The Nightmarish Murder of 16-Year-Old Cassie Jo Stoddart
She was watching a movie when she began hearing sounds coming from the basement. What happened next, was straight out of a horror film.
“I feel like we need a break from normal life,” said 16-year-old Torey Adamcik to his friend Brian Draper while driving around late one night. To most teenagers, this would usually mean something harmless like ditching homework or skipping class. To Torey and Brian, it meant something much more sinister, and as they walked around the halls of Pocatello High School, they knew exactly who their first victim would be.
On Friday, September 22, 2006, Frank and Allison Contreras decided to go away for the weekend with their 13-year-old daughter. They hired their 16-year-old niece, Cassie Jo Stoddart, to house-sit and look after their five pets while they were gone. Cassie was an incredibly responsible teenager. She never touched drugs or alcohol and was a straight-A student, so when she asked her aunt and uncle if she could invite her boyfriend over to give her company while she house-sat, they said yes.
Cassie’s boyfriend, Matt Beckham, arrived at the Whispering Cliffs, Idaho home at six pm. Despite Cassie’s refusal, he texted two friends they went to high school with and invited them over. Cassie told her boyfriend she didn’t have permission for anyone other than him to be at the home, but he insisted. Those two friends were Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik.
Brian and Torey arrived at 6:30 pm. After a house tour, all four teenagers sat in the living room and began watching Kill Bill, Volume 2. Less than an hour into the movie, Brian and Torey decided to leave. Matt stayed behind and continued watching the movie with Cassie.
Fifteen minutes later, Cassie and Matt began hearing strange noises coming from the basement and the sound of glass breaking. Suddenly, all of the lights turned off and it was pitch black.
At this point, Cassie was terrified and did not want to be in the house alone. Matt called his mom and asked if he could spend the night with her to keep her mind at ease. He told her about the noises, the lights and how one of the homeowner’s dogs kept barking and growling at the top of the stairs leading to the basement. Matt’s mom said no but offered to let Cassie spend the night at their house, stating she would drop her back off in the morning.
Since Cassie had been hired to look after the pets, she felt it would be irresponsible of her to leave and she refused.
Two days later, on September 24th, the Contreras’ returned home from their weekend getaway. As Cassie’s 13-year-old cousin walked into the living room, she let out a bloodcurdling scream. There on the ground was her cousin, lying on the living room floor in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed thirty times.
Investigators interviewed the last person who had seen Cassie alive, her boyfriend Matt. Oddly enough, Matt didn’t seem to show much emotion when he learned Cassie was dead. Investigators found this to be suspicious and asked him to take a polygraph test which he passed.
Matt told investigators that his two friends, Brian and Torey, had also been at the home that Friday night, but had left before him. He said he called Torey on his way home and Torey whispered he was at a movie. The following day, Matt and Torey spent the entire day together. Matt tried to call Cassie a few times, but she never answered.
Investigators brought Brian in for questioning. He told them he had gone to the Whispering Cliffs home for a party on Friday night with his friend Torey, but they had decided to leave after realizing it was only going to be the four of them. Brian said he and Torey went to the movies and then went to Torey’s home where they spent the rest of the night.
There was only one problem with Brian’s story: he couldn’t tell investigators which movie they had gone to see, who was in it or what it was even about.
Investigators’ suspicions were confirmed when they interviewed the employee who worked the ticket booth at the movie theatre that Friday night. She also went to Pocatello high school and knew Torey and Brian. According to her, they had not been there at all on September 22.
Investigators brought Brian in for a second interview. This time, he had a much different story to tell. Brian told investigators that when he and Torey arrived, Cassie gave them a tour of the house. During the tour, he unlocked the basement door. After they left the home, Brian and Torey put on masks and entered through the unlocked door. They found the circuit breaker, shut off all the lights and began slamming a closet door to scare Matt and Cassie. He said it was all just a prank gone wrong.
Brian then led investigators to Black Rock Canyon where he and Torey had buried the evidence. The evidence consisted of several pairs of gloves, several knives, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, matches, boots, clothing, masks, a notebook and a videotape.
Inside the notebook was a list of names. It was titled ‘death list’ and contained the names of several of Brian and Torey’s friends and classmates.
Brian and Torey were immediately arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder.
It didn’t take long for them to turn on the other. Brian claimed it was Torey who stabbed Cassie while he stood by and watched. Torey claimed it was the other way around. Brian later admitted to stabbing Cassie but claimed Torey had forced him. When investigators played the videotape, they discovered that the boys’ statements could not have been further from the truth.
On the videotape, investigators saw footage of Torey and Brian planning the murder the day before, the day of, and their reactions right after the murder.
Before the murder:
Brian: We’ve probably tried maybe 10 times, but they’ve never been home alone.
Torey: Or when they have, their parents show up.
Brian: As long as you’re patient you know, and we were patient and now we’re getting paid off cause our victim’s home alone. I’m sorry. I’m sorry Cassie’s family, but she had to be the one. We have to stick with the plan and she’s perfect, so she’s gonna die.
After the murder:
Brian: Just killed Cassie! We just left her house. This is not a fu**ing joke. I stabbed her in the throat, and I saw her lifeless body. It just disappeared. That felt like it wasn’t even real. I mean it went by so fast.
Torey: Shut the f**k up. We gotta get our act straight.
Brian: It’s okay. Okay? We’ll just buy movie tickets now.
In the footage, Brian and Torey made several references to infamous serial killers The Hillside Strangler, The Zodiac Killer and Ted Bundy, calling them amateurs in comparison.
They mentioned being inspired by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris — The Columbine High School massacre shooters as well as the horror film Scream, in which several teenagers are terrorized (often in their own homes) and killed by an individual wearing a mask who later turns out to be a friend.
Torey and Brian were both found guilty of first-degree murder as well as conspiracy to commit murder and were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In the end, Brian and Torey did get a break from normal life, a really long one.
Sources: Idaho State Journal, Wikipedia, My Crime Library, YouTube.
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