POCATELLO — Convicted murderer Torey Adamcik’s life sentence in prison stands.
Anna Stoddart, the mother of the murder victim, heard about it late Tuesday morning from her husband, who had talked to Bannock County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Vic Pearson earlier in the day.
After the news had time to sink in, she admitted that the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the convictions and sentences of Torey Adamcik, who murdered her daughter, Cassie Jo Stoddart, came as a relief.
“It kind of does,” she said. “I was getting a little nervous because they came up with (Brian) Draper’s so quickly.”
The Idaho Supreme Court finally published that decision on Tuesday, roughly 14 months after hearing arguments in Adamcik’s appeal. The High Court upheld Adamcik’s convictions and sentences on both counts.
In all, Adamcik’s attorney, Dennis Benjamin, specified eight different points of concern with Adamcik’s conviction, including the lack of evidence proving he actually stabbed Cassie or that any stab wound he may have inflicted was a deadly wound.
Benjamin argued the court erred in denying a motion to suppress statements Adamcik made while in custody, that the jury was not properly instructed, and prosecutors made mistakes in their closing argument at trial. The attorney also challenged the district court’s denial of his post-trial motion for a reduction in sentence because the sentence itself amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, given that Adamcik was just 16 years old when the crime was committed.
Adamcik and Draper were convicted in 2007 of the stabbing murder of Cassie Jo, their Pocatello High School classmate, in September of 2006. Both were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Each was convicted on both counts in separate trials.
Both were sentenced to life in prison without parole by then Sixth District Judge Peter D. McDermott in August of 2007. Each defendant filed appeals for multiple reasons, which were denied by the Idaho Court of Appeals and subsequently appealed to the state’s top court.
The Idaho Supreme Court published its decision in Draper’s case in September, a little more than five months later.
The Idaho Supreme Court’s 63-page decision in Adamcik’s case was clearly more involved than Draper’s, which was 37 pages long. In Tuesday’s decision, written by Justice Jim Jones, the court denied Adamcik’s appeal on all eight arguments. Concurring with Jones were Justice Daniel T. Eismann, and Justice Warren E. Jones.
Justice Roger S. Burdick and Justice Joel D. Horton each dissented in part, while also concurring in part.
Adamcik’s attorney said he was obviously disappointed with the high court’s decision.
“We were disappointed in Brian Draper’s opinion as well as Torey’s,” Benjamin said. “They are different cases, but have a number of things in common, among them the life sentences without parole. The trend nationally and even internationally, is moving away from life without parole for juveniles.”
Any further appeals would be made to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court. But Benjamin has no idea at this point if that will happen.
“I could do that, but it depends on what Torey wants, and what his family wants,” he said. “That would be years down the road. I assume he’s not going to give up. He’s a young man. I wouldn’t concede the next 60 years of my life.”
Pearson, who prosecuted both Draper and Adamcik with Bannock County Prosecutor Mark Hiedeman, were pleased with the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision.
“We’re extremely happy that the decision in the Adamcik matter came down (Tuesday) and the (Idaho) Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and affirmed his sentences,” said Pearson. “While nothing will ever bring back Cassie Jo, at least justice was served.”
Read the text of the Idaho Supreme Court ruling on the E Journal Extra: http://extra.idahostatejournal.com/?p=2067104670