Ralph Stokes was sentenced to death by the State of Pennsylvania for a series of murders that took place during an armed robbery. According to court documents Ralph Stokes and Donald Jackson would rob a restaurant and in the process murder three people. Ralph Stokes was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. Ralph Stokes has maintained his innocence since being sent to death row.
Ralph Stokes 2021 Information
Parole Number: 4777T
Date of Birth: 02/08/1963
Height: 5′ 11″
Current Location: PHOENIX
Permanent Location: PHOENIX
Committing County: PHILADELPHIA
Ralph Stokes More News
Ralph Stokes’s convictions resulted from his participation, along with Donald Jackson, in the robbery of Smokin’ Joe’s Korner on March 12, 1982. Smokin’ Joe’s is a restaurant and bar, where the appellant had been previously employed, located at 5100 City Line Avenue in the city of Philadelphia. At trial Mr. Jackson testified that he and appellant had donned[532 Pa. 249]blue jumpsuits and ski masks and equipped themselves with weapons in anticipation of the robbery. Jackson was armed with an automatic pistol and appellant carried a .38 caliber revolver.
The two men entered the restaurant through the unlocked rear kitchen door with their guns drawn. They confronted two restaurant employees in the kitchen, Renard Mills and Pierre Blassingame. A third restaurant employee, Eugene Jefferson, entered the kitchen from another part of the building about the same time. Ralph Stokes locked the three employees into a walk-in refrigerator, then proceeded into the restaurant office where he encountered Mary Figueroa, the restaurant manager and wife of one of the owners of Smokin’ Joe’s. Jackson joined Ralph Stokes and Mrs. Figueroa in the office as appellant was forcing Mrs. Figueroa to open the safe. At that point Jackson noticed appellant’s ski mask was pulled up off his face. Jackson told Ralph Stokes to cover his face, to which appellant replied that he had already been recognized by Mrs. Figueroa. After Mrs. Figueroa opened the safe she was placed in the walk-in refrigerator with the other three employees. Mrs. Figueroa told the others that she had recognized “Trent.” She then attempted to exert a calming influence upon the others in the refrigerator.
With everyone in the refrigerator, Jackson and Ralph Stokes proceeded with their looting of the restaurant. Unfortunately, while these activities were in progress, Peter Santangelo, a mailman, happened upon the scene. Jackson opened the kitchen door a fraction sufficient enough to accept delivery of the mail, and then closed the door. Appellant, afraid of being discovered, chased after the mailman, bringing him into the restaurant and ordering him, at gun point, to lie on the kitchen floor. With Mr. Santangelo on the floor, appellant placed his ear against the refrigerator door in an effort to overhear the conversation among the persons therein.
Ralph Stokes then announced to Jackson that he had been identified and would have to “off” the witnesses. Whereupon, appellant opened the refrigerator and fired three shots, killing Eugene Jefferson and Mary Figueroa. Upon witnessing this[532 Pa. 250]event, Peter Santangelo ran from the kitchen. Appellant cornered Mr. Santangelo at the locked front door and fired three more shots, leaving Mr. Santangelo as his third fatality.
Jackson, upon witnessing the murders, ran out the rear door and started the car. The vehicle was difficult to start, leaving sufficient time for appellant to join Jackson in the car. The two men then fled the scene. Appellant and Jackson went to the home of Jackson’s friend, Eric Burley, where they divided the proceeds of the robbery and directed Burley to dispose of appellant’s gun, the jumpsuits, and the ski masks worn during the commission of the crimes.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, the evidence adduced at trial was sufficient to establish appellant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt of each element on all three charges of murder in the first degree, robbery, possessing instruments of crime and criminal conspiracy.