Ardmore man sentenced to life without parole in double murder case

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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) -- (UPDATED: 3/7/18 @ 9:45 p.m.)

Nearly two years after two men were gunned down in their Ardmore apartment, their murderer was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.

Craig Stanford remained expressionless as the victims' family members addressed him in court Wednesday, and silent after being handed two consecutive life terms in prison- without parole.

"The bottom line is, he'll never get out," District attorney Craig Ladd said. "And that was very important to our office, and very important to the families."

In the middle of his death penalty trial last month, Stanford pleaded guilty to the murders of Aaron Lavers and Anthony Rogers in exchange for the death penalty being taken off the table.

"That showed great mercy, great compassion and great character on [the family's] part." Defense attorney James English said.

Stanford also agreed to reveal where he hid the gun he used to kill the two men. It was a decision the Laver's family says they all agreed to, and an outcome they hoped for.

"That's all we ever wanted was the gun and the truth," Laver's mother, Cissy Sexton, said. "And that's what we got."

In May of 2016, Stanford killed Lavers and Rogers in their Ardmore apartment after a fight over stolen electronics.

"He was his friend. Aaron was [Stanford's] friend for a long time," Sexton said. "I just don't understand how your supposed best friend can do that to somebody."

With the sentence, Lavers' family says Stanford's family won't have to deal with losing a son like they had to. And they say it will give Stanford time to reflect.

"Life without the possibility of parole is a harder sentence than a death sentence," Laver's sister, Ashley Robinson, said. "Because he's going to have to live, knowing he did this."

And now with this chapter closed, Sexton says they can start to heal.

"Its been so hard to start healing with all the court dates and stuff," Sexton said. "So now its over, we don't ever have to come to court again."

Stanford was also found guilty and sentenced to an additional 50 years for burglary, concealing stolen property and possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.


Craig Stanford pleaded guilty in February to killing two men nearly two years ago, and on Wednesday, a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

Stanford was sentenced to two life sentences without parole -- one for each of the slayings. He was also sentenced to 20 years for concealing stolen property; 20 years for second degree burglary, and 10 years for possession of a firearm post felony. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Stanford pleaded guilty and stated for the record why he killed Aaron Lavers and Athony Rogers in their apartment in May 2016.

In February, District Attorney Craig Ladd said a deal was reached with Stanford where he would plead guilty and tell authorities the location of the murder weapon. In return, the state agreed not to pursue the death penalty.

After pleading guilty, Stanford testified about what happened in May 2016 when Lavers and ARogers were shot to death in their Ardmore apartment

Police say the incident started over a dispute between the men over items being stolen.

The murder weapon, a gun, was buried in a backyard of a vacant home next to the home Stanford was living in at the time.

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