Originally created 08/22/06

Stanko's day of reckoning



Stephen Stanko was sentenced to death and to 110 years in prison last Friday.

Too bad he can't do both.

The 38-year-old South Carolina man - arrested in Augusta during a national manhunt after two Grand Strand murders and a rape in April 2005 - doesn't just need the book thrown at him. He needs the bookmobile, the rest of the library and a few big-box bookstores thrown at him for good measure.

Anyone who kills his live-in girlfriend, rapes a 15-year-old girl in the house and kills another innocent man as Stanko did - all after being released following 10 years in prison for an earlier kidnapping - cannot be trusted and should not be allowed to draw another breath.

Thank God that Augustan Dana Putnam recognized him from a Chronicle story in April 2005 and notified the Richmond County Sheriff's Office before Stanko could do any more damage. We'll never know how close Ms. Putnam, whom he tried to catch in his web while hiding here, came to being another victim. He had the tongue of a snake, telling glorious, seductive lies to anyone who would listen.

His attorney insists Stanko suffers from a brain defect. Of course he does! He's an unrepentant killer! But legally insane? Hardly. He knew exactly what he'd done, and that it was wrong. That's why he was in hiding.

Death penalties, and 110-year prison terms, are reserved for such misbegotten souls.

If only they could avail themselves of both.