RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Wake Forest man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in an emotional Wake County courtroom Friday after he pleaded guilty to the Oct. 2015 murder of his wife.
Lanson Paul Stalf, 39, killed Stephanie Lynn Autry, 34, in their home on Oct. 27, 2015.
Autry’s family hugged and cried at the hearing although the burly Stalf kept his head down for majority of the hearing. He could be seen wiping away tears at one point.
Autry’s brother, Michael Autry, broke with emotion as he described how the tragedy had impacted both families.
“No words will ever describe what my family has gone through – the pain and suffering that we deal with,” Michael Autry said. “No words will ever describe the shame and humiliation that his family feels. Bottom line, I have nothing else to say.”
He then pointed at Autry and said, “Rot in hell, ***hole.”
He then apologized to the judge and left the court.
Autry’s sister, Lora Lenander, spoke of how a 3-year-old boy had become an orphan.
“The cruelness of this act is unfathomable,” she said. “I wonder if Mr. Stalf has considered what it is like to have the little boy he helped bring into this world ask, ‘Where is my mommy? When can I see mommy?'”
Police were asked to perform a welfare check on a resident of the 4400 block of Iyar Way and ruled the incident a “suspicious death” after Autry’s body was found by officers at around 10:30 p.m. Police said the family’s nanny had called to ask police to check on Autry.
Warrants showed Autry was found inside the home with a plastic bag wrapped around her head. Documents showed Autry was also covered with a blanket and a hammer was found in the home near the bathroom.
Another of Autry’s sisters, Sue Elbel, described the shock of the murder scene.
“Seeing the huge blood stains in the bathroom where Lans murdered her, knowing all of that blood came from my sister’s head – again thinking, what kind of monster does this?” Elbel said.
Stalf is a convicted bank robber and had just been released from prison on Oct. 15, 2015, for the robbery of a PNC bank on Rodgers Avenue in Dec. 2013. He fled the state after the murder and set off a three-day nationwide manhunt before he was arrested at a Mississippi hotel after authorities said he robbed a bank in that state.
Half of the courtroom was filled with Autry’s family and emotions were running high Friday.
The family released a statement calling Autry a “beautiful, compassionate and loving daughter, sister, friend and mother.”
Autry leaves behind a 3-year-old.
Family members spoke of how Autry’s son, Jude, is now an orphan.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page for Jude. You can donate here.
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