Tuesday’s first-degree murder and kidnapping charges against felon Gary L. Stoddard are the latest in a series of serious accusations against a man who has for the most part avoided convictions for the worst of his alleged conduct.
Stoddard, 45, who also goes by Michael Gary Stoddard, has been the suspect in several cases where female victims accused him of kidnapping and rape, according to county, state and federal court records.
The string began in 1997 when Stoddard was convicted of a domestic violence assault against a Spokane County woman with whom he had a six-year relationship and who was the mother of his 4-year-old child.
According to court records, his girlfriend told investigators that he undressed her, bound her with duct tape, placed her into the trunk of a car, shot at her and raped her in front of their son. Court records also state that Stoddard beat the boy with a belt.
Two weeks later, authorities said the woman agreed to go to dinner with Stoddard only to end up driving around north Spokane as Stoddard held a knife to her throat, archives state. Court documents said the woman was stabbed in the forehead, stomach and chest when she tried to escape.
Stoddard served 14 months of a 20 3/4-month sentence in that case.
State records show that after serving that term, Stoddard went to prison again in 1999 for theft, but that he has not been part of the state prison system since 2000.
In February 1999, Stoddard nearly froze to death in the woods near Skookum Creek in Pend Oreille County after deputies pursued him based on a fugitive warrant out of Spokane County charging him with kidnapping, rape and burglary. Believing him to be armed, deputies waited as Stoddard fell into the creek in freezing temperatures before apprehending him.
The charges against Stoddard stemmed from a Spokane County investigation alleging he broke into a co-worker’s home and beat her, then took her for a drive and raped her twice. But a jury acquitted Stoddard on Sept. 2, 1999, of all charges after testimony did not match up to some of the victim’s claims.
During that same year in federal court, Stoddard was charged along with his brother, Ricky A. Ritchey, with running a fraudulent firearms business that defrauded 10 people of nearly $25,000.
In refusing to allow him out of jail, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno in 1999 ruled that no amount of bail or conditions would keep the public safe from Stoddard.
Stoddard was sentenced to 18 months and three years of supervised release for his role in the fraud scheme.
In 2001, he was accused of kidnapping his girlfriend and raping her in the mountains of Pend Oreille County. A Pend Oreille County prosecutor declined to pursue charges, records show.
In June 2003, local detectives sought to have prosecutors charge Stoddard with third-degree rape of a child, but the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file charges, court records indicate.
A month later in 2003, a federal arrest warrant was issued alleging that Stoddard violated his conditions of release. But U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle quashed that arrest warrant based on a recent court ruling that indicated the judge no longer had jurisdiction over the case.