While many people enjoy watching the occasional horror flick, no one ever expects to become part of one. Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik, two 16-year-old boys from Bannock County, Idaho, had a deep admiration for slasher films like Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. They were especially fond of Scream, a popular 1996 slasher film directed by Wes Craven in which a masked knife maniac stalks teens in middle-class suburbia. Due to the similarities between the film and the real-life event, the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart will later be called the ‘Scream Murder.’
A Friendship Gone Wrong
Cassie Jo Stoddart was born on December 21, 1989. She attended Pocatello High School and was a straight-A student. She was known to have the best of both worlds, being both smart and beautiful.
After growing up in Utah, Brian moved to Pocatello, Idaho with his family. It was there that he met Torey, who was also a student at Pocatello High School. The boys had similar interests, both enjoying slasher films and even started recording some movies of their own. Brian and Torey, along with Cassie, were in 11th grade when the murder took place.
Cassie was tasked with taking care of her aunt and uncle’s house on September 22, 2006. The aunt and uncle lived just a few miles from Cassie’s own home. The home was in Whispering Cliffs Drive in northeast Bannock County and the owners, Allison and Frank Contreras, hired Cassie to keep an eye on their two dogs and three cats over the weekend while they were out of town.
Not unlike many teen girls, Cassie asked her boyfriend, Matt Beckham, to hang out with her while she housesat. That evening, Matt arrived at the home around 6 p.m. Soon after, two of Cassie’s “friends” showed up at the house, Brian and Torrey.
After the tour, the four teens went into the living room where they watched the film, Kill Bill, Volume II. However, Brian and Torrey decided to leave before the film ended, claiming that they were going to see a movie at the theater. Cassie and her boyfriend Matt stayed behind.
Brian and Matt left the home for a short period of time. They drove down the street and parked on the side of the road. They carefully painted the masks white with red drips to resemble blood. Then, they put on the costumes made of dark clothing and gloves. They then got back into Torrey’s car and drove back to the home where Cassie was housesitting.
Brian and Torrey, dressed in their costumes and with masks on, quietly entered the home through the unlocked basement door. Cassie and Matt were in the living room, watching TV.
When Cassie and Matt remained upstairs, Brian and Torrey found the circuit breaker. They turned off power to the home in hopes that the couple would go into the basement. However, Cassie and Matt remained upstairs so the boys turned the power back on.
Cassie became uneasy when the power went out and came back on. Matt also noticed that one of the dogs kept staring into the basement and occasionally growled or barked.
As Matt knew that Cassie was scared, he called his mom to ask her if he could spend the night. However, Matt’s mother denied his request but said that Cassie could stay at their home and she would drive her back to the house in the morning. As Cassie wanted to stay and do the job she was hired to do, she declined Matt’s mother’s offer.
At approximately 10:30 p.m., Matt’s mother arrived to pick him up, leaving Cassie in the home alone. Matt called Torrey’s phone to check their whereabouts and potentially plan a meet-up later.
Matt recalled that Torrey was whispering on the phone and he assumed that they were in the movie theater. However, they were actually in the basement of the Whispering Cliffs home.
Two Masked Assassins
After hearing Matt leave the home, Brian and Torrey once again cut the power to the house. They hoped that this would lure Cassie into the basement, where they could carry out their plan. However, Cassie didn’t go into the basement, so the boys decided to go upstairs. Brian opened and slammed a closet door at the top of the stairs to scare Cassie. She was lying on the living room couch at the time.
When the boys entered the room, Cassie jumped up from the couch and asked who the masked intruders were.
This is when both Brian and Torrey attacked her, Brian armed with a dagger-type weapon and Torey with a hunting knife. The weapons had previously been purchased from a pawn shop.
Matt hung out with Torrey the day following the murder. He attempted several times to get ahold of Cassie, but his calls went unanswered. Her body wouldn’t be found until two days after her death, on September 24th, when her aunt and uncle returned from their trip and discovered her body on the living room floor. Of course, detectives first looked at Matt as a possible suspect, but he was quickly cleared of the murder.
It wasn’t long before the murder was traced back to Brian and Torrey.
Both boys were brought in for questioning on the same day that Cassie’s body was discovered. The boys came up with a story about leaving the home early to go to a movie, before changing their story and telling police that they were actually breaking into cars around the neighborhood.
Eventually, Brian cracked and admitted to the police that he was present when Cassie was murdered. However, he claimed that Torrey was the one that stabbed her, and he only joined in under direct orders from Torrey.
Brian provided valuable information to the police about the evidence the boys had stashed in Black Rock Canyon.
This video was a key piece of evidence in court proceedings as it showed the murder was premeditated. The video also revealed the boys’ plans to become serial killers, even referencing real-life serial killers like the Zodiac Killer, Hillside Strangler, and Ted Bundy.
At trial, prosecutors said that Brian was inspired by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the teens who committed the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.
Sentencing and Appeals
On April 17, 2007, Brian Draper was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Just a couple of months later on June 8, 2007, Torey Adamcik was convicted of the same charges. Both Brian and Torrey received life sentences without the possibility of parole, in addition to 30 years to life.
Brian and Torrey are currently serving their time at Idaho State Correctional Institution. However, both men have filed appeals at the Idaho Supreme Court. Brian sought to have his conviction vacated or to be given a limited life sentence that would possibly allow him to be released on parole after thirty years.
However, the first appeal for both Brian and Torrey was denied in a 3-2 decision. Brian’s conviction on conspiracy to commit first-degree murder was vacated by the high court, claiming that the jurors were provided with erroneous instructions on the charge; however, his conviction for first-degree murder and a life sentence without parole was affirmed.
In July 2015, Torrey had a hearing for post-conviction relief, claiming that testimony from character witnesses may have changed the outcome of his sentencing, but that his former attorney did not call upon these witnesses. However, his request for post-conviction relief was denied.
Approximately 15 years following the horrific murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart, Brian Draper agreed to speak with “Dateline” reporter Keith Morrison about the murder. Unlike Torrey who did not seem to be remorseful for his actions, Brian revealed that he carries regret “every day” for taking Cassie’s life.
In the interview, he says, “I felt like a nobody and I felt like I’d be somebody if I did something you know, big and bad.” He also wanted to send a message for other kids who may feel like outcasts or are considering violence, saying: “It’s not too late for all the kids out there who are thinking about that stuff now. It’s not too late man to get in engaged in your life and try to improve your life and better your life.”