After reading the previous discussions on David Stanley, Rick Stanley, and the movements of each on the morning and early afternoon of August 16, 1977, there is one final section of an interview I’d like to look at. The excerpts below are from a publication called, “Essential Elvis Interviews,” presumably from the early 2000s. (These images were e-mailed to me; I am not aware of the source.)
Let’s take these statements one-by-one:
David Stanley: “At the time of Elvis’s death, I was living with two friends of mine, Aurelia Yarbrough and Shelly White.”
David Stanley, in “Life With Elvis”: “I got back in my car and drove to my apartment.” Stanley then references, “Aurelia [sic] and Shelley’s house.” He later says that he asked Aurelia and Shelley if he could move in with them. So it does not appear that he was living with these two friends on 8/16/77.
In Aurelia Yarbrough’s 2017 book, she writes that they had talked about David Stanley moving in, and on the morning of August 16, 1977, David had said to her, “I’m [going] to talk to Elvis about moving in with you and Shelley.” So according to Yarbrough, David Stanley did not live at the house at that time, specifically on that date.
David Stanley: “Shelly had a brother in town from Baton Rouge, LA. When I went to Graceland that day, I asked Mark White, my roommates’ brother, if he would like to tag along. It was around noon on the 16th.”
In this account, David Stanley seems to suggest that Mark White was someone he was not familiar with. Aurelia Yarbrough says that David Stanley and Mark White were friends, though, and that they had been partying together quite a bit since White had arrived in Memphis the previous week.
Note: Regardless of whether David Stanley resided with Aurelia and Shelley at that time, he nonetheless places himself on the property on the date in question, suggesting that he was at this location when he invited Mark White to Graceland with him.
Also worth noting in this statement is that David Stanley asked/invited Mark White to accompany him to his job. Why would he do that? Before his 12:00pm shift on that Tuesday, David Stanley would have expected that upon his arrival at Graceland he would have been “on duty,” and perhaps engaged in the preparations for the tour that started in Portland, ME, the following evening. That is, he would have been very busy. Stuff to do. Errands to run. Things to check. But on this day, he invited a friend to go to work with him. This clearly suggests that David Stanley did not expect to truly be “on duty” that day, and that he expected or knew that his work day would not be typical. Keep in mind that Elvis supposedly (according to Rick Stanley and David Stanley) told Rick Stanley earlier that morning that David Stanley should not awaken him (Elvis) until four o’clock that afternoon, but prior to his arrival at Graceland David Stanley would not have known this. There were no cell phones back then…Rick could not have simply called his brother and said, “Elvis said not to bother him until four o’clock.” So before noon that day, Rick and David had presumably not communicated, so there is no reason that David, just before 12 noon, would not have expected to have a normal day at work, which would have included attending to Elvis, and preparing to depart Memphis for Portland.
This is a key question: Why would David Stanley bring a friend to “work” with him on this particular day?
[For further discussion on Mark White, go here.]
Above we see the reference to four o-clock, but, again, prior to his arrival at Graceland “around noon,” David Stanley would not have known of this directive. He would not have known that he may have had “some time to spare” early that afternoon. How convenient, then, that on this one particular day he brought a friend with him…to work.
Why did David Stanley expect to not be busy that day?
This needs to be emphasized: Of all days, why did David Stanley take a friend to work with him on this particular day, the final day of preparation before a concert tour? “Hey, David, we are preparing for a tour and there is a lot of work to do, and no one has told you priot to your work shift that Elvis doesn’t want to be bothered until four o’clock, so why don’t you bring a friend to work?”
Question1: Has anyone ever just randomly brought a friend to work?
Question2: Why did Mark White agree to go with David Stanley to his place of employment for the day?
David Stanley found out about this “time to spare” only upon his arrival at Graceland, so he did not know about it when he invited Mark White to accompany him to his place of employment. David Stanley skips over these logical fallacies as he tells this story.
David Stanley: “Not long afterwards,” meaning not long after 12:00pm, he was alerted to Elvis’s situation.
Just an observation: This time period, “not long afterwards,” was actually almost two-and-a-half hours. In David Stanley’s book, “Life With Elvis,” Stanley writes that he arrived at Graceland for his noon shift, talked to his brother, Rick, then “stepped into the poolroom” to “play a few games” before Elvis’s 4:00pm get-up time (the word “stepped” suggests they were in the basement at this time, which is in agreement with at least one of Rick Stanley’s accounts). David Stanley writes, “But I hadn’t played too long when Ginger’s niece, Amber, appeared in the doorway and told me something was wrong with Elvis.” Here, we see that nearly two-and-a-half hours is considered, by David Stanley, to be “[not] too long.” Isn’t 2.5 hours a pretty long time to be shooting pool by yourself, or even with someone? Note there is no mention of Mark White in this telling of the story.
