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Jack Ronald Jones and Jerry Lee Beatty were a pair of drifters who kidnapped, raped, tortured, and brutally murdered 22-year old college student Stephanie Roper on April 3, 1982.

Background

Stephanie Roper

Stephanie Roper.

Roper was home on a college break, and she and a friend were returning from an evening with friends at a West End Washington, D.C. bar, the "Twenty-First Amendment" late at night. After dropping her friend off in Brandywine, Maryland, Stephanie proceeded toward her own home in Croom, but her car became disabled on a dark rural road.

Two men stopped and instead of helping, kidnapped her at gunpoint. The two men, Jones and Beatty, kidnapped Stephanie and took her to an abandoned shack in St. Mary's County. There she was tortured and raped repeatedly. One of the men called the other by his first name. Afraid now that Stephanie knew his name, they decided to kill her. Stephanie made several attempts to escape and upon her last capture, her skull was fractured with a logging chain and she was shot to death. In order to hinder identification, the murderers burned her body and severed her hands.

They were captured after the younger man bragged about his part in the crime. Both men were charged with kidnapping, rape, and felony murder. The primary killer was convicted in Baltimore County while his co-defendant pleaded guilty to the same charges in Anne Arundel County. Both courts imposed sentences of two concurrent life sentences, with parole eligibility after twelve years.

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