Gary Stoddard found guilty of murder - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gary Stoddard found guilty of murder

Posted: Updated:
Gary Stoddard was found guilty of the murder of Heather Cassel in March 2013 Gary Stoddard was found guilty of the murder of Heather Cassel in March 2013
20-year-old Heather Cassel 20-year-old Heather Cassel
Stoddard takes the stand during his trial Stoddard takes the stand during his trial
SPOKANE, Wash. -

It took a jury less than 3 hours to convict Gary Stoddard of murder, kidnapping and a weapons charge on Wednesday.


16 months ago when Stoddard admitted to the murder, it seemed police had all the evidence they needed, but Stoddard claimed he lied in a cover up to protect his nephew. However Stoddard and his attorneys claim that Stoddard's nephew, Jonathan Ritchey, is the real killer.

Ritchey has already served one year in jail for rendering criminal assistance in the murder. 

In closing arguments on Wednesday, Stoddard's attorney said Stoddard decided to confess to the murder because he believed he had terminal pancreatic cancer and would die anyway before a trial. Stoddard also said his nephew admitted to murdering Cassel after a night of drinking.

Prosecutors said Stoddard's story simply didn't add up, and after three hours of deliberation, a jury agreed and handed in the guilty verdict. 

Despite the verdict, Judge Eitzen commended Stoddard's defense team, saying it was one of the best defenses she had ever seen. 

Stoddard will be sentenced later this summer. 



A jury found Gary Stoddard guilty of murdering Heather Cassel in March 2013.

Stoddard initially confessed to the murder, but then recanted his confession, saying he was protect his nephew, Jonathan Ritchey, who he says is the real killer. 

 The jury also found Stoddard guilty of kidnapping. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates. 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Racist flyers pop up all over downtown Spokane again

    Racist flyers pop up all over downtown Spokane again

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:33 PM EDT2018-05-27 01:33:48 GMT

    Spokane, Wash. These flyers were found once again on Saturday placed all over downtown Spokane. Back in March, a group called Identity Evropa put racist posters on Eastern Universities campus. Roberto Rodriguez was walking downtown and happened to catch a glimpse of the flyers "With these posters my thoughts on them is why are we having them up?" questioned Rodriguez. Roberto understands that groups have the right to free speech. But Roberto wants...

    >>

    Spokane, Wash. These flyers were found once again on Saturday placed all over downtown Spokane. Back in March, a group called Identity Evropa put racist posters on Eastern Universities campus. Roberto Rodriguez was walking downtown and happened to catch a glimpse of the flyers "With these posters my thoughts on them is why are we having them up?" questioned Rodriguez. Roberto understands that groups have the right to free speech. But Roberto wants...

    >>
  • Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor closed indefinitely

    Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor closed indefinitely

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:33 PM EDT2018-05-26 18:33:58 GMT

    HONOLULU (AP) - Engineers say damage to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu was worse than expected and it will remain closed indefinitely.    Hawaii News Now reports boat transportation to the attraction was suspended May 6 after one of the vessel operators noticed a crack on the outside of the memorial. 

    >>

    HONOLULU (AP) - Engineers say damage to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu was worse than expected and it will remain closed indefinitely.    Hawaii News Now reports boat transportation to the attraction was suspended May 6 after one of the vessel operators noticed a crack on the outside of the memorial. 

    >>
  • Missing hunters identified after crash into Idaho river

    Missing hunters identified after crash into Idaho river

    Sunday, May 27 2018 4:14 PM EDT2018-05-27 20:14:08 GMT

    MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Authorities have identified four hunters who remain missing after a crash in the Idaho backcountry.    The Idaho County Sheriff's Office on Sunday said the men are: Koby Clark of Bozeman, Montana, Reece Rollins of Terrebonne, Oregon and brothers Raymond and Jesse Ferrieri of Mahapac Falls, New York.

    >>

    MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Authorities have identified four hunters who remain missing after a crash in the Idaho backcountry.    The Idaho County Sheriff's Office on Sunday said the men are: Koby Clark of Bozeman, Montana, Reece Rollins of Terrebonne, Oregon and brothers Raymond and Jesse Ferrieri of Mahapac Falls, New York.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Colbert mom says son bit by black flies despite precautions

    Colbert mom says son bit by black flies despite precautions

    Sunday, May 27 2018 9:40 PM EDT2018-05-28 01:40:08 GMT

    COLBERT, Wash. - We've hit that period in the year where bugs can really be a problem. The black flies are definitely back and they're biting. Tips to avoid being bit include avoiding areas where the bugs are popular, wearing long sleeves and pants, wearing clothing that is light colored as well as utilizing bug spray. Sara Bunke has taking these precautions but the flies are still eating up her son.

    >>

    COLBERT, Wash. - We've hit that period in the year where bugs can really be a problem. The black flies are definitely back and they're biting. Tips to avoid being bit include avoiding areas where the bugs are popular, wearing long sleeves and pants, wearing clothing that is light colored as well as utilizing bug spray. Sara Bunke has taking these precautions but the flies are still eating up her son.

    >>
  • Coast Guard rescues 78-year-old hiker north of Lincoln City, Ore.

    Coast Guard rescues 78-year-old hiker north of Lincoln City, Ore.

    Sunday, May 27 2018 9:22 PM EDT2018-05-28 01:22:48 GMT

    LINCOLN CITY, Ore. - A Coast Guard helicopter crew assists North Lincoln Fire and Rescue by hoisted an injured, 78-year-old female hiker from a beach near God's Thumb north of Lincoln City, Saturday. The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew safely transported the hiker to waiting emergency medical service personnel at a local casino parking lot.

    >>

    LINCOLN CITY, Ore. - A Coast Guard helicopter crew assists North Lincoln Fire and Rescue by hoisted an injured, 78-year-old female hiker from a beach near God's Thumb north of Lincoln City, Saturday. The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew safely transported the hiker to waiting emergency medical service personnel at a local casino parking lot.

    >>
  • Spokane Valley business owner's car broken into on camera

    Spokane Valley business owner's car broken into on camera

    Sunday, May 27 2018 9:00 PM EDT2018-05-28 01:00:57 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - New business owner Tabatha Lowe of Tab'z on Broadway says she was not at all surprised when her car was broken into. She acknowledged that this is a frequent occurrence in the area. Security cameras outside of her business caught a clear look at the man who broke into her Durango around 5:25 Saturday morning.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - New business owner Tabatha Lowe of Tab'z on Broadway says she was not at all surprised when her car was broken into. She acknowledged that this is a frequent occurrence in the area. Security cameras outside of her business caught a clear look at the man who broke into her Durango around 5:25 Saturday morning.

    >>