Richard Dale Stokley was executed Wednesday after being convicted of murdering two 13-year-old girls in rural Cochise County, The Associated Press reports.
In 1991, Stokley and Randy Brazeal reportedly lured Mandy Meyers and Mary Snyder into the desert where they raped and murdered the teens, according to prosecutors.
While Brazeal entered into a plea agreement and was spared the death penalty, Stokley was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.
Stokley was 38 when he and Brazeal, then 19, allegedly picked up the girls at a Fourth of July fair in Elfrida. They drove the teens out into the desert where they raped and murdered them, then threw their bodies down an abandoned mineshaft, according to prosecutors.
Brazeal saved his skin by entering into a plea agreement. He pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was released last year.
Stokley, on the other hand, wasn't offered a plea deal. He was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.
Under Arizona law, first-degree murder is a killing that was premeditated, meaning it was thought out or planned. While Stokley may not have planned to kill the girls from the get-go, first-degree murder requires only a moment of reflection.
First-degree murder is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. The death penalty is often applied in cases where the defendant shows no remorse or where there were multiple victims.
Stokley has said that he made "grave and irreversible errors," and that he was sorry he was "mixed up in these awful events," according to AP. He's also said he's sorry for his victims and their families.
However, he declined to ask the state board to recommend that the governor either delay his death sentence or commute it to life in prison. "I don't want to put anyone through that, especially since I'm convinced ... it's pointless," he wrote. "I reckon I know how to die, and if it's my time, I'll go without fanfare."
- Arizona inmate executed for girls' murders (The Arizona Republic)
- Death Penalty Challenges (FindLaw)
- First Degree Murder Overview (FindLaw)
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