- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 12, 2005

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — An ex-convict who co-wrote a book on prisons with two criminology professors was being sought yesterday as a suspect in two killings and the rape of a teenager.

Police issued a nationwide alert for Stephen Stanko, 37, who was released from prison last year after serving 8 years of a 10-year sentence for kidnapping.

Georgetown County police were seeking Mr. Stanko in the strangulation death of Laura Ling, a 43-year-old librarian with whom he shared a home. She was found dead Friday.

The director of the Horry County Memorial Library said Mr. Stanko met Miss Ling at the library where the ex-convict had said he was working on research for his book.

Mr. Stanko is also accused of shooting 74-year-old Henry Lee Turner, whose body was found Saturday. Mr. Stanko and Mr. Turner knew each other, but it was not clear what their relationship was, police spokesman Andy Christenson said.

Police found Miss Ling’s body early Friday morning after a teenager called 911. The teenager said she had been sexually assaulted by Mr. Stanko.

Mr. Stanko co-wrote “Living in Prison: A History of the Correctional System With an Insider’s View” while in prison, with the help of two professors.

One of the professors, Gordon A. Crews, told Florence television station WBTW that he knew Mr. Stanko was having a hard time getting back into the real world.

“Nobody wants a convicted kidnapper working at Best Buy with them,” Mr. Crews, a criminal justice professor at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I.

“The last time I spoke to him, he was very, very depressed. He was on the verge of giving up,” Mr. Crews said. “He had stated he was not going back to prison because of the things he had been through.”

A week ago, Mr. Stanko was fired after working for a month as a salesman for Stucco Supply in Myrtle Beach. Jeff Kendall, the company’s general manager, described Mr. Stanko as a smooth talker who was upfront about his time in prison, but was unreliable and brought in few sales.

“He wanted to do everything,” Mr. Kendall said. “I was the one that gave him a chance. I said, ‘I’ll give you a chance, but from there, it’s up to you.’”

Investigators said Mr. Stanko is armed and dangerous. Police said Mr. Stanko took Mr. Turner’s black 1996 Mazda pickup truck; Miss Ling’s car was found in Mr. Turner’s driveway, authorities said.

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