Leonard Stokes was a criminal arrested by Adam Kirk, a lieutenant with the San Francisco Police Department. Stokes confessed to a murder in the back of Kirk's police car, but later alleged the confession was coerced.
After fourteen months in detention, Stokes' trial was finally ready to commence. A few days before, he contacted John Gitomer, a low-level criminal buddy of his, as part of a plan to discredit Kirk. He outlined a plan where Gitomer would lure Kirk to a local carnival and convince him to ride beside him in the Ferris wheel. Once they were up in the wheel, Gitomer was to pretend that Kirk was beating him (having self-inflicted bruises on himself already). Unknown to Gitomer, Stokes also contacted his girlfriend, Kitty Malone (whom he had met in a "Straight & Sober" program), and told her to murder Gitomer as Kirk stepped off the wheel, framing Kirk for the murder.
Stokes' plan was successful and Judge Hackman reluctantly dismissed the indictment. Stokes was freed, though he was apparently worried Kitty would talk. He immediately headed for the carnival and killed her. He did not have a chance to go far through the crowded carnival, however, and decided to hide on the Ferris wheel, anticipating that the authorities would most likely deduce that he was still within the carnival due to the freshness of the wound and try to search for him from the Ferris wheel. He was discovered there by Adrian Monk - who had pieced together his plan - and his assistant, Sharona Fleming. He tried to attack Sharona while the wheel was in motion, but surrendered when the police showed up in force, and was taken back into custody. (Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival)