OLYMPIA, Wash. – The man accused of killing a Lacey grandmother in 2016 was sentenced to more than 40 years behind bars.
The trial lasted about five weeks. James Stidd was sentenced for his role in the 2016 murder of Gail Doyle of Lacey.
Stidd remained defiant in court, claiming his innocence throughout the trial.
Gail’s body was never found, and her family says they will never have closure until she is properly laid to rest.
“I could not be in four or five different places on June 5, 2016,” Stidd said in court during his sentence hearing. “I’m sorry for their loss, I did not harm Gail Doyle.”
But for Doyle’s family, the sentence meant anything but closure.
“It puts him at life,” said Doyle’s niece Myah Nedrow. “I didn’t want the death penalty because he needs to suffer from what he did like we suffer every day.”
Doyle’s family searched for the grandmother high and low back in 2016 but never found her.
One of the last people to see her alive, according to investigators, was Stidd and police say they found evidence of her murder at his Olympia home, and a hammer that tested positive for blood and hair.
While police never found Gail’s body, prosecutors charged Stidd with second-degree murder, weapons charges and evidence tampering.
“She was a beautiful person,” said Laci Doyle, Gail’s daughter. “She loved planting flowers and gardening. She loved fishing, hiking, camping, she loved being outside.”
Nearing the age of 70, Stidd will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars – although he plans to appeal his conviction.
Meanwhile, Doyle’s family will continue searching for her remains. Until they are found, family members say, they will never find the closure they need.
“She would not stop looking for us, she would never give up,” said Nedrow, “She would be there every day, so we’re not going to give up on her.”
“We can never have closure, we can never feel normal or start to heal until we have her," Laci said.