The night of the 22nd September 2006, no one suspected that the quiet neighborhood of Whispering Cliffs would become the scene of one of the most horrific murders of the decade. The murder was so horrendous that it even inspired the plot of the famous horror movie Scream.
In a two-story home in a quiet street in Pocatello, Idaho, Cassie Jo Stoddart was house-sitting when a strange string of events would spook her throughout the night and eventually lead to her murder. At the time, no one, especially not Cassie, suspected that the murderers were the people she knew.
During that horrible night, Cassie Jo Stoddart and her boyfriend would be frightened a couple of times by the duo that crept around the home. This culminated in a plot straight out of a movie, where the intruders waited for Cassie to be alone and then to burst into the home armed with knives and wearing masks.
The home in the Whispering Cliffs would become the site of a brutal murder, now infamously dubbed The Scream Murder.
Who Was Cassie Jo Stoddart?
Cassie Jo Stoddart was a typical American teenager, born in 1989, on December 21, in the quiet town of Pocatello, Idaho.
Enrolled in the local high school, Cassie led a quiet life of a normal teenager before she was heartbreakingly taken from her family and friends. She was a good student and a gentle person that had plenty of people that cared about her.
Cassie Jo Stoddart’s boyfriend, Matt, was always with her, as the pair didn’t seem to be able to stay apart for long. Matt was with her on the night of her tragic murder, which left terrible consequences on this young man’s life after Cassie’s death.
Cassie was murdered on the night of September 22, 2006, in a house she was watching over for her cousin. Her murder was a terrible event that shook the entire nation, having been committed by the people she knew and called friends.
Cassie Jo Stoddart’s boyfriend, Matt, dealt with a lot of guilt in the following years. He ended up taking and passing a polygraph test which cleared him of suspicion.
The Night Of The Scream Murder
A series of strange events lead to the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart. She was in her cousin’s house with her boyfriend, Matt Beckham, who had been keeping her company.
Before anything strange happened, the couple invited over their friends, Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik. It was just a normal night for the four teenagers. They hung out for two hours before Draper and Adamcik headed out.
At this point, Matt called his mother to ask if he could spend the night with Cassie at her cousin’s house. Unfortunately for everyone involved, his mother would say no. She offered Cassie to spend the night at her home. Matt’s mother recalled Cassie telling her:
“No, I have to let the animals out real early; I’m just going to stay.”
This, on the first look, complete normal interaction, would prove to be a decision that would lead to Cassie Jo Stoddart’s murder at her cousin’s house.
About fifteen minutes after Draper and Adamcik left, the power in the house went out. As they were suddenly plunged into darkness in the big, isolated home, Matt and Cassie were uneasy. Cassie knew the circuit breaker was in the basement, but neither was inclined to go down there. They sat on the couch and huddled together, hoping that the lights would come back on.
At the same time, a dog of Cassie’s cousins was growling at the door which led to the basement stairs. This only added to Matt and Cassie’s fear and lead to Matt calling his mother and asking to stay over. When he was declined, and Cassie, in turn, declined his offer to go with him to his home, the lights suddenly came back on.
Feeling a little better, Matt and Cassie continued hanging out until the movie was finished. Later in the night, around 11 pm, Cassie Jo Stoddart’s boyfriend was picked up by his mother to go home. The couple said their goodbyes, and Cassie was left alone inside her cousin’s home.
Sadly, Matt and his mother were the last people to see Cassie alive.
The Murder Of Cassie Jo Stoddart
What happened in the home of Cassie Jo Stoddart’s cousin to cause a series of strange events? Everything was an elaborate plan stitched by her murderers.
When Adamcik and Draper were hanging out with Cassie and Matt, they used the opportunity to unlock the basement door. When they were first invited in, Cassie had brought them all on a short tour of the house and ended up showing them the basement.
The murderous pair chose this moment to unlock the door and prepare the scene for what they were about to commit.
The four teenagers spent some time in the living room, watching movies before Adamsick and Draper said that they were bored and that they are going to go to the cinema instead. A short while later, while Cassie and Matt were still watching movies in the living room, the murderers returned to the neighborhood.
They parked down the street, put on dark clothes, gloves, and white masks before they quietly entered the house through the unlocked basement door.
When they started making noises in the basement, the dog of Cassie’s cousins started barking. Cassie Jo Stoddart’s killers then turned off the power from the circuit breaker. As the couple didn’t take the bait, they turned the power back on a while later.
These events made both Cassie and Matt scared and uneasy. However, after Matt didn’t get permission to stay in the home with Cassie, she reassured him that everything would be fine. Cassie wanted to stay and take care of the dogs and the house like she promised.
Once Cassie Jo Stoddart’s boyfriend, Matt, left, he called Adamsick to ask what he and Draper were doing. They were friends who frequently hung out, and this was no surprise. However, it would, later on, make some of the suspicion land on Matt Beckham. He said, later on, that he could hardly hear what Adamsick was saying as he was whispering. He thought that Adamsick was still at the cinema.
When the murderers heard Matt leave, they tried to lure Cassie back down the basement by turning the power off again. Still very uneasy, Cassie did not take the bait. This made the two sneak upstairs. With the masks that inspired Scream, Adamcik and Draper slammed the doors to draw Cassie toward the noise. It did not work.
