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Barbara Stager
Born Barbara Lee Terry
(1948-10-30) October 30, 1948 (age 66)
North Carolina, United States
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment
Criminal status Incarcerated
Conviction(s) First Degree Murder

Barbara Stager (born October 30, 1948) is an American woman who was convicted in 1989 of murdering her husband, Russell Stager, in 1988. Stager is also suspected of the earlier murder of her first husband, Larry Ford, who died in nearly identical circumstances.[1]


At 6:08 a.m. on 1 February 1988, the police in Durham, North Carolina got a call from Mrs. Stager, reporting that her husband had been shot. She told the responding officers that her husband kept a handgun under his pillow when he slept, and that she must have touched it as she stirred in her sleep, causing it to discharge and kill Mr. Stager. At first the police accepted this account and ruled the incident an accidental shooting. According to shocked friends, coworkers and family members, Barbara was a devoted wife, mother, and Christian.

Jo Lynn Snow, Mr. Stager's first wife (whom he divorced to marry Barbara), is credited with providing continuing evidence of Barbara's spendthrift and adulterous ways as well as the similar death of Barbara's first husband. Attorney Eric Evenson was also convinced of Barbara's evil nature, and piecing together the puzzle[2] and determining that Mrs. Stager was guilty of murder.

At the conclusion of her trial for first-degree murder on 30 August 1989, the jury deliberated for 44 minutes to reach a guilty verdict, and Stager was sentenced to death the next day. In such cases the matter is automatically reviewed by a higher court; in this case the death sentence was changed to life imprisonment (now being carried out at the North Carolina Department of Corrections[3]) due to a technicality in the first proceeding. Stager was given the possibility of parole in 20 years as required by law.


Barbara Stager had a parole hearing in March 2009. She was denied parole at that time and given a new parole review date for 2012.[4] She is currently incarcerated at the Ralaigh CCW where she was moved in February 2013. Her next parole due date was June 1, 2013.[5]

In media[edit]

"Till Death Do Us Part: The Barbara Stager Story", is a 2003 episode of A&E's American Justice, which profiled the case. Jerry Bledsoe also wrote a book in 1994 about the case, entitled Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder, which was later made into a TV movie in 1998 with the same title starring Jaclyn Smith. A&E's City Confidential presented its perspective on the case in the 2003 episode "Durham: Dangerous Housewife".[6] Investigation Discovery's Deadly Women portrayed the story in the 2010 "Fortune Hunters" episode and their Scorned: Love Kills revisited the case in its own "Till Debt Do Us Part," in 2012. The "Forensic Files" series had an episode "Broken Promises" about this case.


  1. ^ "Crime TV Guide - Watch on SKY 553, 554 and HD 555, and Virgin 237 on Crime and Investigation Network". Crimeandinvestigation.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  2. ^ "Reviews & Ratings for Before He Wakes (TV)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  3. ^ "DOC Legacy Resources". Doc.state.nc.us. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  4. ^ Jason Hardin. "Parole rejected for woman in 1989 murder conviction : News-Record.com : Greensboro & the Triad's most trusted source for local news and analysis". News-Record.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  5. ^ "NC DPS Offender Public Information". Webapps6.doc.state.nc.us. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  6. ^ "City Confidential - Episode Guide". Aetv.com. 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Stager — Please support Wikipedia.
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12 news items

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 13:56:14 -0800

His second wife, Barbara Stager, told authorities she accidentally jostled a gun he kept under his pillow, and the gun went off, killing him. A jury didn't believe Barbara Stager's story, deliberating for less than an hour before convicting her of ...
Fri, 27 Feb 2009 00:00:00 -0800

Prosecutors didn't believe Barbara Stager's story, and after a sensational 1989 trial in Lee County – the case had to be moved from Durham because of intense publicity – a jury deliberated less than an hour before convicting her of first-degree murder ...
Tue, 12 May 2009 14:36:40 -0700

Durham, N.C. — A Durham County woman convicted 20 years ago of killing her husband was denied parole this week. Russell Stager, a baseball coach at Durham High School, was fatally shot on Feb. 1, 1988. His second wife, Barbara Stager, told ...
Billings Gazette
Sat, 31 May 2014 23:06:38 -0700

Pamela Lindsey, left, and Terri Beede stage houses to maximize value. Here they show a home they staged for Carol Stigen. 2014-06-01T00:00:00Z Staging a home translates to quicker sale and higher prices, experts sayStory By TOM HOWARD Photos By ...
Tue, 03 Mar 2009 09:36:01 -0800

Ricky Buchanan of the Durham County Sheriff's Office, who investigated the case, and Eric Evenson, the former assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, also spoke to the commission about why they feel Barbara Stager, 60, should remain in prison.
The Independent Weekly
Wed, 07 Mar 2012 10:34:58 -0800

Wherever they go, Durham leaders say they've been prodded with the same question: What is wrong with the district attorney's office? Twice in the past five years, Durham's top prosecutor has unexpectedly, disastrously, publicly imploded. "It's sad. We ...
PR Web (press release)
Wed, 26 Feb 2014 00:07:22 -0800

Why wouldn't someone stage a home if they want to get more money for their house?” said Corcoran. Valley Springs, CA (PRWEB) February 26, 2014. Real Estate Staging Association (RESA®), the trade association professional real estate stagers and ...
Thu, 19 Mar 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Most recently, he asked the commission to deny parole for Barbara Stager, a Durham woman convicted nearly 20 years ago in her husband's fatal shooting. The commission is expected to decide on her case in May. "The parole commission is under pressure ...

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