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2009 - March - The North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission DENIED PAROLE for Barbara Stager.
Prison Photo: Barbara (Terry, Ford) Stager
2012 - Next Parole Review Date
College - Larry Ford and Barbara Stager get together and later marry. They have two sons Brian and Jason.
During their marriage, Barbara engages in infidelity through several affairs. She also has to keep up with the Joneses and spends more money than is coming in. Despite counseling and attendance at church (keeping up appearances), Barbara keeps both her legs and her pocketbook open, spending freely.
THE WIDOW CLAIMS "ACCIDENT"
1978- March - Larry Ford is murdered.
Larry Ford is found dead in the marital bed. His widow, Barbara (Terry) Ford claims he'd accidentally shot himself. Larry Ford's death is ruled an accident. Police have no other evidence to file criminal charges.
Barbara Ford collects the insurance on Larry Ford's life.
Less than a year after Larry Ford's death Barbara Ford remarries.
Russell Stager and his first wife Jo Lynn Snow divorce, but remain on friendly terms.
1979 - Russell Stager marries Barbara (Terry) Ford. Russell is a well respected coach at the Durham High School. He's also on good terms with his step-sons.
Both Russ and Barbara overspend, but Russell attempts to curtail their financial excesses.
Barbara doesn't like being thwarted and opens up credit cards without his knowledge and keeps spending. She's always the first to get the mail before Russell can, in order to keep her activities a secret. She lies to him and to others.
Russell becomes suspicious of Barbara but remains married to her. But his suspicions become so overwhelming that he tape records himself speaking about his concerns. He asks questions such as "Why if I was asleep at 3 or 4 in the morning, would Barbara wake me up to give me sleeping pills?"
He spoke his concerns about Barbara's first husband's death, and states that if something happens to him, for police to look at her.
Barbara forges his signature on a will and ensures that Russell is well insured.
1987 - December - Russell Stager has already had several conversations with Jo Lynn Snow, his first wife about his troubled second marriage, the financial problems and his wife's promiscuity.
This time though, Russ asks Jo Lynn a favor.
Jo Lynn Snow "He asked me, if anything ever happened to him, would I please look into it."
Russell discovers that Barbara is stealing from his personal accounts. He already knows she's a liar, a cheat, and now a thief. She's been kiting checks, forging his name to his checks and other documents.
Barbara forges Russell Stager's signature on a will. She also purchases more insurance on his life.
MURDER TWICE DONE
Feb. 1, 1988 - Russell Stager is murdered.
Barbara tells police that Russell always slept with a gun under the pillow. She claims that she awoke upon hearing a noise. Afraid that Russ would accidentally shoot one of the boys she reached over to pull out the gun and accidentally fired the pistol under his pillow, shooting him in the back of the head.
Investigators are surprised at her lack of emotion. The shooting is ruled an accident.
Barbara Stager puts in for Russell's life insurance right away.
Russell Stager's family, friends and former wife don't believe the shooting is an accident.
It's pointed out to police that Russell Stager was in the National Guard and was well trained in weapons and never would have slept with a loaded gun under his pillow.
Then, Russell Stager's tape is found in the gym at the school where he taught.
Investigators re-open the investigation and ask Barbara to re-enact the "accident" and videotape it.
A handwriting investigator determines that the writing on Russell Stager's will was a forgery.
Jo Lynn Snow "He loved life. He gave an awful lot to his community and to his family," she said. "Whenever we talk about Russ or we act on his behalf, he sort of comes alive again for us, and then when that is over, we have to bury him again."
""I believe Barbara is a serial killer."
Photo: Jo Lynn Snow
Capt. Ricky Buchanan (Durham County Sheriff's Office) "She got away with the first one. She thought she could do it the second time, and she didn't make it."
"The former Sunday school teacher has a way of gaining trust that makes her especially dangerous. She's the pillar of the community during the day, but behind closed doors at night, she's another woman. She's evil."
INDICTMENT - TRIAL - CONVICTION & SENTENCE
Photo: Barbara Stager
Barbara Stager is indicted for murder. She believes she'll be acquitted of the chrages because "I'm just isn't capable of such an act."
1989 -May - Barbara (Terry, Ford) Stager is convicted of the 1st Degree murder of Russell Stager. The jury sentences her to the Death Penalty.
1993 - The State Supreme Court affirms the conviction, but overturns the death sentence and Barbara Stager is sentenced to "Life." Life means serving a minimum of 20 years before parole eligibility.
AN OPEN INVESTIGATION
Authorities are still investigating the case of Larry Ford. The North Carolina Supreme Court has noted that there are 8 similarities between Larry Ford's shooting and Russell Stagers.
Investigators also note that residue tests show that Larry Ford did not fire a gun the day he died, even though Barbara Stager claims he shot himself accidentally.
RUSSELL STAGER MEMORIAL FUND
The Russell Stager Memorial Fund is maintained by money Jo Lynn Snow raises by appearances on television shows. The fund supports underprivileged youth and provides the funds for the $5,000 reward money for information in the case of Larry Ford.
Jo Lynn Snow is determined to keep Larry Ford's murder in the public eye and fights to keep Barbara Stager behind bars. She is joined in that goal by Larry Ford's, and Russell Stager's families.
Jo Lynn Snow "I think folks are frightened at the thought that she might get out," Snow said recently. "I'm not a supporter of the death penalty, but I think anybody who murders in cold blood like that, well, I will fight to keep her behind bars."
BOOKS/MOVIES ABOUT THE CASE
"Till Death Do Us Part: The Barbara Stager Story", A&E's American Justice
A&E's City Confidential "Durham: Dangerous Housewife"
"Before He Wakes" by Jerry Bledsoe (1994), also made into a Tv movie (1998) with the same title.