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Baldwin's mother won't attend killer's execution

November 6, 2011

POCATELLO – Verna Anderson sits in the living room chair, rocking her granddaughter Olivia and quietly wiping tears as she talks about her beautiful, funny daughter Stacy Baldwin. Baldwin was just 21 years old and starting the life she wanted when Paul Ezra Rhoades abducted and killed her in 1987.
Anderson says in life Stacy tried hard and she worked hard. She was the oldest of eight children and she loved sports. Stacy waited for her high school sweetheart, Myron Baldwin, while he served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the couple had married just six months before her murder.
"Stacy was really special and she did a lot of nice things for people," said Anderson. "I remember at her funeral a girl came up and said she knew her at Mini-Barn where she worked. The little girl had told Stacy it was her birthday and Stacy bought her a candy bar and told her happy birthday –– that just how she was ––thoughtful and kind."
Rhoade's execution, which is scheduled for Nov. 18, will be the first in Idaho since 1957. Anderson, who believes that "when you choose the first step you choose the last" says she will not be in attendance.
"He made his choices and he needs to pay the price," she said. "I don't think any of us want revenge…but he has to pay with his life. I am not going because it's just something else you have to deal with and it's not going to bring Stacy back. Whatever is justice, let's just get it done."
Rhoades has now spent more time living on death row than Stacy had her entire life and Anderson admits sometimes she wonders "what was in Paul Ezra Rhoades life that made him turn out the way he did?
"I don't like that she's gone, but I feel she's O.K. where she is," said Anderson. "At times I think I've forgiven him, then there are times when I know I haven't."
Anderson has learned that life goes on and you just deal with it. She and her family live quiet lives and, when they talk about Stacy, they talk more about her life than her death.
When asked if she hoped the scheduled execution would help bring closure. Anderson said "I do not want closure. I would never want to forget or close the door."
On the day of Rhoades' execution she says "I plan to take care of Olivia [my granddaughter] and keep her close. You have no choice but to go on and remember the good times. Rhoades has received miles of publicity. Stacy is the one who deserves more honor than she got. I choose to remember her."

 

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