Third Suspect Arrested In Death Of Tulsa Family Man, Rib Crib Employee

Friday, May 21st 2010, 7:32 am
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Three young men are in the Tulsa County jail in connection with the murder of a Rib Crib employee and robbery of the store near 16th and Harvard.

Detectives took Deonte Marshall, the third suspect, into custody early Friday evening. He was booked into the Tulsa County jail on a first-degree murder complaint.

Howard 'Bud' Stoddard had been a cook at that Rib Crib for the past eight years. He also worked full time for L & S Specialties.

Stoddard was only 50-years-old, but was an extremely hard worker because he was not only raising his own kids, but making a difference in the lives of many others as well. He was a Little League and basketball coach, loved by many.      

Stoddard was at work Thursday night when he took out the trash at about 11:30 p.m. Three men followed him back in the store, and he was immediately shot twice.

Police say the men, in masks, robbed the store and took the cell phones of the other two employees. Then - on their way out the door - police say they shot Bud Stoddard three more times, stole his wallet and took the Blue Tooth device out of his ear.

His huge family is grieving, and his wife of 28 years is in shock.

"I just don't know what I'm going to do. I guess I'll just figure it out one day at a time," said Carol Stoddard, the victim's wife.

Suspect Takes Refuge With 80-Year-Old Woman

After the robbery, police say 19-year-old Isaiah Peevey robbed three University of Tulsa college students at gunpoint, then tossed the gun and knocked on a woman's door, claiming he was being chased.

Eighty-year-old Virginia admitted she may be too trusting.

Virginia didn't know any of that had happened when she heard the knock on her door at about midnight.

"He said he was scared, real frightened, could he come in for a moment, and I let him come in," she said. "He wanted a drink of water, which I gave him."

She says Peevy was likeable and told her he was from Louisiana, but in Tulsa for school, playing football. He even asked for a different shirt, and she gave him one.

"He was very nice; spoke very well, was intelligent. It seemed to me feasible he was in school," she said.

He was in her house for 30 minutes, and as soon as he left, police spotted him.

Virginia was shocked to learn he was a suspect in the robbery of a restaurant where she has eaten many times; even more shocked to learn about the murder.

"I still don't feel like he would've harmed me, I just don't. I don't feel that way. Maybe I should because it was a terrible thing they did. Once I heard that, I was like, 'oh my goodness, terrible,'" Virginia said.

Records show Peevy confessed to the robbery, saying he did it because he was hungry and that his gun misfired twice and that's how he killed Stoddard.

According to reports, Finnie also confessed to being part of the robbery.

Police say Peevy's cell phone led them to the second suspect, 18-year-old D'Andre Finnie.

Both Peevy and Finnie were booked into the Tulsa County jail on first-degree murder complaints.

A Family Man, A Gentle Giant

Bud's family says he was a gentle giant - a big man with an even bigger heart. He was known for his hard handshake and his love of family. Every night after work he went to his mother's house to have coffee with her.

If there was a Little League team or a basketball event, Bud Stoddard was quick to coach and did so for their eight children. His wife of 28 years said he even volunteered when he knew nothing about the sport.

She remembered a conversation they had before he went to a youth sports meeting.

"'You're gonna come back home and be a coach.' He came back home and he said, 'you were right, now, what's tee ball?'" Carol Stoddard said.

He took kids under his wing and treated them with tough love. They say he'd give you a headlock or help, whatever you needed and sometimes both.

The say the man known as Coach Bud and Uncle Bud, left behind shoes too big to fill.

I met and interviewed Bud in 1998 when his son Kyle was killed. Now, the man who held his family together during that tragedy, has been killed in one of his own.

Rib Crib says Bud was part of their family, so that store will be closed until further notice.

Statement from Brad Dentis, Vice President of Operations, Rib Crib:

"The entire Rib Crib family is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our team member Howard "Bud" Stoddard in last night's robbery at our 16th and Harvard location here in Tulsa. He was part of the Rib Crib family and had been with us for eight years.  

Our thoughts and prayers are with Bud's family, and we've already reached out to them personally this morning to offer our support.

We have established the Howard "Bud" Stoddard Family Memorial Fund at F&M Bank for the family.

We're offering grief counseling to all of the employees from that location and will support them in every way possible.

We're a family here at Rib Crib, and we believe in taking care of our people.

That location will be closed until further notice as we focus on the needs of our team members.

Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our team members and customers, but unfortunately no amount of prevention can stop these types of random violent events. 

We are cooperating fully with the Tulsa Police Department in their investigation."

Again, a Howard "Bud" Stoddard Family Memorial Fund has been set up at F&M Bank in Tulsa.