In the back halls of the Bannock County Sheriff's Office hang clippings of news articles from a case that rocked the community nearly 14 years ago. As Sheriff Lorin Nielsen retires after 40 years of public service, that case continues to make an impact on him today.
In 2007, juries found two Pocatello teenagers, Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik, guilty in the 2006 murder of fellow classmate Cassie Jo Stoddart.
Sheriff Nielsen says, "She didn't do anything but attend school. She didn't do anything but be friends with somebody else, and just about everybody."
The two boys were tried separately. Both as adults
Sheriff Nielsen says, "It was tragic for the two parents. I was the one who told the parents their child was going to be charged for murder."
Adamcik's lawyers claimed draper committed the crime. However, evidence - including a list of classmates the two planned on killing as well as a video the pair taped before and after the murder - led to the conviction of both. Sheriff Nielsen says, "It was a no-win situation for us. Who wins?"
A jury found Draper guilty first.
To which Stoddart's grandfather Paul Sisneros reacted by saying, "One down, one more to go." Her mother Anna Stoddart reacted by saying, "I'm just happy. My baby got her justice."
Just months later, a jury delivered the same news for Adamcik. Stoddart's father felt then like the sheriff does today saying, "We're sorry it had to end up this way because it's destroyed so many families, but we're moving on."
Months later, Sixth District Judge Peter McDermott (retired) sentenced both teens a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
As Stoddart's family moved on, the sheriff applied what he learned in the case when dealing with other juvenile cases. He says, "It's what's in the best interest of the child. What can we do to make sure this child gets corrected from this behavior to go on?"
Now, 14 years later, he still believes the judge's sentencing for the two boys was the right one. He says, "I totally agree with Judge McDermott saying, 'You'd kill again.'"
Cassie Jo Stoddart's family wasn't available for an interview, but her grandmother did tell KPVI that when a family is placed in a situation like they were, remaining strong as a family is the only choice there is.