"Before He Wakes" is a movie based on the true story of Barbara Stager and the murder of her husband Russ Stager. The crime thriller first premiered on CBS in December 1998 but now airs on Lifetime Television occasionally. The names were changed to Bridget Smith Michaels and Ron Michaels for the film. The cast includes: Diana Scarwid, Timothy Carhart and Jaclyn Smith.
"Before He Wakes" synopsis/plot
When her first husband dies under mysterious circumstances, a beautiful widow begins a new life, but when her second husband ends up dead, the victim's first wife begins to suspect his new wife of murder.
The movie entertains themes of violence and betrayal, the murder of a high school coach and the death of a teacher.
Produced by CBS Productions and directed by Michael Scott, the movie is based on a case that happened in North Carolina in 1988. According to Durham County court records, Barbara Stager staged the murder of her husband to look like a suicide. Police deduced that the motive for the murder was insurance money.
Russ Stager was a beloved high school coach who was shot dead in his home as he slept in bed with his wife, Barbara Stager.
Barbara Stager was arrested and charged with the murder of her husband. Today, she is still serving her sentence in a North Carolina correctional facility, according to The Dispatch.
The movie was inspired by the book by Jerry Bledsoe about the case.
You can find updates on the case at the Movies Based On True Stories Archives.