Crime & Courts

Sisters to stand trial in killing from 2000

Sharon Huddleston appeared to tell just about everyone she knew that she killed Todd Stover.

But police didn't know how the Park City man had died for 10 years.

Huddleston's ex-girlfriend, her daughter and a former roommate all testified Thursday at a preliminary hearing that Huddleston told them she'd injected the 37-year-old Stover with a lethal dose of insulin in May 2000.

When confronted by police, both Huddleston and her sister, Rhonda Pischel, confessed, an agent with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation testified.

After hearing the testimony, Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert ordered Huddleston, 54, and Pischel, 53, to stand trial for Stover's killing.

Both women were arrested in Joplin, Mo., last spring and waived extradition to Kansas.

Sharon Edwards, Huddleston's former girlfriend, testified she called police in nearby Carthage, Mo., where she had been living, in March after years of silence.

Edwards said she felt her health was failing and she needed to tell someone what had happened to Stover, whose body was found in May 2000, dumped by a gravel road in rural Greenwood County.

"The Lord was guilting me," said Edwards, who is diabetic. "I couldn't die with this on my heart."

Edwards testified she thought it was her medication that poisoned Stover.

Stover had moved into a house in Park City with Edwards, Huddleston and Pischel. The house, which Edwards owned, was a place where people had been in and out over the previous year.

Huddleston's daughter, Crystal Brown, said she'd lived there briefly a year earlier. So had an 83-year-old Albert Greenlee.

Pischel often brought home random men she'd met at bars, Edwards said.

When Pischel met Stover, he'd smarted off to her and she'd knocked him off a bar stool, then went home with him, Edwards testified.

Edwards said Huddleston became angry because Stover had promised to help Huddleston land a job at Boeing, but she later learned that he didn't work there.

"He'd been there for several days, eating the food, drinking the beer ... And doing the drugs," Edwards said.

There were plenty of drugs at the house. Brown, Huddleston's daughter, said she and her mother got high together.

"We did meth, marijuana, alcohol ... ," Brown said.

Edwards remained fearful, describing Huddleston as quick-tempered and violent.

Then one evening in May 2000, Edwards said, she received a call at work about 6:30. Huddleston was frantic.

"'Come home,' " Edwards remembered Huddleston saying. "Something is happening to Todd."

When Edwards arrived half an hour later, she said, Stover wasn't breathing.

"I didn't want any part of it," Edwards testified.

Edwards said she left, just as Huddleston and Pischel were putting Stover's body in the trunk of the car.

Over the years, Huddleston allegedly told Brown and Greenlee, among others, that she'd given Stover insulin.

But no one told police until Edwards came forward.

KBI agent Jeff Newsum said the women admitted similar details when he talked to them near Joplin in May.

"She said she jabbed him in the neck with 100ccs of insulin," Newsum said of Huddleston. "She gave him two shots."

Yet the cause of Stover's death remained a mystery because his body was so decomposed when it was found, Sedgwick County coroner Jaime Oeberst testified.

Oeberst said that this year, she listed the cause of Stover's death as "the toxic effects of insulin."

That determination, she said, was based solely on Huddleston's confession.