1796: Mastro Titta’s first execution of many 1944: Ardeatine Massacre

1998: Gerald Eugene Stano, misogynist psychopath

March 23rd, 2008 Lilo

(Thanks to the tireless Lilo of Lost In Lima Ohio and Perverted Primates for the guest post.)

On this date in 1998, the story of a boy named Paul ended in Florida’s electric chair.

Paul was born in 1951, in Schenectady, New York. He was the fifth child born to his mother, and would be the third she put up for adoption. At thirteen months old, Paul was malnourished and neglected both physically and emotionally to the point that county officials found him unfit to be adopted. But out of the slightest bit of luck, the small child caught the attention of Eugene and Norma Stano, who fought for six months to adopt the severely delayed child. And it was out of that luck that Paul became Gerald Eugene Stano.

Gerald Eugene Stano’s problems didn’t end with his new life with his adoptive parents; instead, he continued to develop a series of problems that would follow him, shaping his outlook on the world forever, and likely providing him with the excuses he needed to justify his actions later in life.

Gerald still wet the bed at ten, was the target for bullies and regularly laughed at by girls. Late in his life he would claim that women used to pull his hair, and even threw beer bottles at him, all without any provocation. He lagged behind in school, failing to graduate high school until he was 21 years old, and except for music class never achieved a grade higher than a C or D.

Yes, Gerald had a sad and difficult life, one that most people would find it easy to sympathize with. Despite his claims of being an outcast, Gerald flaunted his high opinion of himself, often going as far as to refer to himself as a “real Italian stallion”.

It seems that few really paid attention to Stano — not until March 25, 1980, when a woman by the name of Donna Hensley stumbled away from him, and walked into a police station.

Hensley would tell police that she was a prostitute, and had been approached by a man requesting her services. Once at her motel room, the two began to argue and the man ended up slicing her with a knife before insulting her and fleeing. Hensley was adamant that the man be found and charged.

An officer investigating the incident went looking for the prospective suspect, but ended the search with only a license plate for a car that matched the description. Following up with the plate number, the officer found the vehicle was registered to Gerald Eugene Stano, a 28-year-old man with a long arrest record but no convictions. Hensley gave a positive identification from Stano’s mug shot, and thus began investigation into a series of grisly murders.

On February 17, 1980 two college students had stumbled onto the decomposing remains of a young woman, and police had begun investigating the gruesome murder. The victim, 20-year-old Mary Carol Maher, was found in a remote area lying on her back, her arms at her side. Police believed she had been there for weeks, and upon moving the body discovered that she’d been repeatedly stabbed in the back, legs and chest.

During questioning for the assault on the prostitute, Stano, who fit the profile of the person sought for Maher’s slaying, was asked about the murder victim. Despite having confessed to the assault, Stano would only provide enough information to confirm that he’d previously seen Maher. But with more questioning, Stano broke and began replaying the scene out with the detective, even accompany the detective to the murder scene, and confirming the position of the body.

After returning to the police station, another detective suggested questioning Stano on a missing persons case, that of Toni Van Haddocks, a 26-year-old prostitute who had not been seen for some time. Stano denied any involvement in that case.

On April 15, 1980 a human skull was found in a garden by a Daytona resident, and a search of the area lead to clothing and more bones. Police would determine that these were the remains of Haddocks. Stano was again questioned and despite his first denials, later confessed to the murder, and would soon begin confessing to many more.

In the end, Stano admitted the gruesome murders of over 40 women, and was sentenced to death. After many failed appeals, his execution took place on March 23, 1998.

The death penalty has always been a very touchy subject. Many of its opponents believe that nothing justifies the taking of another person’s life, even if done by the state as a means of punishment. I agree that every life has value, but am personally compelled to ask whose life had more value — the victims that Stano murdered, or Stano himself?

My answer would favor the victims, and therefore I am resolved to believe that giving him any punishment less than what he received — death — would be an injustice to those who were killed by his hands.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Florida,Guest Writers,Infamous,Lethal Injection,Murder,Other Voices,Serial Killers,USA

6 thoughts on “1998: Gerald Eugene Stano, misogynist psychopath”

  1. ThommyMac says:

    I am not a troll and really have no firm opinion on the legal death penalty. I trashed a great life over drugs and ended up doing 5 years. Believe me, I can’t think of anything worse than life without parole. Folks may point at Richard Speck, but, come on. That is an anomaly and besides, it is still a hellish existence. Write it off as mindless bravado from a sick mind. If you have lost a loved one to a murder and the perp got life with out parole, take heart. That really is a living hell. You truly have my sympathy

  2. Stella says:

    I was in a business class with Gerald Eugene Stano at
    wissahickon high school, springhouse pa in 1970-71. He would wear a suit and tie to class which was odd for that era of hippies wearing moccasins and blue geans.

    It’s too bad that the school couselors did not pick up on this odd behavior which might have eliminated his criminal life.

  3. Buddy Borup says:

    Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.

  4. Lilo says:

    Apparently, reading isn’t your best talent… so I’ll point out the important piece and hopefully with a little luck, the little bulb in your head will go off:

    ” Gerald flaunted his high opinion of himself, often going as far as to refer to himself as a “real Italian stallion”.” <— notice that HE referred to HIMSELF? I didn’t call him that… I merely mentioned that he was so full of himself, that he called himself that.

    As for my being hateful, well- I’m not a tree hugging, shrink-wrapped, hippie that believes everyone is a gentle flower deserving of countless second chances, and big bear hugs. If your humble opinion is that my not fitting into that nutcase catagory means I’m an hateful person… so be it. You can cling to your anti DP stand, and I’ll continue to support the DP. I won’t judge you for it, regardless of the stupidity of your position…. or the fact that with my form of justice- we ensure no more repeat victims by the hands of men condemned to die, while with yours- its more of a “wait and count them up later on” thing.
    But please… when we’re relocating your born again killers and sending them off with chocolates and hugs- is there any way to ensure they end up in YOUR neighborhood, rather than mine?

  5. Adrian says:

    Your argument in favor of capital punishment is an angry, reprisal of an old, atavistic custom, viz. Lex Talion: “an eye for an eye”.

    Justice is not the same things as vengeance and the aim of the law is not the satiation of the victims’ understandable desire for retribution.

    But I have another objection to your opinion piece. You seem to exploit the tragedy of Eugene Stano’s benighted existence as an opportunity to express, covertly but unmistakably, your contempt for Italian males by invoking the stereotype of the misogynistic, violent “Italian Stallion”. In this connection I think it is relevant to point out that Mr. Stano was born Paul Zeininger. Apparently, you think this kind of disparagement is fitting recompense for the Stanos’ act of empathy (obviously, not entirely altruistic) in adopting a malnourished orphan who showed poor prospects from the day of his birth.

    In short–and this is admittedly pure ad hominem–you seem like a hateful person with a tendency to derive argument from anger. That puts the cart before the horse but probably you don’t care.

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