The end of Valerie Findley’s life began with a single shot from a 9-mm hand gun. But it took years for her to die. She had been on the phone with one of her best friends, her sister, when there was a knock at the door of her home in Whistler, Ala. It was March 2, 1992 between eight and nine in the morning.
The two men outside were there under false pretenses. That there were two men is not disputed. Their identities are. The reason they were there is also not in question. They came to steal the gun collection belonging to Mike Finley – Valerie’s husband – and they did. They stuffed the guns in a pillowcase and before both men left, one of them tried to snuff out Valerie’s life with a single gunshot in the style of an executioner. But to their chagrin, and to the surprise of many others, Valerie Finley lived. She lived long enough to remember, speak of, and testify about the crime.
At the end of it all, Rodney Stanberry was jailed for the crime. He was Mike Finley’s best friend. They collected guns together and had many of the same guns. After so many years, two questions remain: Why would Rodney Stanberry have an interest in stealing the guns of his best friend – many of which he already owned – and, why would he condone the shooting of his best friend’s wife?
The answer, according to Stanberry, is that he didn’t. He wasn’t even there when the crime happened, he says. At the time, Rodney Stanberry was a driver for BFI, the waste disposal service. Documents and statements from Stanberry’s bosses show that when Valerie Finley was shot, Stanberry was miles away at a BFI facility having his sanitation truck repaired. While those documents and testimony from a BFI manager were considered by the jury Rodney Stanberry was convicted anyway – some three years after the shooting of Valerie Finley – of being an accessory. While the jury saw that evidence, something they did not see was the confession of a man who admitted in a recorded conversation to being in Valerie Finley’s home when she was shot
March 13, 2017 : Released from prison