Death Row

Richard Stokley Executed for Rape and Murder of Two Teenagers; Partner-in-Crime Out Free

Richard Stokley was executed today at the state prison in Florence, more than 21 years after he and an accomplice kidnapped, raped, and murdered two 13-year-old girls in Cochise County.

While Stokley, 60, got the state's lethal juice today, his accomplice in those crimes, Randy Brazeal, is currently a free man.

According to an Arizona Department of Corrections account, Stokley and Brazeal kidnapped the two 13-year-old girls on July 8, 1991, near the community of Elfrida in the southeastern part of the state.

"Fearing the consequences [from raping the girls], they agreed to kill the girls, and each man strangled one of the girls," ADOC's account says. "To ensure that the victims were dead, Stokley repeatedly stomped on them, and stabbed each of them in the right eye. Stokley and Brazeal then threw the bodies down a water-filled mine shaft."

Brazeal, now 41 years old, was released from prison last summer after serving almost his entire 20-year sentence.

According to news accounts from the time of Brazeal's release, he took a plea deal for the 20-year sentence, because DNA processing wasn't that speedy in those days, and prosecutors were thinking Brazeal could have a legitimate claim to his right of a speedy trial being violated.

Stokley took the confession route, which landed him in the execution chamber in Florence this morning.

Still, Stokley tried the appeals process on his execution, and the Supreme Court gave Arizona the green-light yesterday to juice Stokley.

Stokley was the sixth person executed by the state this year, joining Robert Moorman, Robert Towery, Thomas Kemp, Samuel Lopez, and Daniel Cook.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley