- Target: Honorable Judge Peter D. McDermott 624 E Center St. Pocatello Idaho 83201
- Sponsored by: www.justiceforjuveniles.org
In 2006 Torey met Brian Lee Draper at school. Brian also liked movies so he and Torey decided to write a movie script. Six weeks into their friendship Brian began filming a video depicting two teenage killers. Torey participated thinking it was all an act until on September 22, 2006, Brian murdered their friend and classmate Cassie Jo Stoddard. Cassie was stabbed to death while house sitting for relatives.
That Wednesday prior to Friday September 22nd, Brian developed a thirty-minute videotape representing two teenage killers. Both boys had claimed that this was just a movie. However, Brian gave specific details on the videotape about killing certain people just like in the stories he wrote. Torey never took the words seriously because he didn't believe Brian would actually kill someone.
On September 22nd, Torey and Brian had been at the house with Cassie and her boyfriend Matt earlier in the night. Hiding nothing from his mother, Torey told his mom before he left home for there where he was going, wrote down the address for her and even talked to her that night on his cell phone from Cassies to check in. Unaware to Torey while visiting with Cassie and Matt, Brian had gone downstairs and unlocked the doors. After Torey and Brian left the house, Brian said they were going to go back in to scare Cassie and Matt. As they entered the home, Brian cut the lights at the circuit breaker so it was pitch black. Torey could not even see his hand in front of his face, all he could do was hear and what he heard scared him enough that he ran out of the house. What he heard was Brian fatally stabbing Cassie.
In Toreys own words, "I didn't do anything to stop him. I just froze up and I ran. I have heard that Brian has accused me of threatening to kill him if he confessed when we met at the convenience store. This isn't true. He threatened to kill me."
That night before Torey left the house he asked his Mom if both Brian and Matt (Cassies boyfriend) could spend the night when they got back from Cassies. She told him Brian could that night and Matt could spend the next night, Saturday night. So with that agreement, Brian spent the night at Toreys home. It was already planned before Torey left the house so he was stuck with Brian spending the night after what happened and to scared to confront Brian so he would not come home with him. Torey said he stayed up all night watching Brian while they were down in the family room right next to Laceys (Toreys sisters) bedroom. He was scared to leave Brian for fear of what Brian might do to her or the rest of his family.
Torey and Brian were arrested five days later and were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Brian was tried first in April of 2007, and was found guilty of all charges. Toreys trial started on May 31, 2007 only a month later in the same town, same court room with the same Judge. June 8, 2007 he also was found guilty of all charges. On August 20, 2007 both Brian and Torey were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Torey adamantly denies killing Cassie Stoddard or having any knowledge that Brian was going to kill her. Brian confessed to stabbing her, Torey did not. We have since found out that Brian had an extensive history of violence and depression and had been planning to kill for at least two years. Torey had only known Brian a short time and was the unfortunate victim of a manipulative predator.
Lawyers said in opening statements that Brian's pattern of prior bad acts and Toreys character witnesses would be shown in trial, but the defense team then decided not to do that and rested after only one and a half days. DNA evidence proved Brian wielded the knife that killed poor Cassie. No DNA evidence was ever found of Toreys.
The State tested both Toreys and Brians shirts, their gloves, the knives, and all other evidence recovered for Cassie's blood. They only found it on one knife, one shirt, and one glove, which the Defense then had tested for DNA. Brians DNA came back positive as the wearer of the shirt and glove which excluded Torey of being the wearer of either. Brians DNA was also found under Cassies fingernails also excluding Torey as a possible contributor.
The only thing linking Torey to this heinous crime is Brians video taping before and after her death. Brians jury was brought in one week before Torey's trial by the prosecution and asked how the prosecutors could get a conviction on Torey. Brian's jurors said that there was no way to even place Torey in the house and that it sounded like Torey really did think they were making a movie. They told the prosecutors not to refer to what Torey had written as a script, as they had in Brian's trial amongst other things.
The videotape Brian made was key evidence in both trials. After the videotape was published to the jury in Brian's trial, the videotape was played repeatedly on the news and on the internet. Jury members admitted to seeing this key evidence before Torey's trial. Torey was convicted before he ever reached the courtroom. The police and prosecutors never even asked Torey what happened or provided him any opportunity to tell his story. They arrested him, put him in solitary confinement and then tried him as an ADULT!!
Torey to this day has not yet had a chance to tell his side of the story. He wanted to testify at his trial but at the last minute, his attorneys decided against it. The psychiatrist who evaluated Torey strongly advised that he testify because it would have shown the jury how immature Torey is. The Doctor felt Torey had such strong physiological responses when he talked about what happened, that they couldn't be faked therefore showing the jury that he was being truthful.
Torey helped Brian out of fear cover up a crime. That is what Torey is guilty of, and takes full responsibility for that but is not guilty of what he has been charged and convicted of.
Torey deserved a fair and unbiased trial. He did not harm Cassie and did not know Brian was capable of such violence and rage. He does not deserve to be in prison for the rest of his life. He spent 9 months in total isolation in the county jail before being transferred to an adult prison to serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole. This is cruel punishment of a 16 year-old boy, especially one who is innocent of the charges against him.
*Torey has always maintained his innocence before, during and after Brian confessed to stabbing Cassie.
*There was a defensive struggle between Cassie and her attacker.
*There were DNA profiles from four males under Cassies fingernails, Brian was included as a contributor and Torey was excluded as a possible contributor.
*Cassies blood was found on one shirt, and one glove. DNA tests prove that Brian was wearing both of these.
*Cassies blood was found on only one knife.
*There is NO DNA evidence linking Torey to this crime WHATSOEVER.
*There was a single blood trail leading through and out of the house.
*On the videotape, Brian Lee Draper makes three separate statements that he, Brian, had just killed Cassie.
*The case was highly publicized from the beginning therefore tainting the jury.
*Both boys were convicted in the press before ever going to trial.
*Brians trial was six weeks prior to Toreys, at which time the videotape was released to the news and was posted on the internet. Some of the jurors admitted to seeing this key evidence before Toreys trial even began.
*Not all evidence was presented at trial and Torey and the psychiatrist who examined him were not allowed to testify.
Why Torey was convicted
*He was convicted on circumstantial evidence (the videotape)
*The jury said that they heard Brian Draper say, " We just killed Cassie" instead of "just killed Cassie."
*The prosecution claimed Torey confessed when, in fact, he did not.
*One of the jury instructions stated that if you found Torey engaged in conduct, which caused the death of Cassie Jo Stoddart, you must find him guilty of murder. Engaged in conduct is overbroad and unclear.
We the undersigned realize some children commit horrible crimes, and the justice system should punish them accordingly. Juveniles, though, are not adults. Their brain is not completely developed making them less able than adults to resist impulses. The juvenile death penalty was abolished for that very reason yet LWOP is still a living death sentence.
Consideration should also be given to the nature of the crime. Children should not be imprisoned for life for acting as accessories, lookouts or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. They should not be imprisoned for life for the un-communicated actions of another person. Putting a 16-year-old who played such a role in jail for life is an extraordinarily harsh, and expensive, societal response.
We pray your Honorable Judge McDermott that you will consider Toreys age, background, mentality and all the evidence that was not allowed and allowed into trial before setting in stone a life sentence for this child.