger Dale Stafford
Roger Dale Stafford.png
Booking Photo 1979
Born November 4, 1951
Died July 1, 1995(1995-07-01) (aged 43)
Oklahoma State Penitentiary,
McAlester, Oklahoma
Cause of death Lethal injection
Criminal penalty Death
Victims 9+
Span of crimes
Country United States
State(s) Oklahoma, Alabama, possibly others
Weapons Firearm

Roger Dale Stafford (November 4, 1951 – July 1, 1995) was a convicted spree killer and serial killer executed for the 1978 murders of the Lorenz Family and nine employees of a Sirloin Stockade restaurant in Oklahoma.[1] Stafford never acknowledged his guilt, but Stafford's wife, Verna, implicated him in a total of 34 murders in seven different states.[2]


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 a McDonald's restaurant in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Berry was shot four times and the perpetrator robbed the restaurant of US$1,390.00.[3] This crime remained unsolved until four years after the incident, when Stafford and his brother Harold were implicated by Dale's wife, Verna. Stafford was never prosecuted for Berry's murder because of the Oklahoma murder convictions.[2]

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.[4]

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.[5] On Oct. 17, 1979, he was convicted of all nine murders, and sentenced to death.[6] 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). Stafford married again—twice—while awaiting execution.[4]


Stafford was executed in Oklahoma by lethal injection on July 1, 1995. In his final moments, Stafford reportedly spoke in tongues to his third wife.[7]

Less than two weeks later, Assistant Attorney General Sandy Howard received 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 and signed "Roger Dale Stafford 103767".[8] Investigators traced the certificate's origin to a Sirloin Stockade restaurant in El Reno, Oklahoma, and determined that it had been mailed from McAlester, Oklahoma (where Stafford was imprisoned) on July 3, two days after Stafford's execution.[8]

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. ^ a b "Victim's Family Lacks Closure After Execution". 1995-07-16. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  3. ^ Speaks, Shoalanda (25 June 2016). "Shoals Crime: Murder at McDonald's". Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Executed Inmates: Stafford". Tulsa World. Archived from the original on 15 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  6. ^ Thornton, Tony. "Sirloin Stockade murders timeline". NewsOk. Archived from the original on 15 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Drifter shoots, kills 6 workers at steak house (July 16, 1978)". 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  8. ^ a b 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.