College was an adventure in being challenged, and learning about how to expand my horizons, focus on achievements, and set goals. All of this revolved around my desire to express myself and reflect on life around me through my love of art. I was bursting with energy to create on canvas or any other method. In just another month, my college years were going to be behind me, and opportunities were endless.

My friend Lisa and I spent Friday night, April 2, 1982, at a classy college hangout in Georgetown, and we were trying to be careful to nurse our drinks so we would be okay to drive back to her house in Clinton and stay there for the night. 

Perhaps I was anxious to get going the following day and thought driving the extra fifteen minutes that would get me home would be okay. After my family traveled around the world with my dad’s career in the Navy, I spent the last five or so years in this area of rural Maryland, not far from the nation’s capital. This arrival in Maryland was our final move, and it was right for us for so many reasons, home, school, church, and convenience.

In a split second, I decided to drop Lisa off and keep going home. On a curve, a fox or some other critter ran out in front of my car; I’m not sure what it was; my instinct was to avoid striking it, hurting the animal, and doing damage to my grill. I lost control, hit a tree, busted my axle, and flattened some of my tires. Wow, that was going to be one pricey little critter. However, I was okay, with no busted bones or scrapes. But while I was close to home and not far from Lisa’s house, I might as well have been a million miles from nowhere.

Suddenly, a set of headlights appeared, and two guys stopped and asked if they could help me. My knights in shining armor!

These guys were scruffy and had been drinking; I was pretty sure they were smoking weed, and they acted like they were doing some hard drugs too. I didn’t have too many choices in the wee hours of the morning on a back road with a busted car. I told them my friend’s house was just about two miles away, they said they also live in the area, and it’s no problem to drop me off at Lisa’s, so I could call a tow truck. They even helped me push my car off of the roadway.

My name is Stephanie Ann Roper. I am twenty-two years old, and forty years have passed since I was raped, tortured, and murdered that night.

My purpose in writing this is to have my voice as the victim of a savage beating, rape, and murder by two animals be expressed not for the sake of exposing my killers – that has already been done many times – but to thank my parents and their supporters for never forsaking me.

Their vicious acts of ultimate human depravity will find them paying the toll, perhaps one is already in the roaring fires of Hell, and the other may wish he was there. Jack Ronald Jones died in prison, and Jerry Lee Beatty is still behind bars, hopefully for the rest of his life. What those two men did to me need not be repeated here. Look around; there are several authentic tellings of the night of my murder in the Washington Post, which did a fine job of covering the trials.

When I failed to be home in the morning when my parents awakened, they called Lisa, who said I had left her off and intended to go home. The next call they made was to the police.

Soon my car was found, and my family, friends, neighbors, strangers, police, and so many more began a massive search. A relative of Jones heard him and Beatty bragging about what they did to me, and he went to his pastor and to the police. Soon the culprits were apprehended, jailed, and given trials. CONTINUE READING in Kindle Vella

The following article appears in THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY following the news that progressive advocates of criminals in Maryland prisons are attempting to undo the hard-fought victories of the advocates of crime victims to have their stories told as part of victim impact statements. Please see the historical articles about the murder and the trials. READ NOW

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