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Cochise deputy: Man on death row deserves sentence

PHOENIX -- Mandy Meyers and Mary Snyder were at a July Fourth campout in Elfrida when they were kidnapped, raped and strangled. Their bodies were then stabbed and dumped into a mine shaft.

Cochise County Chief Deputy Rod Rothrock was the lead investigator in the case against Richard Dale Stokley, who is cheduled to be executed at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

"In my interview with Stokley, he confessed to the murders of the girls," said Rothrock.

Rothrock said that Stokley was accompanying him to show him where the bodies were. When they arrived, the bodies had already been discovered by other deputies.

Stokley's attorneys had argued that their client's rights were violated because an accomplice, Randy Brazeal, reached a plea agreement.

Brazeal originally said that Stokley killed both girls. After the agreement was reached, DNA evidence showed that each man participated in the killings. As part of the agreement, Brazeal served 20 years in prison, then was released.

Rothrock believes Brazeal also deserved the death penalty.

"Both defendants were equally as guilty, and both deserved the same sentence," he said. "But that was a matter of plea bargains and attorneys, et cetera."

Rothrock said Brazeal is living in Arkansas.

The mother of one of the victims has asked Rothrock to accompany her to the execution, so he will be a witness when Stokley is put to death.

"I don't necessarily have any overwhelming desire to see anyone die," Rothrock said. "But I do believe that Mr. Stokely certainly earned the sentence that he received, and I believe that his execution will bring some closure to the families of the victims."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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