Stoddard takes stand, tries to pin murder on nephew

Stoddard takes stand, tries to pin murder on nephew

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gary Stoddard took the witness stand Tuesday in his own defense and tried to recant his confession to police that he killed his nephew's estranged girlfriend.

Stoddard is accused of shooting Heather Cassel to death in a botched kidnapping attempt in March 2013 and in court Tuesday he was consistent and earnest in explaining that he was trying to divert the detective's attention away from his nephew by immediately confessing to the crime.

The reason, Stoddard explained, was that he never expected to stand trial for the crime because at the time he felt he had terminal cancer and had less than six weeks to live, which is why he confessed to the killing after he was taken into custody less than 24 hours after Cassel died.

But now he wants the jury to believe that his nephew is the real killer and that he was only taking the blame because he thought he was dying.

"Look I know what they say, you can die in six weeks. if you've already got the symptoms it's too late," Stoddard said on the witness stand Tuesday.

Unfortunately for Stoddard's defense, prosecutors have a great amount of evidence that ties him and not his nephew to Cassel's death, including the murder weapon and the handcuff that was on her wrist.

Both the defense team and prosecutors rested their respective cases Tuesday, so the jury will hear closing arguments Wednesday morning.