"A federal appeals court today upheld the death sentences of a Cochise County man who raped and strangled two teenage girls, then threw their bodies down an abandoned mine shaft near Elfrida, Arizona, in 1991.
'The unanimous ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirms a lower court’s decision that Richard D. Stokley should be put to death for the murders, which he committed with an accomplice.
'Stokley was eligible for the death penalty because the victims were minors, Stokley committed multiple murders, and he committed the crimes in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner. The panel rejected Stokley’s appeal claim that his sentencing counsel had been ineffective.
‘The date for Stokley's sentence to be carried out has not been set, but I am hopeful that this killer will be brought to justice without excessive delay from the federal system. The families of the victims deserve to see justice in a timely manner."