Birth: March 9, 1923
Death: May 19, 1973
Spouse: Evelyn Watkins Dudley
Father: Milledge Eugene Dudley
Mother: Willie Mae Garner
PFC, U.S. Army - World War II
Burial: Hodgesville Baptist Church Cemetery, Dothan, Houston County, Alabama, USA
The Dothan Eagle
Lance Griffin - Jun. 28, 2010
It was just after 2 p.m. on a lazy Saturday afternoon in Hodgesville in May of 1973. Secretariat was about to race to the second leg of what would become a thoroughbred triple crown.
Carl Dudley, who had owned and operated a convenience store on the south end of Hodgesville Road for the previous 25 years, had just ordered a man to leave his store for being drunk and disorderly.
According to police reports and court testimony, Robert Earl Stringer returned with a .22 caliber rifle and shot Dudley five times at close range, killing him and horrifying a community.
Stringer was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Monday, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Stringer parole. He will not be eligible for parole again until 2015.
A story in the Dothan Eagle, citing an eyewitness inside the store, said Stringer walked into Dudley’s store with the rifle, entered the counter immediately inside the store and said “I told you I was going to kill you.”
Stringer shot Dudley several times, then exited the store and beat the rifle on a concrete porch outside, then threw it away. He was confronted by his employer not long after that and was later arrested.
Attorney General Troy King, Houston County District Attorney Doug Valeska, Miriam Shehane of Victims of Crime Against Leniency and several family members were present in Montgomery to protest Stringer’s parole.
“He told Dudley he needed to lay there and die. He needs to lay there and die in prison for killing an innocent businessman in cold blood,” Valeska said.
Stringer is serving time at Elmore Correctional Facility.