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The Spine-Chilling Case Of Stacey Castor, Who Poisoned Her Husbands, Tried To Kill Her Daughter
Stacey Castor may have also killed her own father.
In the annals of true crime it takes a lot to stick out, but as the judge who sentenced her to over 50 years in prison said, “Mrs. Castor, you are in a class all by yourself." By then she had left behind two dead husbands and two daughters who hated her guts - one of whom she poisoned and tried to frame for her crimes. Questions still surround the death of her father, who was cremated before an autopsy could be performed and before the police realized they were dealing with a homicidal sociopath.
Born in 1967, Stacey Castor was raised in Upstate New York and married fresh out of high school. Her first husband, Mike Wallace, was six years her senior and had a propensity for drinking and driving, so much so that he did a stint in prison for repeated DUI offenses. Their first daughter, Ashley, was born in 1987, and their second daughter, Bree, was born in 1991.
Mike settled down after his release from jail and got a job with an air conditioner manufacturer while Stacey worked in the billing department of an EMT service. They didn’t make a lot of money, but they had each other and their girls remember their childhood as a happy one. That all ended on January 11, 2000, when 12-year-old Ashley Wallace came home from school to find her father unconscious. They called 911 but by the time they got him to the hospital, it was too late.
It was determined he died from a heart attack and was buried a week later.
The Wallace women tried to put on a brave face, but Mike’s death brought about challenges and changes. As a single mom, Stacey worked long hours to support her family. “My mom was never really around,” Ashley Wallace told Oxygen’s Snapped.
Eventually, Stacey started dating again and in late 2001 met a recent divorcee named David Castor. Unlike her hard partying late husband, David was, "responsible,” according to his ex-wife, Janice Poissant. “He wasn’t a drinker; he didn’t go out at night,” she told Snapped. He ran a successful family business installing heat and air systems, which he had started with his father. His son David Castor, Jr. told Snapped, “It wasn’t a gold mine, but it definitely provided for the family very well.” David brought safety and stability to the Wallace women’s life and in 2003 he and Stacey were married.
Stacey began managing the books and working as a secretary at David’s business after their wedding. With more free time on his hands David indulged himself in the toys of a grown man: motorcycles, snowmobiles and jet skis. It caused trouble at home. “They’d fight because my mom did pay a majority of the bills, and David just paid for his toys,” says Ashley. It also didn’t help that he didn’t get along with his two new stepdaughters. “David made it very clear that he didn’t really like me and my sister,” Bree Wallace told Snapped. However, according to Ashley by the time she graduated high school in June 2005 things between the Wallace girls and their stepdad begun to turn around.
On the afternoon of August 22, 2005, the local sheriff’s office received a call from Stacey Castor. “My husband has locked himself in our bedroom for the last day. He didn’t show up to work this morning,” she said to the operator. When deputies arrived they kicked down the door and found David Castor naked, face down in a puddle of his own vomit on the bed. On the nightstand was a bottle of liquor, a bottle of antifreeze and two glasses. He was pronounced dead at the scene. “Naturally, you’d think of it as a possible suicide,” investigator Dominic Spinelli told Snapped.
Police say Stacey explained that the couple had gotten into a huge fight that weekend over how to celebrate their upcoming two-year anniversary. According to Stacey, David began drinking heavily, before locking himself in the bedroom. The news of his death shocked friends and family. “I never thought for a second that he would actually ever do that,” says Ashley Wallace.
Though the evidence at the scene indicated a suicide, something didn’t feel right to investigators, including the method itself. “Antifreeze could take as much as 72 hours to kill you. It’s a horrific way to die,” Prosecutor William Fitzpatrick told Snapped. Deputies also found a turkey baster in the kitchen trash with traces of antifreeze in it. In the meantime, David’s body went to the county coroner for an autopsy, who determined the cause of death to be poisoning from ethylene glycol, the primary ingredient in antifreeze.
Days after discovering her second husband’s dead body, Stacey had him buried next to her first. As Mike Wallace’s brother-in-law Jonathon Corbett told Snapped, “You’ve got Mike on the far right, David on the far left, and I said, “What’s she doing, starting a collection up there?” David’s Will named Stacey as executor and sole heir, which came as a shock to his son. “He didn’t even mention my name,” says David Castor, Jr. “That hurt.” Adding insult to injury, Stacey quickly sold off the Castor family business for almost $200,000.
What Stacey didn’t know was that while David Castor’s death was ruled a suicide, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department was still investigating the case. Those closest to him told investigators David wasn’t the type to commit suicide. “He wouldn’t commit suicide. I knew him better then I knew myself. He would not do that,” says his ex-wife Janice Poissant.
