State v. Adamcik, Docket No. 34639

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
PartiesSTATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. TOREY MICHAEL ADAMCIK, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberDocket No. 34639
Decision Date29 November 2011

2010 Opinion No. 121

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Appeal from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bannock County. Honorable Peter D. McDermott, District Judge.

Judgment of conviction for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder is affirmed.

Nevin, Benjamin, McKay & Bartlett, Boise, for appellant. Dennis A. Benjamin argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. John C. McKinney, Deputy Attorney General argued.

J. JONES, Justice.

Torey Michael Adamcik (Adamcik) appeals from his convictions for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Adamcik raises the following issues on appeal: (1) whether there was constitutionally sufficient evidence for a jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Adamcik stabbed the victim, Cassie Jo Stoddart (Stoddart), causing her death; (2) whether the district court erred in denying Adamcik's motion to suppress statements he made while in custody; (3) whether the jury was properly instructed; (4) whether the State committed fundamental error in its closing argument; (5) whether the cumulative error doctrine necessitates a reversal; (6) whether the district court abused its discretion in sentencing Adamcik; and (7) whether the sentences imposed are unreasonable, or cruel and unusual, due to Adamcik's status as a minor at the time the crimes occurred. Adamcik also appeals the district court's denial of his post-trial motion for reduction in sentence pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 35. We affirm.

I.FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On June 8, 2007, a jury convicted Adamcik for the first-degree murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart and for entering into a conspiracy with his co-defendant Brian Draper (Draper) to commit first-degree murder. Subsequently, Adamcik was sentenced to indeterminate life with thirty years fixed for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and fixed life for first-degree murder.

On September 22, 2006, Stoddart was spending the night at her cousin's house, the Whispering Cliffs residence, performing house-sitting duties. Matt Beckham (Beckham), Stoddart's boyfriend, stated that he and Stoddart had invited Adamcik to the Whispering Cliffs residence that evening to "hang out." Adamcik and Draper arrived at the Whispering Cliffs residence at approximately 6:30 or 7:00 PM. After spending approximately two hours at the Whispering Cliffs residence, Draper informed Stoddart and Beckham that he needed to leave and shortly thereafter Draper and Adamcik departed.

Approximately fifteen minutes after Adamcik and Draper departed, the power at the Whispering Cliffs residence went out. Beckham called his mother to ask for permission to stay the night, but such permission was denied. After speaking with his mother, Beckham phoned Adamcik to inform him that Beckham would be going home for the night. Beckham later said that during their conversation Adamcik spoke in a whisper and claimed to be at a movie. Beckham and Adamcik spent the following day together. Beckham tried repeatedly to call Stoddart throughout the day but was unable to get an answer.

On September 24, 2006, it was discovered that Stoddart had been killed at the Whispering Cliffs residence. Police officer Hatch responded to the scene and noted large amounts of blood on the victim's body, as well as deep lacerations and stab wounds. Shortly after responding, police and paramedics confirmed that Stoddart was dead. Detectives conducting the preliminary investigation determined that Adamcik and Draper had been among the last people to see Stoddart alive.

Detectives Thomas and Ganske went to the Adamcik home and interviewed Adamcik on September 24, 2006. Adamcik's father, Sean Adamcik (Sean), was present. This interview was the first of two interviews that detectives Thomas and Ganske conducted with Adamcik. During the course of the first interview, Adamcik informed the detectives that he and Draper had gone tothe Whispering Cliffs residence at approximately 8:30 PM on September 22, 2006, for a party. Adamcik stated that when it became apparent that a party was not going to take place, he and Draper decided to go and see a movie in Pocatello. When the detectives questioned Adamcik regarding the movie he had reportedly seen, Adamcik was unable to describe what the movie had been about. Adamcik told detectives that following the movie he and Draper had gone to spend the night at Adamcik's home.

On September 27, 2006, after Adamcik's first interview, but before the second, Draper led law enforcement agents to a stash of evidence buried in the Black Rock Canyon area (BRC site). The evidence uncovered by law enforcement at the BRC site included:

1. Two dagger-style knives with sheaths.
2. A silver-and-black-handled knife with a smooth and non-serrated blade.
3. A folding knife with a silver blade and black handle, which is similar to a survival knife. The portion of the blade nearest to the hilt is serrated.
4. A homemade Sony videotape (BRC tape).
5. A box of stick matches.
6. A melted brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide.
7. Partially burned notebook paper.
8. A partially melted multi-colored mask.
9. A red and white mask.
10. A pair of black boots.
11. A single black glove.
12. A pair of black "Puma" gloves.
13. A pair of blue latex gloves.
14. A pair of fingerless black "Athletic Works" gloves.
15. A black "Calvin Klein" dress shirt.
16. A black "Hagger" shirt.

