Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder

  • by Jerry Bledsoe
  • Narrated by Kevin Stillwell
  • 13 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The true story of Barbara Stager, a devoted mother, loving wife, and dedicated church leader who committed an almost perfect crime.
By all accounts, Stager seemed to lead the perfect life in her community in Durham, North Carolina. After her husband, popular high school coach Russ, died tragically, the police were inclined to believe her story - that she accidentally shot him. Suspicions rose when the police discovered that Stager's previous husband had died similarly 10 years prior. Detective Rick Buchanan searches for the truth and finds a string of compulsive lies, obsessive spending, and sexual promiscuity. Ever shocking new discovery unraveled Barbara Stager's impeccable image more and more.
Russ left a damning piece of evidence behind that reveals the shocking nightmare truth about his wife.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Church Lady Killer...

In gripping true crime style, Bledsoe tells the tale of Barbara Stager, a church-going, seemingly upright and righteous woman who just had one flaw: she liked to kill husbands... Stager was so convincing as her role as Church Lady that she nearly passed under the wire during investigations. Then a detective with a sharp eye, and enough cynicism to see past Stager's act, began to unravel the threads of her story.
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- Douglas "College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey."

Jerry Bledsoe is Amazing, as is Kevin Stillwell

Okay, so on the heels of my listen to Bitter Blood, this book wasn't as exceptional as I had hoped. Bitter Blood was phenomenal, so it was a hard act to follow.

Barbara Terry Ford Stager is either: a) unlucky to the 100th power, b) extremely mentally ill or c) a diabolical killer.

Mrs. Ford-Stager has two dead husbands, a penchant for spending FAR beyond her means (which highlighted her check kiting and embezzlement skills), a compulsive lying streak more incredible than Pinocchio, a sexual appetite more impressive than Ginger Lynn and a church lady charade/appearance. She is the ultimate oxymoron.

Her two unfortunate husbands, Larry Ford and Russell Stager had no idea what they were getting their hands on - a black widow in sheep's clothing. Or, was it pure coincidence that both her husbands died in bed thanks to the "business end of a 25 caliber gun"?

You decide.

I think Barbara is where she belongs, serving life in a North Carolina prison.
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- Hilary "avoiding road rage one book at a time..."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-29-2015
  • Publisher: ListenUp Audiobooks