Finally, losing patience, they walked into the living room, armed with knives. When she heard them and approached, they stabbed her a total of 30 times, 12 of which proved to be fatal.
To hide the evidence of the murder, the pair then drove to a rural area. They placed the weapons, clothing, and other evidence in a bag and set it on fire there.
The Investigation That Revealed The Nefarious Plot
The morning after the murder, the police found Cassie in her cousin’s home, dead in the living room.
Cassie Jo Stoddart’s boyfriend, Matt, was concerned for her and called her multiple times during the past night and in the morning to check on her. She never picked up, and he tried to convince Adamcik to drive by the house where Cassie was staying so he could check on her. Adamcik, of course, refused.
When the investigators entered the Cassie Jo Stoddart murder house, they found her lying in the living room with multiple stab wounds. The initial investigation led them to Adamcik and Draper as they were there the night of the murder.
The detectives first went to Adamcik’s home on September 24, 2006. They interviewed him regarding the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart. During this interview, Adamcik told detectives that he and Draper went to hang out with Cassie and Matt. After they left, he stated they went to see a movie but couldn’t recall any details from the movie. He told the detectives that he then slept over at Draper’s house.
After this, the detectives went to interview Draper at his home on September 25, 2006. The documents related to the Cassie Jo Stoddart murder stated that Draper started crying before telling police that they had visited Cassie and Matt but had left once he and Adamcik realized there would not be a party like they had thought. This aroused suspicion.
Because of the suspicion, Draper was interviewed again on September 26, 2006. This interview was at the Pocatello Police Department. His parents were not in the room, and he was read his Miranda rights. During this interview, he said something that would incriminate Matt. He said that Matt accompanied the two and looked through each window of the house. He maintained that he and Adamcik had seen a movie that night but still could describe nothing that happened in the movie.
When the detectives told Draper that they did not believe him, he told them he was not at the movies but was stealing from cars with Adamcik. He repeatedly denied going back to the house where Cassie was staying and having any involvement in her death.
Only after the detectives performed a search of Draper’s bedroom did they find evidence. In the search, they found a knife sheath under his bed.
This lead to a third interview with Draper, conducted onWednesday, September 27, 2006. They read him his Miranda rights, and Draper agreed to speak without a lawyer being present. In this interview, he admitted that he and Adamcik unlocked the door with the intention of coming back to scare Cassie and Matt. Draper also admitted breaking the ashtrays on the staircase and slamming the door to scare Cassie once they were upstairs.
Draper also stated that Adamcik walked in front of him towards Cassie and stabbed her. At the time, he thought they were pulling a joke on him. Once he saw the wounds, he no longer believed it was a joke. Draper said that he stood watching and that it was Adamcik that had done all the stabbing with his knife, which was serrated. Later on, Draper showed detectives where they buried the evidence.
This led to the detective discovering a gruesome pile of weapons and masks used in the Scream murder.
Draper was arrested after this and interviewed again. All the while, he claimed that he did not stab or harm Cassie. During the interrogation, he changed his testimony and claimed that he stabbed Cassie four times to keep Adamcik from turning on him. Apparently, Adamcik had told him repeatedly:
“You need to stab her; you need to stab her.”
After this, Draper stabbed Cassie Jo Stoddart in the leg.
Adamcik was arrested after this interview. He immediately requested to speak to a lawyer. Then the detectives read him his Miranda rights and explained that he was being arrested for the murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart. The detectives subsequently discovered a tape of the pair where they discussed the plans for the murder in detail.
After a lengthy trial and plenty of gruesome evidence, Adamcik and Draper were charged with 1st-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They wanted to be tried individually.
Draper and Adamcik were both sentenced to serve life without parole.
The Aftermath Of Cassie Jo Stoddart’s Murder
Was justice served in the case of Cassie Jo Stoddart? Her murderers were arrested and convicted, but this brought little closure for Cassie’s parents and Matt Beckham.
On April 17th, 2007, Brian Draper was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart. A few months later, Torey Adamcik was found guilty on June 8th, 2007. Both of them were sentenced to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. In addition to that, they were convicted to 30-years-to-life for the charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder on August 21st, 2007.
A couple of appeals followed these judgments. The attorneys representing Torey Adamcik filed an appeal with the State Supreme Court in September 2010. The attorneys for Brian Draper did the same in April of 2011.
Their appeals were both denied. For Draper, his conviction for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder was vacated. Still, his conviction for first-degree murder was affirmed, as well as his sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
There were a few attempts for post-conviction relief in 2015 and 2016 from both Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper. None of them were granted. The reason for this was that Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik were both heavily inspired to do what they did. They conspired and planned the murder without any remorse.
In 2010, the Stoddart family was lead to filing a civil lawsuit against the Idaho School District. This was due to their claim that the school was negligent and should have known that Draper and Adamcik posed a threat to others. Unfortunately for the family, the civil court and the State Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying the actions of the killers were not foreseeable. The murderous pair acted normally until the night of the murder.
A documentary about this gruesome murder was made in 2014, titled Your Worst Nightmare – When Lights go Out.