SPOKANE, Wash.—The Gary Stoddard murder trial was underway on Wednesday.
Stoddard was charged with kidnapping and murdering Heather Cassel in March of 2013. His nephew, Jon Ritchey, took a plea bargain deal for his role in the crime.
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Stoddard’s defense team was pinning the murder on Ritchey. They said Stoddard only confessed to the murder because he thought he was terminally ill. Lead detective Jeff Barrington said he believed they got the right man and described Stoddard’s confession.
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“He blatantly said, ‘I shot her.’ There was no emotion. He said initially he didn't know why but then he said he kind of lost it. He said he started thinking about all he could lose and put the blame on her,” said Barrington.
Other detectives testified about finding the suspected murder weapon in a backpack where they arrested Stoddard. They said Stoddard fought with them when they tried to take him into custody, even punching one detective in the face.
Stoddard was expected to take the stand in his own defense. Testimony was set to resume on Friday.