Suspect's ex feels responsible for Spokane woman's murder



Posted on July 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 16 at 10:13 AM

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. -- Gary Stoddard awaits trial for First Degree Murder for the death of Heather Cassel. The 20-year-old woman was shot to death in March. Spokane authorities found her body outside of the College Terrace Apartments.

On Monday, Stoddard’s ex-girlfriend sat down with Dr. Phil on KREM 2 at 3:00 p.m. Charlotte Jones told Dr. Phil that she blames herself for Cassel’s death.

When I heard that Heather was killed and Gary was the suspect, I had a panic attack," said Jones. "My co-worker called the ambulance. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't stop shaking."

“I feel like I’m responsible for her death,” she added. “I should have prosecuted him when I had the chance.”

Jones said to Dr. Phil that she buckled when the chance came to prosecute Stoddard.

"After I refused to prosecute Gary, he ended up serving, not even a year in jail. About a month ago, Gary was accused of kidnapping and murdering a woman," Jones said.

Jones said Stoddard attacked her years before Cassel’s murder.

“He stabbed me in the head. He stabbed me in the stomach,” said Jones.

She told Dr. Phil that she wish she had told the truth about her encounter with Stoddard.

Court records show Stoddard has an extensive criminal history with accusations of violent crimes against women over several years.

KREM 2 News learned on Monday that Stoddard has allegedly told his fellow inmates that his victims "got what they deserved."

The lead detective in the Stoddard case said the alleged murderer is not remorseful.

"We received information from a source that Gary Stoddard has made comments about the fact that the recent victim Heather Cassel got what she deserved, just like the rest of them," said Detective Jeff Barrington.

Detective Barrington went on to say that multiple alleged victims have come forward since Stoddard's arrest in March.

"He had the potential of traveling throughout the U.S. at will," Detective Barrington said. "So potentially, it could be a victim anywhere, nation wide."

Detective Barrington also said that Stoddard has the potential to be a serial offender.

"He obviously has a problem. Most definitely. I think he's a danger to our community."

Stoddard and his nephew Jon Ritchey were arrested for the brutal murder of Heather Cassel. Stoddard is also accused of kidnapping her.

Court documents show Cassel was found with a handcuff on her wrist. Stoddard admitted to shooting her once in the chest and then in the face. He told detectives he panicked and didn’t want to go to jail.

Detective Barrington has already started fielding calls about other possible victims just since the Dr. Phil episode aired.