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Murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart

Brian Draper
Born
Brian Lee Draper

(1990-03-21) March 21, 1990 (age 29)
OccupationStudent at Pocatello High School
MotiveFame
Details
DateSeptember 22, 2006
11:00 p.m.
Location(s)Residence of Cassie Jo Stoddart's relative
Target(s)Student
Killed1
WeaponsHunting Knives
Torey Adamcik
Born
Torey Michael Adamcik

(1990-06-14) June 14, 1990 (age 29)
Pocatello, Idaho, U.S.
OccupationStudent at Pocatello High School
MotiveFame
Details
DateSeptember 22, 2006
11:00 p.m.
Location(s)Residence of Cassie Jo Stoddart's relative
Target(s)Student
Killed1
WeaponsHunting Knives

The murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart was committed by high school classmates, Brian Lee Draper (born March 21, 1990) and Torey Michael Adamcik (born June 14, 1990),[1] on September 22, 2006. They received mandatory sentences of life imprisonment without parole.[2]

Background

After spending most of his childhood in Utah, Brian Draper moved with his family to Pocatello, Idaho. He met Torey Adamcik when they were both students at Pocatello High School. They were both interested in films and started recording their own. Cassie Jo Stoddart (December 21, 1989 – September 22, 2006) also attended the same school; she and both boys were juniors.

The murder

On the night of September 22, 2006, Cassie was house sitting for Allison and Frank Contreras, an aunt and uncle who had moved from California with their children the year before.[3] She was visited that evening by her boyfriend Matt. Later, Draper and Adamcik showed up. The four decided to watch a film together, until Draper and Adamcik said they would prefer to go to a film at a local movie theater, leaving Cassie and Matt at the home. At one point when the young couple was alone, the electricity suddenly went out. It was restored before Matt was picked up by his mother.

Unbeknownst to Cassie or Matt, Draper and Adamcik had returned to the house before Matt's departure (roughly 10:30 p.m). Having never gone to the theater, they were both lying in wait. They later confessed to purposely shutting the power off. They entered the house and stabbed Stoddart approximately 30 times; 12 wounds were potentially fatal.[4]

Through the investigation of the murder, police found that Draper and Adamcik had recorded their plan to murder Stoddart in advance on video tape while they were at school.[5] This was shown at their trials.

Arrest and interrogations

Draper and Adamcik were arrested on September 27, 2006 and charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.[6] During the interrogations, each teen blamed the other. Draper claimed he was in the same room with Adamcik when Stoddart was killed but denied stabbing her. He later admitted stabbing her allegedly under commands from Adamcik. He led the investigators to Black Rock Canyon where the youths had disposed of the clothing, masks, and knives they used for the murder.[7][8]

Trial and sentencing

At the trial, the prosecution revealed that Draper had said he was inspired by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who committed the Columbine High School massacre. Later Adamcik was said to have been inspired by the Scream horror film franchise. On April 17, 2007, Draper was found guilty. Adamcik's trial started on May 31, 2007; he was convicted on June 8, 2007. On August 21, 2007, based on being convicted of first-degree murder, each received a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility for parole, and 30 years-to-life for being convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.[5] Adamcik and Draper are both serving their time at Idaho State Correctional Institution. It is located in unincorporated Ada County, Idaho, near Kuna.[9]

Appeals

Their attorneys filed separate appeals at the State Supreme Court in September 2010 for Adamcik[10] and in April 2011 for Draper. Draper was seeking to have his conviction vacated or to be given a limited life sentence that would allow for his release on parole (if approved) after 30 years.[6][11][12] The first appeal for both Adamcik and Draper was denied in a 3/2 decision. The high court vacated Draper's conviction on conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, saying that jurors were given erroneous instructions on that charge, but they affirmed his conviction for first-degree murder and life sentence without parole.[13]

In July 2015 Adamcik gained a hearing for post-conviction relief with state Sixth District Magistrate Judge Mitchell W. Brown. He claimed that testimony from character witnesses could have changed the outcome of the sentencing, but that his former attorney, against Adamcik's parents' wishes, chose not to call upon these witnesses. Adamcik said that his attorney believed that the prosecution would have submitted even more damaging evidence.[14] In March 2016 Judge Brown denied his request for post-conviction relief.[15] Adamcik appealed Judge Brown's decision to the Idaho Supreme Court. A hearing was held on November 9, 2017, and on December 26, 2017, the Idaho Supreme Court rejected Adamcik's appeal for post-conviction relief, upholding the district court decision.[16][17]

