A killer's execution: Families react
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Craig Smith
FLORENCE, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - To Patty Hancock, standing in front of a news conference Wednesday morning was a painful mix.
"I feel bad that we even have to be here today because of this, but I also feel better knowing that he'll never get out and never hurt anyone's children again."
She was at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, with her family and the family of 13-year-old Mary Snyder.
They had just watched Richard Dale Stokley die by lethal injection for killing Mary Snyder, and Hancock's daughter Mandy Meyers in 1991. It happened near the small town of Elfrida.
The murders were so brutal, the young girls lost so long ago, the wait for the murder's execution so long, no one can truly know how the families feel, but the families themselves.
But one emotion is clear: relief.
Richard Stokley died in a clean clinical environment, his life sapped away by powerful drugs.
13-year-old Mandy Meyers and her friend Mary Snyder died after sexual assault, strangulation, and torture; their bodies thrown down an old mine shaft full of water.
Mandy Meyers was Patty Hancock's daughter.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Hancock: "What was it like watching Stokley basically fade away up there?"
She said, "It was easier than watching them putting my 13 year old daughter in the ground. I figure if I can do that, I can do anything."
The families are sadly aware of the awful arithmetic of these murders. The girls were 13 when they died. Stokely has more than 20 years in prison. The girls would be 34 now and living adult lives if not for Stokley and Randy Brazeal.
Mary Snyder's sister Elisha Gonzales said, "I lost not only my sister but my only sibling. She didn't get to celebrate 20 years of holidays and birthdays. She didn't get married. She didn't have children of her own and I did not get to become an aunt."
Though Stokely is gone, Randy Brazeal still haunts the families. He's out of prison now, thanks to a plea bargain that made him serve just 20 years.
Stokely had no formal last words. He never looked at the families, but as prison workers prepared the IVs for the execution drugs he said, "I do wish I could die doing something significant. You know, this seems like such a waste."
Patty Hancock says if he had simply said, "I'm sorry," she would have had something remarkable in return.
"He could have said to the mothers -- two little words and I've had told him I forgive him."
Craig Smith asked: "That was in you? You could have?"
Hancock: "Yeah, well I have to because I need to secure my place in heaven so I can see my Mandy again. I don't forgive him for him, I forgive him for me."
Now Patty Hancock said this Christmas she'll retire the worn stocking Mandy loved and replace it with a symbol of life moving on.
"I'm gonna get me a new stocking for my Mandy and hang it up, but it's gonna be a new one."