Last month, Craig Russell Stanford, 31, gave law enforcement the location of the murder weapon he used in the May 2016 slayings of Aaron Lavers and Anthony Rogers. Wednesday, Stanford returned to the courtroom to receive sentencing for those crimes.
Cissy Blanton, the mother of murder victim Aaron Lavers spoke of the impact the loss of her son had on her and their extended family. Blanton tearfully described the day she found out about the murder and the struggle she has faced through out the lengthy trial.
“I have begged God to take me,” Blanton said. “So I don’t have to feel this pain of being without my son.”
Lavers' sister also gave a statement and read others from family members. Rogers' sister did the same.
Both families asked the Honorable Judge Dennis Morris to consider a sentence of life without parole. Morris handed down the sentence moments after the completion of the victim impact panel. Stanford was given two life sentences with no possibility of parole, one for each count of murder. In the other felony charges, which Stanford pled guilty to from the beginning, he received a total of 50 years to be served subsequent to the two life sentences, all of which the Judge ordered served consecutively.
Morris then remanded Stanford to the custody of the Carter County Sheriff’s office for transfer to the state penitentiary.
According to Oklahoma statute, Stanford has the right to retract his guilty plea or appeal the sentencing within 10 days.