October 4, 1976
Timothy Palmes (left) and Ronald Straight (right) torture and kill a furniture store owner
Palmes had been dating Jane Alpert and had moved into the apartment she shared with her 7-year-old daughter; Alpert worked for furniture store owner James Stone. A month or two prior to Stone’s murder, Palmes and Straight offered to help collect from Stone’s customers who were behind on payments in exchange for a portion of the collections. Stone declined, fearing an implication the fees would be collected by violence.
Palmes and Straight then formed a plan to lure Stone to Alpert’s apartment, murder him, and steal money from his furniture store. Alpert asked Stone to her apartment. When he arrived, Alpert’s 7-year-old daughter directed Stone to a room in the back of the apartment where Palmes and Straight waited with a gun.
Stone was beaten, restrained with wire, had part of his knuckles cut off, and was “scrunched up” in a makeshift coffin fashioned from a shipping crate. Alpert’s daughter later testified that she came back to the room to find Stone in this condition, and was told by Straight to fetch a hammer and plastic bag. As the child watched, Straight placed the bag over Stone’s head and struck him with the hammer. After she left the room, Stone was stabbed approximately 18 times and the crate was filled with cement. When she came back, Straight told her to say “byebye” to the closed crate which was later dumped in a river.
Straight, Palmes, and Alpert stole Stone’s car, his watch, and $2800 from his store before fleeing the state. They were apprehended in California for theft of Stone’s property and questioned about his disappearance. Stone’s body was found soon after.
Alpert was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony against Straight and Palmes. Both were found guilty and sentenced to death. Palmes was executed on November 8, 1984 while Straight was executed May 20, 1986.