Adamcik conceded that his handwriting was present on the notebook paper found along with the other evidence at the BRC site. The BRC tape contained footage of Adamcik and Draper planning Stoddart's murder, and later reacting to having killed Stoddart. The BRC tape skips around and is not recorded in chronological order. The following relevant portions of theBRC tape have been rearranged according to the time and date stamps that appear on the BRC tape.1

1. September 21, 2006, at 8:05:23 PM [Adamcik and Draper are in a car, Adamcik is driving and Draper is filming from the passenger seat]
Draper: We're going for a high death count
Adamcik: Plus, we're not going to get caught Brian, if we're going for guns, we're just gonna end it. We're just gonna grab the guns and get outta there and kill everybody and leave.
Draper: We're going to make history. . . . We're gonna make history.
Adamcik: For all you FBI agents watching this—
Draper: (laughing)
Adamcik: Uh . . . you weren't quick enough. (laughing)
Draper: You weren't quick enough, and you weren't s-s-smart enough. And we're going over to [Jane Doe 1's] house, we-we-we're going to snoop around over there and try to see if she's home alone or not, and if she's home alone, SPLAT! . . . She dead.
Adamcik: Don't put your humor into this Brian.
Draper: Uh, I'm not putting any humor into it. . . . Yep, people will die, and m-m-memories will fade.
Adamcik: Memories will fade. . . . I, hmm, I wonder what movie you got that from Brian?
Draper: Myself!
Adamcik: (laughing)
Draper: That was from myself.
Adamcik: No wonder it was so lame.
Draper:—kay, we're on our way, and I'm gonna, I'll let you stay tuned, we're almost there.
2. September 21, 2006, at 8:08:12 PM [Adamcik and Draper are in a car, Draper is filming Adamcik with the camera light on]
Draper: We're at [Jane Doe 1's] house. It's clear out there in the pasture. We've already snooped around her house a couple times, Uh, and sh-sh-she's not at home so we're gonna go to that church over there and we're gonna call a girl and a guy named Cassie and Matt. They're our-our friends but we have to make sacrifices. So um I feel tonight i-i-it is the night and I feel really weird . . . and stuff. I feel like I want to kill somebody. Uh, I know that's not normal but what the hell.
Adamcik: I feel we need to break away from normal life.
Draper: How bright is this light? [Draper has turned the camera light directly onto Adamcik]
Adamcik: Because . . . let's put it this way . . . parents, along with their parents, along with their parents, and so on—
Draper: Uh-huh
Adamcik:—taught them about God, Jesus, the whole bullshit—
Draper: (laughing)
Adamcik: —line. I'm sure you guys believe in God as well. I realized when I was in seventh grade . . . along, you don't believe in Santa Claus or—Draper: (laughing)
Adamcik:—vampires, or werewolves, they're used to metaphor, not let—they teach their kids back in the 1800s, I learned this in English class, about telling their kids that they can't go outside or a vampire will get you—just to make their kids stay and do what they want to do. God is basically—
Draper: That's what God's for right?
Adamcik:—the same way—
Draper: Yep.
Adamcik:—tryin' to get people to do good, or else "so-called" [air quoting] you go to hell. Draper: And we're obviously going to hell if it's real, but who gives a shit?
Adamcik: And why would you say it's real?
Draper: [talking over Adamcik] Yeah, but it's not real. It's not real, cuz it's so blatantly obvious that it's not real, but (laughing)
Adamcik: People believe it because their parents teach them, and so it's so hard for them to let go of it because they've been taught their whole life.
Draper: Yeah, I know.
Adamcik: But, fuckin—
Draper: What?
Adamcik:—the point I'm makin' is . . . we are also taught that things like killing people and other things is wrong. The only thing that is wrong about is because it's breaking the law and the law is only wrong (mumbling, searching for words)
Draper: Natural selection, dude. Natural selection, that's all I've gotta say.
Adamcik: There should be no law against killing people. I know it's a wrong thing, but . . .
Draper: Natural selection—
Adamcik:—Hell, hell, you restrict somebody from it, they're just gonna want it more. Draper: Exactly. Goodbye camera.
3. September 21, 2006, at 8:15:39 PM [Adamcik and Draper are in a car, Adamcik is driving and Draper is
...

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