Arrests made in slaying
BY NICOLE MARSHALL & MATT BARNARD World Staff Writers
Saturday, May 22, 2010
5/22/10 at 7:17 AM
Three men were arrested Friday on first-degree murder complaints after masked gunmen fatally shot a cook during a closing-time robbery at a midtown barbecue restaurant.
Dozens of Howard "Bud" Stoddard's family members and friends filled his Oakhurst home throughout the day to mourn his loss. He was remembered as a devoted family man, a hard worker and mentor, who coached several youth sports.
"He was a great guy. He was my rock. He was everybody's rock," said his wife, Carol Stoddard.
Officers arrested Isaiah Peevy, 19; D'Andre Finnie, 18; and Deonte Marshall, 19; on complaints of first-degree murder and robbery in connection with Stoddard's death at the Rib Crib BBQ & Grill, 1601 S. Harvard Ave. They are being held in the Tulsa Jail without bail.
Workers were doing a final cleanup after closing at the restaurant when three masked robbers entered through a back door about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Tulsa Police Sgt. Quentin Houck said.
The robbers reportedly shot Bud Stoddard, 50, as they entered the restaurant. They then made at least two other employees lie on the floor while they robbed the business, police said.
Carol Stoddard said authorities told her that the robbers then shot her husband again while he was on the kitchen floor and stole his wallet and other belongings.
"It was senseless. Why would they do that if he is already down?" she said.
Carol Stoddard theorized that Peevy might have recognized Bud Stoddard because he previously dated Stoddard's niece.
"I think they knew Bud was a good guy, but he was not anyone to be messed with, so they shot him," Stoddard said.
Houck said it's rare for robberies to escalate to such levels of violence, especially at restaurants.
"This is not your typical homicide," he said. "This is some suspects against an innocent victim who's there just doing his job."
Shortly after the shooting, three men who live about a block east of the restaurant were robbed at gunpoint while standing in their front yard. The suspects matched descriptions of the restaurant robbers, Houck said.
Police surrounded the area and later spotted a suspect walking nearby. The man, who was later identified as Peevy, fled but was taken into custody, Houck said. With help from a police dog, officers recovered clothing and a handgun.
Then about 5 a.m., officers took Finnie into custody in the 5700 block of South Lewis Avenue, records show.
About 11 a.m., officers began following a car that was thought to have ties to the killing. They pulled the car over in a parking lot near 71st Street and U.S. 169 and took five people to police headquarters for questioning.
Marshall was booked into the Tulsa Jail just before 2 p.m., Sgt. Dave Walker said.
Marshall received a five-year deferred sentence in January for attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Court records show he also pleaded guilty to robbery with a firearm in 2007, when he was 17.
Stoddard's death devastated members of the tight-knit Oakhurst community. Stoddard was known as a man who worked two jobs — a machine shop during the day and Rib Crib at night — to support the eight children he raised with his wife.
Carol Stoddard said they also mentored hundreds of children in the Oakhurst area.
Mindy Anderson, Stoddard's niece, said he raised all the children with high standards.
"Bud was the pillar of the family. He was just that kind of person. I know there has never been a time when I called him and he did not drop everything and come," Anderson said.
Deaon Stoddard, a nephew who was raised by the couple, said Bud Stoddard will be remembered as "a good role model and dad."
Meanwhile, the Rib Crib where Stoddard worked will be shut down until further notice, and grief counselors were called to help employees cope with the slaying, said Brad Dentis, the company's vice president of operations.
As night fell, about 150 people gathered in the restaurant's parking lot for a candlelight vigil.
Next to flowers and balloons, friends and family cried and hugged each other. They prayed for the victim and his wife and children.
Stoddard spent eight years working part time for the restaurant chain and made an impact on most everyone he met, Dentis said. His death has weighed heavily on coworkers.
"I really can't explain how tough it is," he said. "It's a nightmare."
Stoddard and the other workers were in the 1
1/2-hour process of closing the restaurant for the night when the gunmen arrived. It's company policy to lock the doors after the last customer leaves, Dentis said, but it wasn't immediately clear whether the back door was secured Thursday night.
Officials said there are no security cameras at the location on Harvard, which backs up against a neighborhood of older bungalow-style houses.
Nearby resident Brenda Weaver said she's seen occasional crime take place during the 55 years she's lived in the area but never anything as unexpected as Thursday's slaying.
She was asleep when the robbery unfolded and was disturbed to read about it the next morning in the newspaper, she said.
"They took somebody's life. It's totally shocking — I can't believe that happened," Weaver said. "That never even crossed my mind that something like that would happen to that restaurant."
World Staff Writer Shannon Muchmore contributed to this story.
Matt Barnard 581-8408
Nicole Marshall 581-8459
Friends and family of shooting victim Howard "Bud" Stoddard, including his stepson Jimmy Diffee (left) and his wife, Carol Stoddard (second from left), hold up their candles during a candlelight vigil Friday for the slain cook outside the Rib Crib restaurant on South Harvard Avenue. Stoddard was fatally shot during a closing-time robbery of the restaurant Thursday night. STEPHEN HOLMAN / Tulsa World
Bud Stoddard: The 50-year-old worked two jobs to support the eight children he raised with his wife, Carol. "Bud was the pillar of the family. He was just that kind of person," said his niece Mindy Anderson.
From left, Isaiah Peevy, D'Andre Montreal Finnie and Deonte Marshall: The three men were arrested Friday on first-degree murder complaints in the shooting death of Howard "Bud" Stoddard. Marshall received a five-year deferred sentence in January for attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Friends and family of shooting victim Howard "Bud" Stoddard gather for a candlelight vigil for the slain cook outside the Rib Crib restaurant on South Harvard Avenue on Friday. Stoddard was killed during a closing-time robbery of the restaurant. STEPHEN HOLMAN / Tulsa World
Tasha Stoddard of Wagoner hugs her sister Shantrease Stoddard of Dallas (right) during a candlelight vigil Friday for their father, Howard "Bud" Stoddard, outside the Rib Crib restaurant on South Harvard Avenue. STEPHEN HOLMAN / Tulsa World