Winford LaVern Stokes is one slippery murderer. In fact, he slipped custody three times in his short career as a serial killer. It got so confusing, I had to create an infographic.
Born March 21, 1951, Stokes was still a teenager when he was involved in his first murder. In 1969, he and some buddies robbed a tavern and killed the owner. Stokes was inside with a gun, but didn’t pull the trigger. He was arrested and sent to a secure hospital. Five months later, Stokes and 4 other men broke out. It was almost a year later that he was sentenced to 4 years for robbery and 5 years for manslaughter. The sentences were concurrent, so he was out in 5.
It wasn’t long before he attacked (and in my opinion, tried to kill) an old man with a hammer. Less than a week later, he murders an elderly woman. Then Stokes is picked up for the hammer attack on the man, and escapes custody again. While out, he murders another woman. He’s arrested again, since he’s still on the lam. Cops charge Stokes with two counts of murder. And this murderer escapes again!
Caught for the last time, Stokes is sentenced at two different trials. He is found guilty in both. The appeals begin, and he loses every one. Including a stay of execution on the actual day scheduled for execution.
But finally his appeals run out. So does his time. Stokes is executed on May 11, 1990. The local radio station covers the execution after first covering a traffic jam. Almost no one cares.