Do you agree with the verdict?
SPOKANE, Wash.--It took a jury less than three-hours to find Gary Stoddard guilty in the kidnapping murder of Heather Cassel on Wednesday afternoon. The 20-year-old woman was fatally shot in 2013.
Stoddard's nephew Jonathan Ritchey, the father of Cassel's child, was also implicated in the crime but reached a plea deal for his involvement.
Stoddard had confessed to detectives shortly after his arrest. On Wednesday, he denied it all and pinned it on Ritchey. He said he was trying to protect his nephew and claimed Ritchey was the real killer.
“I didn't kill heather, I didn't,” said Stoddard.
Prior to the verdict being read on Wednesday, Stoddard spoke to KREM 2 News. He said he was extremely nervous and did not know how the trial would end. He cried during the interview and claimed to be remorseful for his role.
Stoddard appeared stunned when the verdict was read.
A juror told KREM 2 News that some of the jurors were on the fence when they first began deliberations. He said the evidence simply pointed to no one else but Stoddard once they examined it.
The Cassel family could feel a sense of justice on Wednesday.
“I always thought I would die before my child, not the other way around. It was my worst nightmare,” said Carrie Wilson, Cassel’s mother.