In April 2005, Stephen Stanko brutally beat and killed his live-in girlfriend, Laura Ling, and then beat and raped her 15-year-old daughter. Stanko left the girl for dead, took Ling’s car, and drove to the home a 74-year-old friend in Conway, South Carolina. Stanko shot the old man, stole his truck, and drove to Augusta, Georgia to attend The Masters golf tournament. Stanko was convicted for the two murders and is currently sitting on death row in at Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, South Carolina.
[Stephen Stanko’s case was explored in the book: Watch Mommy Die]
It is not Stanko’s first time in jail. He was sent to jail in 1996 and served more than eight years in prison for assault and kidnapping. During that time, Stanko co-wrote a book, “Living in Prison: A History of the Correctional System with an Insider’s View.” The co-writers were two criminal justice professors who provided an overview of the history, policies, rights and legal practices involved in the system. Stanko provided “a detailed look at prison life from the inside.” Stanko’s perspective is described as “a voice that is blunt but never preachy.” Living in Prison was published one year prior to Ling’s death. Dateline NBC will air its investigative report on Stanko on Friday, March 4 at 10pm.