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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.”