In late December, I received a letter from Scotty Ray Gardner thinking it most likely wouldn't be the last. I wasn't wrong.
Earlier this week, I received yet another handwritten letter from the death-row inmate. The 58-year-old is still selfish, and I still find it ironic he is upset he's forced to sit around with his own thoughts. Scotty Ray is a terrible individual. He feels no remorse, but he now offers to soon tell his version of events as to why he killed Susan "Heather" Stubbs.
Gardner was sentenced to death in August by a Faulkner County jury following days of testimony regarding Susan's brutal strangulation death. Sitting on death row isn't as cushy a lifestyle as his days hanging out at the Faulkner County Detention Center were. In his last letter, Gardner said he was lonely, that he missed being able to interact with others. Now, he's upset he's still alive.
The Faulkner County jury got it right, he said.
In his letter, the death-row inmate feels no anger toward those who sentenced him to the ultimate punishment. However, he is upset he has not yet been killed.
It's not fair that the medications in Arkansas used for lethal injections have expired, he said. It's not fair that he has sit around and wait for his time to die. He shouldn't have to suffer, he believes. I think it's absolutely fair he is unhappy. Why is it that his victim suffered in her final moments as her body hungered in survival mode for more air, but he feels too entitled to think about the impact of his actions.
Susan isn't the only victim from his crime. Her family suffers daily. This innocent, loving woman had children, and they were robbed of their mother.
"Since Faulkner County jury sentenced me to death in Aug. of 2018, I sit here and I listen to the chatter of other inmates talking about you can sit on the row for 12 to 20 [years] before they even take your case serious," Scotty writes. "Are you joking me?"
"I know the jury didn't send me here to sit for 12 to 20 yrs. They sent me here to be executed."
He's absolutely right in saying this — a Faulkner County jury found in less than 15 minutes that he deserved to die. However, I also find it fair that he's finally feeling caged. Finally feeling robbed of his rights. It's only right, because Susan was not his only victim.
Again, he tells me it's not fair to kill and that Faulkner County should "have mercy on those young guys." I can only assume, still, that he references the two boys accused in the Fragstein case. The older of the two boys is currently facing the death penalty. The younger cannot be charged with death penalty because while he is charged as an adult, his age protects him from such sentence by Arkansas law.
During his capital murder hearing, Scotty Ray was annoyed and irritated about having to sit in court. It bothered him to attend his own trial, and he refused to allow his attorneys to defend his case. He says now that he will soon write why he committed the crimes he did. I guess we'll see. Whatever his reasons were, they were not justified and do not make him a better person in any way.
Know of a local resident who deserves recognition, have a question regarding a Faulkner County issue or want to provide a news tip? Contact Log Cabin Democrat reporter Marisa Hicks via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 501-505-1277. Hicks has served on the LCD’s team for three years as the local crime reporter.