David Stanley: “I could hear the commotion going on upstairs in the living room.”
What “commotion” was happening in the living room between roughly 2:20pm and 2:25pm?
David Stanley: “…I came in one door, one of the paramedics came in another.”
There is only one main entrance to the upstairs at Graceland, and that is through the door at the top and to the right of the main staircase leading up from the main foyer entrance (between the living room and dining room). The paramedics had to have used this entrance, and David Stanley had to have used this entrance. So what “other” door is David Stanley referring to? Did Stanley enter the upstairs area and then walk down the hall, turn left into the wardrobe room, and then enter the bathroom from that side (as he suggests he may have done, with the reference to the wardrobe room)? If so, that he did travel this route, why? Why did he go the longer route?
Also in David Stanley’s book, “Life With Elvis,” Stanley writes that he, “…ran up the back stairs and got to Elvis’s bedroom at the same time as Joe Esposito and Al Strada.” Stanley also says that by this time the ambulance had already pulled into the driveway. None of these details squares with the reported accounts from others, nor the (supposedly) established timeline.
Dick Grob never placed himself at the mansion at this time, and in fact said that he was at home.
David Stanley says here that as the ambulance was leaving for BMH, he “ran through the house” towards the back where his car was parked, and it was here that he encountered Billy Smith. Stanley says that he told Billy what was happening, and they both jumped in the car and headed to the hospital. But let’s take a look at what Billy Smith says about this same situation in “Revelations”:
Billy Smith: “I run out to get my motorcycle to go to the hospital. And that’s when David come in. So I just jumped in the car with him. He said, ‘Where are we going?’ I said, ‘To Baptist Central.”
This is an important statement by Smith because it directly contradicts what David Stanley has told us in this interview, as well as every other account David Stanley has described in terms of the resuscitation efforts in the upstairs bathroom. Billy Smith is saying that after learning of Elvis’s medical emergency from Patsy Presley (via a phone call), Billy encountered David in the back parking area. According to Billy Smith, it was not David who told Billy what was happening, it was Billy who told David. This means that David was not aware of what was happening. But the key wording from Smith is this: “And that’s when David come in.” With this statement, Smith is saying that David Stanley had just arrived, and given Stanley’s inquiry as to where they were going, it is obvious that David did not know of Elvis’s emergency, nor that the ambulance had just been there.
[Note: In the ambulance video, David Stanley’s Datsun 280Z is seen driving north on Elvis Presley Boulevard and turning right through the Graceland gate, but the long-held assumption by many (including myself) that David Stanley was returning to Graceland could be wrong; it is possible, given Billy Smith’s statement, that David Stanley was arriving at Graceland, not returning.]
If David Stanley were arriving on the property at this time, around 2:47pm/2:48pm, just after the ambulance had left, this means that David was not upstairs in the bathroom during the emergency with the MFD paramedics. This would further suggest that David was not on the property at all before this point, which would mean he was not in the pool room with Mark White; he did not drive anyone down the street; he did not run up the stairs to Elvis’s bathroom; he did not assist with the emergency; he did not help get Elvis onto the stretcher and out to the ambulance; and he did not then run through the house towards his car out back.
There is, then, an obvious and very important question introduced here: Was David Stanley at Graceland on August 16, 1977, at the time of the medical emergency in the upstairs bathroom, and did he, in fact, attend to Elvis just after the emergency call went out at 2:20pm? Consider the following:
David Stanley is not mentioned in Joe Esposito’s book as being present in the upstairs bathroom during the critical time period. Look at pages 238-239 of Joe Esposito’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight”: No mention of David Stanley. Stanley is not mentioned until Esposito sees him arrive at BMH a short time later. (Note that Esposito gets a lot of facts wrong.) And to top it all off, Ginger Alden does not recall seeing David Stanley in the area, either. I have confirmed the following with a representative of Ginger’s: “Ginger Alden did not see David upstairs, [though he was on duty]. Mr. Presley later mentioned this to her, disturbed by it. The only three in the bathroom early on were Ginger, Joe and Al. David also did not turn Elvis over as he has stated. Joe and Al did.”
Aurelia Yarbrough, a friend of David Stanley’s mentioned in his book, has stated that in the early afteroon of August 16, 1977, David and Mark White were at her house, notably around 12:30pm-1:30pm. Not sure if Aurelia Yarbrough is trustworthy? Me, neither. More on that later.