Along with the turkey baster, the other pieces of evidence at the time were the two glasses on David Castor’s nightstand. Police checked them for fingerprints. “The one with the antifreeze in it had three fingerprints on it, and they were all Stacey Castor’s,” Investigator Michael Norton told Snapped. Meanwhile the turkey baster showed traces of David’s DNA as well as ethylene glycol. Police believed Stacey must have drugged her husband and used the turkey baster to squirt antifreeze down his throat while he was passed out.
They then began looking into the death of Stacey’s first husband, Mike Wallace, who had been buried without an autopsy. Investigator’s decided to have his body exhumed, but because he died in a different county, it took almost a year to get permission. When they finally dug him up, they quickly determined his cause of death and it wasn’t a heart attack, it was ethylene glycol poisoning, just like David Castor.
In September 2007, investigators from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department brought Stacey Castor in for questioning. Though they caught her off guard, she quickly sensed what she was being accused of. “In the middle of this interview she asked for a lawyer,” says Investigator Michael Norton, “but not before she makes a couple of mistakes.” While talking with detectives she mentioned watching a television show where a woman killed two of her husbands with antifreeze.
Police released Stacey without charging her though they were still listening in.
“Her cell phone and her residential phone, we were monitoring those 24/7,” says Michael Norton. While they didn’t get anything that implicated her on their wiretaps, they intercepted a call to 911 a week later that blew the case wide open.
“My daughter has taken some pills. It sounds like there’s something in her throat. Ashley! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!,” Stacey can be heard saying on the 911 call. As word of it reached the detectives working the murder case, they feared the worst. Investigator Valerie Brogan told Snapped her first reaction was, “That monster, she tried to kill her daughter.”
Ashley was unresponsive when EMTs got there and weren’t sure if she was going to survive the trip to the hospital. When detectives arrived at Stacey Castor’s house they found an empty bottle of Absolute Vodka, several empty pill bottles, and a suicide note that had been written on a computer and printed out. “According to the note, Ashley confesses to murdering her dad and then murdering David as well, and basically states that this is why she is committing suicide,” Investigator Dominic Spinelli told Snapped.
When she finally regained consciousness the following afternoon, Ashley Wallace was bewildered and besieged with questions she couldn’t answer. As Ashley told Snapped, “All I could see was this man in a red shirt kind of yelling. And he goes, ‘What did you drink? What did you take? What did you write in that note?’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ She was shocked when her sister Bree told her what had happened. “I did not kill my father. I did not kill my stepdad. And I did not try to kill myself,” Ashley says emphatically.
From her hospital bed, Ashley told investigators the last thing she remembered was having drinks with her mother on a Thursday afternoon. Stacey said, ‘We’ve had a hard week. Let’s just go and get drunk.” Stacey mixed the drinks, vodka and Sprite. “I told her that it tasted bad, and she’s like, ‘Well, just drink another sip,’” Ashley told Snapped. “I took another sip and I was like, ‘This is still gross.’”
Investigator Michael Norton says that after talking to the police, “Ashley now is convinced that her mother is the one that killed Dad, killed David, and tried to kill her.” Police decided to arrest Stacey Castor in the hospital parking lot. As Prosecutor William Fitzpatrick told Snapped, “This woman has got to be stopped and got to be stopped sooner than later.”
Stacey Castor went on trial on January 13, 2009 for the murder of her second husband David and the attempted murder of her daughter Ashley, as well as falsifying her husband’s will. On February 5, 2009, she was found guilty on all three counts. At her sentencing a month later, Ashley addressed her mother, saying, ”I never knew what hate was until now. As horrible as it makes me feel, this is goodbye, mom. As hard as you tried, I survived.” Before sentencing her to 54 years in prison, Onondaga County Judge Joseph Fahey said: “In my 34 years in the criminal justice system as a lawyer and a judge, I have seen serial killers, contract killers, killers of every variety and stripe. But, I have to say Mrs. Castor, you are in a class all by yourself," according to New York’s Daily News.
In February, 2010, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick confirmed his office was investigating the circumstances surrounding the 2002 death of Stacey Castor’s father, Jerry Daniels, according to CNYcentral.
Family members told investigators Stacey had visited her father in the hospital where he was recuperating from respiratory problems. She brought her father an open soda for him to drink, and though he had seemed to be getting better, he died suddenly the following day.
Charges were never brought against Stacey Castor for the murder of her father or her first husband Mike Wallace, but in June 2016, it no longer mattered. As CBS reported at the time, she died at the age of 48 while serving her time at New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. That December, the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office confirmed she had died of a heart attack, according to CNYcentral.