1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

S.C. rape victim who saw mother die tells story

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Evil ... Thy name is Orville Redenbacher!!, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Good job with the story.
    I hope this girl gets a standing ovation when she gets her diploma

    S.C. rape victim who saw mother die tells story

    Associated Press Writer
    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Christina Ling still can't remember how, with her hands bound behind her, she got to the phone and dialed police. But she was determined to tell authorities what had just happened ä she had been raped; her mother strangled.
    Two years later, on the eve of her high school graduation, Lingás will is just as strong. And she's telling her story again, this time with the hope of helping others.
    "If there's anything I can do to show anyone who's ever been the victim of domestic violence, or who's been through something similar ... that you can piece your life together, even at 15 ... you can make something out of this," Ling told The Associated Press on Thursday, a day before she dons a cap and gown and accepts her diploma.
    Ling thought her graduation would never come. On the morning of April 8, 2005, she and her mother were attacked by Stephen Stanko, 39.
    The ex-convict who gained attention for co-writing a book on the penal system while in prison for kidnapping is facing the death penalty for his crimes against the Lings.
    The Associated Press typically does not identify victims of sexual assault. Ling asked to be identified.
    Shortly after Stanko served most of a 10-year sentence for kidnapping, he met Ling and her mother, Laura, a 43-year-old research librarian.
    "I knew that, being a single mom, there were things that she needed that I couldn't give her, and I understood," Ling said of her mother's new relationship. "When she met Stephen, she was happy, she was glowing."
    Ling said her mom never hid Stanko's criminal past.
    "She was all about helping people, and here's Stephen, who has this not-so-great past, and who wants to start over, and she saw an opportunity to help him," Ling said.
    The household was mostly peaceful. Stanko taught Ling to drive a stick shift and sometimes took her to school. The month leading up to the attack, however, the two weren't getting along.
    Nothing prepared her for the morning that changed her life. Ling said she woke up just after 1 a.m. to find Stanko standing over her, holding several neckties.
    "He was like, 'Scream and I'll kill you both,'" she said, showing how Stanko then held a knife up to her throat. "And for some reason in my head I was thinking, 'Is this a drill?'"
    Details over the next couple of hours are fuzzy. At one point after being raped, she remembers lying face down on her motherás bed.
    "He had his left knee in my back ... I'm like, 'This is how I'm going to die,'" Ling recalls. "And he starts to choke her. And I'm thinking to myself, "Don't let this happen. ... Be the girl that died saving her mom."
    It was too late. Ling's mother stopped kicking and coughing. Stanko turned his attention to Ling and slit her throat, leaving her for dead. The faint scars are still visible from the knife wound.
    Stanko got a suitcase and fled. Ling regained consciousness and called police.
    "I don't know how I dialed. I have no idea," Ling said. "I'm talking to this woman, I'm like, I've been raped, and I think my mom is dead."
    Stanko, meanwhile, had stolen the Lings' car and moved on to his next victim, 74-year-old Henry Turner. His death was not discovered for nearly 24 hours, when the Lings' car was found in the driveway of his Conway home.
    Stanko spent the next four days on the run, flirting with women in a downtown Columbia restaurant before traveling to Augusta, Ga., where he was arrested outside a restaurant.
    During the manhunt, as Ling recuperated in a hospital, she said she felt confident police would find Stanko.
    "I realized that the reason that he was wasting all this time is because he thinks I'm dead," she said. "He was enjoying himself and taking his sweet time because he thinks he doesn't have anything to worry about."
    Now Ling is the one without any worries. She will graduate from Dutch Fork High School with honors Friday and plans to attend Furman University in the fall.
    Telling her story now, says a Columbia therapist working with her, will help the teen become a proud adult.
    "This is meant to be empowering and to improve dignity in her life," Elizabeth Burns said. "There's a song and the line goes, "Don't ask me where I've been. Ask me where I'm going. And that's the way I think of Christina."
    Ling says she cherishes every success ä it is a reminder of Stanko's weakness.
    "Every day that I'm here, every day that I wake up in the morning and I go to school, is another example of the fact that he failed at one of the last things he'll ever do," she says, a smile emerging across her face.
  2. Charlie Brown

    Charlie Brown Member

    And the ending on the version of the AP story I saw:

    Stanko's status
    A Georgetown County jury sentenced Stephen Stanko to death in August.

    The following day, his lawyer filed an appeal seeking to overturn the verdict saying he has brain damage. That appeal is still pending. A review of the case could take more than a year, defense attorney Bill Diggs said at the time.

    Stanko is still awaiting trial in the slaying of 74-year-old Henry Turner, whose body was found a day after Stanko killed Laura Ling. Stanko was driving Turner's Mazda pickup truck when police arrested him at an Augusta, Ga., shopping mall April 12, 2005. No date has been set for that trial, although it is expected to be scheduled in late 2007. He is being held at Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page