Cary Stayner was a serial killer who began perpetrating his morbid acts in February 1999 and was apprehended in July, that same year. During his trials, no actual reason was found to have been behind his actions other than he always fantasized about harming women. Although he confessed to all the murder charges, he also pleaded insanity. However, his plea was ignored and he was sentenced to death.
He is one of the many cases of the American plague: serial killing. Serial killing has been in the history of America for a long time. Like most serial killers, Cary carefully chose his victims who were all females and were killed by either strangulation or a cut through the neck. Let us look deeper into the life and crimes of Cary Stayner, keep reading!
Cary Stayner’s Biography
Cary Stayner was born Carry Anthony Stayner on August 13, 1961, to Kay and Delbert Stayner in the Merced neighborhood in California, United States. He had a younger brother named Steven. Much is not known about the educational background of Cary Stayner, as there are no records of any schools he might have attended.
However, with regards to his childhood, it is known that he spent most of the time alone due to rejection. This was because his parents paid less attention to him, after the abduction of Steven, his younger brother. Steven, Cary’s younger brother was abducted on December 4, 1972, by two men, Kenneth Parnell and his co-worker, Edward Ervin Murphy. There was no record of any ransom being demanded by the kidnappers, rather one of them adopted Stephen. Parnell told Steven that his parents could no longer take care of him, so they gave him to Parnell, his new guardian.
While Stephen was kidnapped he was kept only a hundred feet from his grandmother’s home, and he was oblivious to this. Stephen lived with Parnell for 7 years as his son, bearing the name Dennis and being sexually abused by his new father repeatedly. In February 1980, Parnell took on a new recruit named Timothy White. Timothy was only five years old when he was abducted and Steven couldn’t stand to watch the same fate befall the young lad, so he planned and escaped with Timothy. After the successful escape, he and Timothy went to report to the police, who reunited both boys with their parents.
Despite reuniting with his parents, Steven died in a motorbike accident in 1989. During his time in captivity, Cary was away at his uncle’s house. His uncle named Jesse, was, unfortunately, a child molester and allegedly harassed his nephew severally. But he too would become the second death in the Stayner family when he was murdered a year after his younger nephew’s death in 1990.
Life and Crimes of The American Serial Killer
Prior to the serial killings, Cary Stayner had no criminal records. He was once charged with possession of some illegal and hard substances in 1997 but the charges were later dropped. With such a clean slate, when the murders occurred, the police didn’t pay so much attention to him. He began the killings in February 1999, two years after he got a job as a handyman at Cedar Lodge motel in El Portal, located near the Highway 140 Arch Rock entrance to the Yosemite National Park. His first murder crime was a three-in-one case. Carole Sund, her daughter Julie and her friend Silvina Pelosso were his first three victims. Carole was a 42-year-old woman who lodged at the motel with her daughter and her friend.
Stayner pretended to be part of the maintenance crew and gained access to their room, holding all the occupants at gunpoint. He tied the women to two beds and gagged them so they couldn’t call for help. He killed Carole first by strangulation and put her in the trunk of her car. Later on, he returned to the room and according to him, sexually abused the young ladies before killing Silvinia and placing her body next to Carole’s.
If you would call Cary Stayner a sick and demented man, you wouldn’t be far from the truth. With Julie, he didn’t kill her in a hurry but rather, molested her again before taking her to an area near Lake Don Pedro, where he slit her throat and hid her body close by. After this, he burnt Carole’s car and left a hand-drawn map on how to find Julie’s body with the message, “We had fun with this one.”
Soon the police were all over the case, asking questions and carrying out investigations. At that time, their efforts were to no avail. The offender, Cary Stayner was also interrogated but not regarded as a suspect or probed further due to his clean criminal records.
However, Stayner was not so lucky on his second hit. His next victim was Joie Ruth Armstrong, a naturalist at the Yosemite Institute. She was 26 years old when he took her life. Her decapitated body was found at the hotel where she was lodged. Eyewitnesses testified that a blue 1979 International Scout car was seen parked outside her cabin around the time of her death. The car was traced back to Cary, it was searched and incriminating evidence was found. This warranted the arrest of Cary Stayner in July 1999.
After grueling questioning, Cary admitted to all four murders. He was then tried at the US District Courthouse in Fresno California when he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. However, his plea was denied and he was sentenced to death on account of four first degree murder charges. He became the 617th person on the death row in California.
Other Facts About Cary Stayner
1. Cary Stayner had a murder and rape kit which included a rope, a serrated knife, a camera, a gun, and a roll of duct tape.
2. When Cary was seven years old, he began fantasizing about killing and torturing women.
3. A year before he began his killing spree, he intended to kill his girlfriend and her two daughters.
4. Rather than insanity, he was diagnosed with mild autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and paraphilia.
5. As at January 2019, he was still incarcerated at the San Quentin Penitentiary in California.