By Dawn Cranfield
Arizona set to Execute Sixth Person in 2012
Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 5, Richard D. Stokley will be executed for the rape and murder of two 13-year-old Elfrida girls in 1991. Stokley, who turned himself in the day after the murders was 38 when he hoped for a speedy resolution to the case as he opined he would like to “get the needle and get it over with.” (murderpedia.org)
Justice does not move swiftly in this country; it is 21 years later, and Stokley will eat his traditional last meal tonight. Hopefully, there will not be any last-minute pleading by his attorneys; the US Supreme Court has already denied his appeals without comment. The families of these two girls deserve some peace after two decades.
However, peace will come at a price; Stokeley did not act alone in his miscreant behavior that night; he was joined by 20 year-old Randy Brazeal.
The two girls, Mandy Meyers and Mary Snyder, both 13, were camping out at a festival. Brazeal was also at the festival and knew Mandy as he had previously dated her older sister. Stokeley was working there as a stuntman in an Old West reenactment.
At some point during the evening, witnesses saw the girls talking to Brazeal, and around 1:00 a.m. they said they were going to the bathroom and then they disappeared.
By the time police caught up with Stokeley, they had already captured Brazeal; when they told Stokeley, he cracked, confessing to the crime. He told them how they had sex with the girls, but that he only had sex with “the brown haired girl” (Mandy). (murderpedia.org) He went on to confess how they had each killed one of the girls, respectively, by strangulation and choking; and then how he had kicked and stomped them
and then finally stabbed them each in the right eye. Additionally, he claimed Brazeal had sex with both girls.
When the girls’ nude bodies were found in an abandoned mine shaft, the story was confirmed.
Stokeley was convicted of murder and rape on victims less than 15, with the crime being found to be especially heinous and cruel, with no mitigating circumstances. He was found guilty on March 27, 1992, and sentenced to death on July 14, 1992.
Randy Brazeal, a man who was there, participated, and who had sex with both girls; was able to negotiate himself a sweet plea bargain and was sentenced to 20 years. He was released in 2011; for the same crime.
Brazeal would now be 41; he is a free man, afforded all of the same rights of anybody else who is free, aside from the fact that he is a convicted felon. In my opinion, 41 are fairly young; the two murdered girls would be 34 years old this year, a lifetime of family, children, romance and careers ahead of them.
So, one man is about to be executed tomorrow, another one will be spending the holidays with his family; and two families are likely thinking of the daughters they had to bury. It hardly seems like justice.