Cassie Jo Stoddart: Astonishing Murder of Girl by Classmates

Almost all homicides are sad and senseless. But when the victim is a young person, they seem especially more so. In this post, I present the case of Cassie Jo Stoddart, who was killed in 2006 by two of her high school classmates.

Cassie Jo Stoddart House-Sits

In the fall of 2006, Frank and Allison Conteras engaged their sixteen-year-old niece, Cassie Jo Stoddart, to house-sit for a weekend. Her primary responsibility was to care for the couple’s three cats and two dogs.

Cassie Jo Stoddart
Cassie Jo Stoddart

On the evening of Friday, September 22, 2006, Cassie Jo was at the Contreras home outside Pocatello, Idaho. Around 6:00 p.m., her boyfriend, Matt Beckham, came to visit. Later, two classmates, Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik, both sixteen at the time, dropped by to “hang out.” Cassie Jo gave them a tour of the house, including the basement. The four then went into the living room to watch a movie, Kill Bill, Volume II. Draper and Adamcik left before the film finished, while Stoddart and Beckham remained in the house.

The house on Whispering Cliffs Drive in Pocatello, Idaho, where Cassie Jo Stoddart died (realtor.com)
The house on Whispering Cliffs Drive in Pocatello, Idaho, where Cassie Jo Stoddart died (realtor.com)

Unknown to Stoddart and Beckham, Draper had unlocked the basement door during the house tour. He and Adamcik later returned to the neighborhood and parked down the street. They donned dark clothing, gloves, and masks painted white. They re-entered the Contreras home and began making noises in the basement, trying to lure the couple downstairs “so they could scare them.” When that failed, the boys turned off all the power in the house at the circuit breaker box. When Stoddart and Beckham still did not come downstairs, they turned some lights back on.

Murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart

The power outage frightened Cassie Jo. Beckham called his mother and asked if he could stay overnight at the Contreras house, but she refused. Instead, she offered to have Stoddart stay overnight at the Beckham house. However, Cassie Jo felt it was her responsibility to stay with the animals, so she declined the offer.

Brian Draper, one of Cassie Jo Stoddart's killers
Brian Draper, one of Cassie Jo Stoddart’s killers

Beckham’s mother picked him up at about 10:30. Draper and Adamcik, still in the basement, heard him leave. They then turned the power off again, hoping Stoddart would come downstairs to turn the lights back on. She did not. After waiting a while, the two boys went upstairs. Cassie Jo was lying on a couch in the living room. Draper opened and slammed a closet door to scare her before attacking the defenseless teen. Draper, using a dagger-like weapon, and Adamcik, with a hunting knife, stabbed Cassie Jo about thirty times. Twelve of the wounds could have been fatal.

Torey Adamcik, one of Cassie Jo Stoddart's killers
Torey Adamcik, one of Cassie Jo Stoddart’s killers

Arrest and Trial of Draper and Adamcik

Draper and Adamcik were arrested on September 27, 2006, and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Unsurprisingly, each teen blamed the other. Draper claimed he was in the same room with Adamcik when he killed Stoddart but denied stabbing her. He later admitted to stabbing her under alleged commands from Adamcik. He led investigators to where the teens had partially burned and buried the clothing, masks, and weapons they used for the murder. There, police recovered a partially burned videotape. After restoration, the tape showed video footage of the duo making plans to kill Stoddart.

Draper and Adamcik tried to burn the videotape that recorded them plotting the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart (YouTube)
Draper and Adamcik tried to burn the videotape that recorded them plotting the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart (YouTube)

At trial, the prosecution revealed that Draper had said he was inspired by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who committed the Columbine High School massacre. Adamcik was said to have been inspired by the Scream horror film franchise. Draper was convicted on April 17, 2007, and Adamcik on June 8, 2007. On August 21, 2007, based on the first-degree murder convictions, each received a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and thirty years to life for conspiracy to commit murder.

Both teens appealed their sentences. Draper’s conviction for conspiracy was overturned because of improper jury instructions, but his murder conviction was upheld, as was the life sentence. All other appeals have failed.

Epilogue

Today (2024), Draper and Adamcik reside in the Idaho State Correctional Facility in Kuna, Idaho.

Brian Draper (L) and Torey Adamcik (R) (YouTube/Snag Films, idahostatejournal.com)
Brian Draper (L) and Torey Adamcik (R) (YouTube/Snag Films, idahostatejournal.com)

The Stoddart family sued the Pocatello School District in 2010, claiming negligence by school authorities. Both the civil court and the Idaho Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying the actions of the killers were not foreseeable.

Dateline NBC featured the Cassie Jo Stoddart murder in a February 18, 2024, episode reported by Keith Morrison.

You can read more about Brian Draper, Torey Adamcix, and the Stoddart murder in Mormon Sons—Brian Draper Torey Adamcik, by Pamela Lillian Valemont.

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