Winford Stokes Executed For 3 Missouri Murders

Winford Stokes was executed by the State of Missouri for three murders

According to court documents Winford Stokes would murder Ignatius DiManuele and would plead guilty to manslaughter. Once out of prison Stokes would murder 73 year old Marie Montgomery. Two months later he would murder Pamela Benda.

Winford Stokes would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Winford Stokes would be executed by lethal injection on May 11 1990

Winford Stokes Photos

Winford Stokes - Missouri

Winford Stokes Case

A junior high school dropout who spent 10 years on death row was executed by lethal injection Friday for killing a divorced mother he met in a bar and took back to her apartment.

Winford Stokes, 39, was pronounced dead at 9:39 p.m. at Potosi Correctional Center, said Dale Riley, assistant director of the Division of Adult Institutions in Missouri.

‘Stokes made no last statements. He was calm throughout the entire process,’ Riley said.

The execution came two hours after the Supreme Court vacated a stay granted by a lower court earlier in the week.

Winford Stokes, sentenced to prison in the fatal shooting of a widow in 1977 and a bar owner in 1969, was placed on death row Jan. 17, 1980, for the murder of Pamela R. Benda, 33, a divorced mother of three. Stokes met her in a bar and they went to her apartment

The execution was the 125th in the United States since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, and the second in Missouri this year.

‘The death warrant (was) read at 9:31 p.m.,’ Riley said. ‘The first lethal dosage administered at 9:36 p.m. death was pronounced at 9:39 p.m.

Riley said the execution equipment worked without malfunctions. During the execution of a man in Florida May 4, the electric chair apparatus worked improperly, causing flames to shoot up from the headgear.

‘There were no absolutely glitches in the process,’ Riley said of Stokes’ execution. ‘Everything proceeded exactly as scheduled.’

The state had 12 witnesses, Riley said. Winford Stokes requested no one to witness his death.

The St. Louis native ordered a last meal of fried catfish, French fries, cole slaw and a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi, but did not ask for any dessert.

Riley said Stokes asked for a sedative and received one at 7:20 p.m. His wife Evette and his mother-in-law visited him earlier in the day, but they left at 6 p.m. and were not present for the execution.

Riley said the death row inmate seemed in a good mood earlier Friday, had asked for cigarettes and Pepsi Cola to be brought to his isolation cell, and spent the morning watching television

Winford Stokes had been scheduled for death at 12:01 a.m. Friday, but a stay was issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge George Gunn Jr. in St. Louis — the same day the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the condemned man.

State Attorney General William Webster’s office filed a petition with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that the stay be lifted.

A three-judge panel upheld the stay earlier Friday, and the full court declined early in the evening to overturn Gunn’s decision.

But the Supreme Court issued an order at 7:25 p.m. that the stay be lifted, said Mary Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s office.

Benda, a mother of three, was strangled and stabbed, and her nude body was found Feb. 21, 1978, on the bedroom floor of her apartment in University City, a suburb of St. Louis.

Benda, employed as a waitress at the Washington University Faculty Club, met Stokes in a bar, and the two went to her apartment. Her body was found with a pillow case over her head and an apron wrapped around her neck.

One month before he was convicted in Benda’s murder, Stokes pleaded guilty to the 1977 fatal shooting of Marie Montgomery, 77, a St. Louis widow. He received a 50-year prison sentence on a second-degree murder charge in that case

Winford Stokes previously had served six years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter and other charges in the fatal shooting of a St. Louis tavern owner in 1969.

Winford Stokes was one of 10 children and attended school only through the eighth grade.

After Webster’s office filed the petition for the stay to be vacated, Stokes had prepared for possible execution early Friday morning. He was served a dinner of sirloin steak, broccoli with cheese sauce, a salad with dressing, strawberry shortcake and a 2-liter bottle of cola Thursday night, Riley said.

The prisoner also was given a sedative and visited with his wife and mother-in-law, Riley said. He remained calm and was not upset about the proceedings, Riley said. He did not request a visit from a chaplain.

The three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court conferred via telephone conference call Thursday night and announced at 10:45 p.m. they would issue their decision Friday.

Winford Stokes, 39, was pronounced dead at 9:39 p.m. at Potosi Correctional Center, said Dale Riley, assistant director of the Division of Adult Institutions in Missouri.

The execution came two hours after the Supreme Court vacated a stay granted by a lower court earlier in the week.

Winford Stokes, sentenced to prison in the fatal shooting of a widow in 1977 and a bar owner in 1969, was placed on death row Jan. 17, 1980, for the murder of Pamela R. Benda, 33, a divorced mother of three. Stokes met her in a bar and they went to her apartment.

The execution was the 125th in the United States since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, and the second in Missouri this year.

The St. Louis native ordered a last meal of fried catfish, French fries, cole slaw and a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi, but did not ask for any dessert.

Riley said the death row inmate seemed in a good mood earlier Friday, had asked for cigarettes and Pepsi Cola to be brought to his isolation cell, and spent the morning watching television.

Stokes had been scheduled for death at 12:01 a.m. Friday, but a stay was issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge George Gunn Jr. in St. Louis — the same day the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the condemned man.

State Attorney General William Webster’s office filed a petition with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that the stay be lifted.

A three-judge panel upheld the stay earlier Friday, and the full court declined early in the evening to overturn Gunn’s decision.

But the Supreme Court issued an order at 7:25 p.m. that the stay be lifted, said Mary Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s office.

Benda, a mother of three, was strangled and stabbed, and her nude body was found Feb. 21, 1978, on the bedroom floor of her apartment in University City, a suburb of St. Louis.

Benda, employed as a waitress at the Washington University Faculty Club, met Stokes in a bar, and the two went to her apartment. Her body was found with a pillow case over her head and an apron wrapped around her neck.

One month before he was convicted in Benda’s murder, Stokes pleaded guilty to the 1977 fatal shooting of Marie Montgomery, 77, a St. Louis widow. He received a 50-year prison sentence on a second-degree murder charge in that case.

Stokes previously had served six years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter and other charges in the fatal shooting of a St. Louis tavern owner in 1969.

Stokes was one of 10 children and attended school only through the eighth grade

After Webster’s office filed the petition for the stay to be vacated, Stokes had prepared for possible execution early Friday morning. He was served a dinner of sirloin steak, broccoli with cheese sauce, a salad with dressing, strawberry shortcake and a 2-liter bottle of cola Thursday night, Riley said.

The prisoner also was given a sedative and visited with his wife and mother-in-law, Riley said. He remained calm and was not upset about the proceedings, Riley said. He did not request a visit from a chaplain.

The three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court conferred via telephone conference call Thursday night and announced at 10:45 p.m. they would issue their decision Friday

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1990/05/11/Condemned-man-executed-for-1978-killing/2964642398400/

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