The following is a quote from Amazon.com’s listing for this book; Living in Prison : A History of the Correctional System with an Insider’s View by Stephen Stanko, Wayne Gillespie, Gordon A. Crews:
“…Can the morality of a nation really be judged by how it treats its prisoners? The United States has more people in prison than any other nation, and the nature of the American correctional system continues to be the subject of passionate debate…”
The book is apparently a survey of the history of the US correctional system written by two college professors and an inmate – Mr. Stanko. In the review for the book it says:
“…The strength of the work, however, is the powerful personalization of the prison experience provided by Stanko, who is currently incarcerated in South Carolina…”
Well, Steve Stanko is, as of this writing, not in prison. He was, in fact, released last year, in July, after serving 8 years of a 10-year sentence for kidnapping. He had a somewhat violent criminal history going back into the 90′s. He was to be considered under something amounting to house arrest – ankle bracelet and all – for at least two years.
It seems Steve Stanko was trying to do something with his life, starting a program to help youth offenders rehabilitate and go on the straight and narrow. Stanko had also written two novels and was looking for a publisher of his autobiography.
But this poster boy for rehabilitation and crusader for prison reform is not where he should be, right now.
He’s on the run, accused of rape, and two murders.
“…Arrest warrants charge Stephen Stanko, 37, with murder and criminal sexual conduct charges, Georgetown County Sheriff Lane Cribb said.
Laura Ling, 43, of Murrells Inlet, was found dead around 3 a.m. Friday shortly after police responded to a call from a teenager at the home who said she had been sexually assaulted there.
Police said Stanko fled in a stolen Ford Mustang, which was found Saturday morning in the driveway of a Conway home.
After Horry County police were unable to make contact with the resident, they entered the home where they discovered a 74-year-old man dead from a shotgun wound. Horry County Deputy Coroner Dan Bellamy identified the victim as Henry Lee Turner…”
Laura Ling is said to have been a librarian. I found a page at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library & Information Science website that may have been authored by her: The Virgin Mary in Medieval Manuscripts.
She was working for a public library at the time of her death. She’d begun teaching computer classes for senior citizens and was well-loved by her colleagues.
But her killer, Steve Stanko, he wrote a book. Why, he was an author. They had some sort of relationship, the nature of which would only be speculation. Speculation based on Ms. Ling being a librarian, perhaps somewhat retiring and sheltered as they can be. Speculation based on Stanko being yet another cool and manipulative psychopath – apparently one who is smarter than the average waste of DNA he cohabitated with in prison.
Speculation that suggests a story of a woman who was possibly very kind and open and willing to believe that the Stephen Stankos of the world can actually be rehabilitated.
Stephen Stanko is 6’3″ and weighs 192 lbs. He appears to have dark hair of medium length and wears glasses with aviator-style silver frames. News reports from April 9, 2005 – Saturday – indicate he was last known to be driving a 1996 Mazda B2300 extended cab pickup truck with South Carolina tags, tag number 709 PYJ. If you think you see him, the usual warnings about staying the hell away and calling 911 apply. Authorities speculate based on recent tips that he may be heading for North Carolina.
A side note – researching this has taught me how badly information can get bunged up when it’s blogged – I found this site – the Blogger News Network. It touts itself as the breaking news source for the blogosphere. That it may be, and I’ll certainly bookmark the site, but their article about Stanko and the crimes for which he is accused is pretty off the mark – the blogger who posted the article states in his intro that Stanko killed a 74-year-old woman and took her truck. Then he pasted the article which he found at Fox News that plainly says Stanko is thought to have murdered 74-year-old Henry Lee Turner, a male, took Turner’s truck, and is also killed Laura Ling, a 43-year-old woman. It’s just my opinion, but being a blogger does not mean you have the right to be lazy with the facts on anything. It’s the kind of sloppiness that allows pundits to sneer when info mentioned in a blog is discussed in the news.
“…He was last seen on Friday and is a determined author who has studied to be a serial killer. Public should consider him armed and dangerous. It is believed he may try to kill again…”
I first thought that to be a ridiculous-sounding statement in the context of an otherwise legitimate news blurb, but then it occurred to me that Stanko may have, in his way, done just that while in the care of the judicial system. It wouldn’t be the first time a middling criminal came out of lockup with his knowledge of how to kill and kill again refined and honed to a razors edge.
I do believe if Stephen Stanko isn’t caught soon that he will leave more death in his wake.
And when it comes to criminals like him, perhaps it’s time to let the retribution outweigh the restoration. I’m sure Stanko’s co-authors of Living in Prison : A History of the Correctional System with an Insider’s View thought that by having Stanko work with them they were contributing mightily to his proper “restoration” to society.
In reality their co-author was just another psycho who walked, and now appears to have killed, at will.
**UPDATE** Fugitive Stephen Stanko has been captured in Augusta Georgia. This is according to a news report on Fox News at 3:58 p.m. eastern time, April 12, 2005.
Stanko was wanted in the murders of 43-year-old Laura Ling, his housemate, and 74-year-old Henry Turner, and the rape of an unnamed teenaged girl. This update has been published as a separate bulletin at the Blogger News Network.