Following the Idaho Supreme Court's decision, Adamcik filed a federal writ of habeas corpus in January of 2018, in which he argues that the Idaho Supreme Court denied his first appeal based on a theory that wasn't presented to the jury. Adamcik also argues that he should be entitled to a new sentencing hearing in light of the Miller and Montgomery decisions (see section US Supreme Court and mandatory life sentences below). Federal magistrate judge Candy W. Dale is presiding over Adamcik's writ and as of August 2019 is in process of deliberating whether the writ should be issued.

Civil suit by Stoddart family

In 2010 the Stoddart family filed a civil lawsuit against the Idaho School District. They claimed that the school was negligent and should have known that Draper and Adamcik posed a threat to others. Both the civil court and the State Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying the actions of the killers were not foreseeable.[18]

US Supreme Court and mandatory life sentences

In Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), the United States Supreme Court ruled that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders, even in cases of murder, ruling that the youth of the convict had to be considered.[19]

In 2016 the Supreme Court ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana that this doctrine had to be applied to cases retroactively, and directed a review of all such cases, potentially 1200 to 1500 nationwide. Given juveniles' brain immaturity, the Supreme Court ruled that there had to be an opportunity to consider mitigating factors, as well as for later review of the sentences of such inmates, with possible relief for persons who had reformed. It said that "children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change."[20] Draper and Adamcik are among the cases that the state courts will review under this ruling. Some 1100 cases are found in the states of Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Michigan, where state courts had ruled that the Supreme Court's Miller v. Alabama (2012) decision overturning mandatory life sentences for juveniles was not retroactive.[20]

On October 16, 2019, the supreme court will be hearing oral arguments in Malvo v. Mathena, which is another juvenile life without parole case that could have an effect on Adamcik and Draper's sentence.

References

  1. ^ "About Torey Adamcik". Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  2. ^ "Brian Draper (17) and Torey Adamcik (17) stabbed Cassie Jo Stoddart (16) to death". Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  3. ^ Debbie Bryce, "House where murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart took place proving hard to sell", Idaho State Journal, October 2014; accessed 9 June 2017
  4. ^ STATE v. DRAPER, Leagle
  5. ^ a b Genevieve Judge (2010-04-30). "Cassie Stoddart Documentary To Air Sunday Night". Local News 8 Pocatello Bureau. Archived from the original on 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  6. ^ a b "Torey's Story - Case History". Archived from the original on 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  7. ^ "Idaho offenders. Brian Lee Draper and Tory Michael Adamcik". Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  8. ^ "Opening Statements Begin in Stabbing Death of Pocatello Teen". KBOI2. 2007-04-11. Archived from the original on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  9. ^ "Locations." Idaho Department of Correction. Retrieved on June 4, 2011. "Idaho State Correctional Institution (ISCI), 13500 S. Pleasant Valley Rd, Kuna, ID 83634"
  10. ^ "Supreme Court hears Adamcik appeal". Idaho State Journal. 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  11. ^ John Miller (2011-04-13). "Convicted Idaho killer Brian Draper asks justices for new trial". Idaho State Journal. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  12. ^ "IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF IDAHO. STATE OF IDAHO vs BRIAN L. DRAPER" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  13. ^ "Idaho court upholds conviction, sentence in stabbing". AP. 2011-12-10. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  14. ^ "Day One of Adamcik's Post-Conviction Relief Hearing". KPVI News 6. 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  15. ^ Shelbie Harris, "Remembering Cassie Jo — Brother opens up on 10th anniversary of grisly murder", Idaho State Journal, 25 Sep 2016; accessed 9 June 2017
  16. ^ Adamcik, Torey Michael v. State of Idaho (Supreme Court of Idaho December 26, 2017). Text
  17. ^ Harris, Shelby (December 28, 2017). "Supreme Court upholds Adamcik's sentence, releases transcripts of video made by killers". Idaho State Journal. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Supreme Court tosses civil case in Pocatello student slaying". Idaho News. 2010-09-21. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  19. ^ Savage, David G. (25 June 2012). "Supreme Court rules mandatory juvenile life without parole cruel and unusual". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Supreme Court: Life sentences on juveniles open for later reviews", Washington Post, 25 January 2016; accessed 9 June 2017