Booking photo of Benjamin Stoddard (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).
LOGAN — A 22-year-old Logan man has been sentenced to prison for strangling his estranged wife last spring. Benjamin D. Stoddard stood, wearing shackles and handcuffs, as he told the court he was sorry for what he did.
Stoddard was sentenced in 1st District Court Thursday morning. He previously pleaded guilty to robbery and aggravated assault, both second-degree felonies; along with aggravated kidnapping and domestic violence in the presence of a child, both third-degree felonies.
In April, the victim called police to report that Stoddard, who previously lived at her residence, broke in and took some electronic equipment and other valuables. When she confronted the defendant, he grabbed her by the throat, choking her until she passed out.
The woman regained consciousness just as a family member came to the apartment. The relative told officers that the victim was pale and incoherent.
Officers found Stoddard nearby with the stolen items. He was questioned and later booked into the Cache County Jail, where he has been held without bail.
During Thursday’s sentencing, public defender Diane Pitcher said Stoddard didn’t intend to kill the victim. She explained that the couple were in a “toxic relationship,” causing him to snap under the “highly stressful situation” of their separation. Part of it was brought on by her having custody of the couple’s young son.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray called Stoddard a significant risk to the victim and community, and asked the court to send him to prison. He showed the court a postcard, the defendant mailed to the victim three days ago, violating the court’s order that he have no contact with the woman.
The victim also asked the court to send Stoddard to prison. She said her life had been destroyed by what happened. She explained that she didn’t want to be scarred to go out in public, worrying about running into the defendant.
Judge Brian Cannell expressed disgust with Stoddard, especially after being shown the postcard sent to the victim. He called the defendant’s actions heinous, selfish and a cycle of domestic violence. He said luckily the victim didn’t die but it was impossible to predict how close she was to being killed.
Stoddard was given the maximum sentence of 1-15 years in prison for each of the second-degree felonies, and 0-5 years for both of the third-degree felonies. The sentences will run concurrently.
Judge Cannell told Stoddard, “I do believe there is hope and redemption, but it starts with you caring about others more than yourself.”