Gary Stoddard found guilty of murder - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

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. 

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

  • Disabled family says they're trapped at home after only car stolen

    Disabled family says they're trapped at home after only car stolen

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 2:08 AM EST2018-01-17 07:08:16 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane family is left disabled and distressed after someone took off with their only mode of transportation early Tuesday morning. It happened in north Spokane off N. Maple. Gayle Session and Jack Fruin are both disabled and say multiple people depend on that car to get to appointments.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane family is left disabled and distressed after someone took off with their only mode of transportation early Tuesday morning. It happened in north Spokane off N. Maple. Gayle Session and Jack Fruin are both disabled and say multiple people depend on that car to get to appointments.

    More >>
  • Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, January 16th

    Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, January 16th

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 2:06 AM EST2018-01-17 07:06:43 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, January 16th.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, January 16th.

    More >>
  • Police: Washington State University QB Tyler Hilinski dead from apparent suicide

    Police: Washington State University QB Tyler Hilinski dead from apparent suicide

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 2:05 AM EST2018-01-17 07:05:06 GMT

    PULLMAN, Wash. - Pullman Police say at around 4:30 pm, officers responded to the Aspen Village Apartments to check on the welfare of Washington State University football player Tyler Hilinski after he did not show up for practice earlier in the day. Officers arrived and found 21-year-old Hilinski deceased in the apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

    More >>

    PULLMAN, Wash. - Pullman Police say at around 4:30 pm, officers responded to the Aspen Village Apartments to check on the welfare of Washington State University football player Tyler Hilinski after he did not show up for practice earlier in the day. Officers arrived and found 21-year-old Hilinski deceased in the apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

    More >>