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>>

  • Colorado principal, assistant out after forced-splits video

    Colorado principal, assistant out after forced-splits video

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:57 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:57:52 GMT

    DENVER, Co. (AP) - A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August. Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and 

    More >>

    DENVER, Co. (AP) - A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August. Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and 

    More >>
  • Washington cyberstalking law on thin ice after hearing

    Washington cyberstalking law on thin ice after hearing

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:25 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:25:12 GMT

     TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Washington's law against cyberstalking faces a dubious future after the state Attorney General's Office declined to defend its constitutionality during a federal court hearing. Lawyers for a retired Air Force major on Friday asked U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton to block the state from enforcing the law, saying their client has been threatened with prosecution for making online posts that criticize - but don't threaten - a 

    More >>

     TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Washington's law against cyberstalking faces a dubious future after the state Attorney General's Office declined to defend its constitutionality during a federal court hearing. Lawyers for a retired Air Force major on Friday asked U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton to block the state from enforcing the law, saying their client has been threatened with prosecution for making online posts that criticize - but don't threaten - a 

    More >>
  • FBI: 'Double Hat Bandit' arrested after string of multi-state bank robberies

    FBI: 'Double Hat Bandit' arrested after string of multi-state bank robberies

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:11 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:11:43 GMT

    INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - The FBI announced Friday that a serial bank robber dubbed the "Double Hat Bandit," has been arrested.  The man, who wears two hats during his crimes, is responsible for at least 13 bank robberies inside grocery stores in Washington, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado. 54-year-old Shane Carson was arrested Thursday in the parking lot of a motel in Whitehead, Indiana. #Captured: Suspected "Double Hat 

    More >>

    INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - The FBI announced Friday that a serial bank robber dubbed the "Double Hat Bandit," has been arrested.  The man, who wears two hats during his crimes, is responsible for at least 13 bank robberies inside grocery stores in Washington, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado. 54-year-old Shane Carson was arrested Thursday in the parking lot of a motel in Whitehead, Indiana. #Captured: Suspected "Double Hat 

    More >>