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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Mom Blames Doctor for Grisly Murder

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - (CN) A mother claims her daughter was stabbed to death during a drug deal she did at the behest of a physician who got her daughter addicted to drugs, gave her "lavish gifts in return for sexual favors," then forced her to sell the drugs on the street.

The late Stacie Smith's mother, Marlene Hardwick, sued Dr. William Casto in Kanawha County Court.

Hardwick accuses Casto, an osteopathic physician, of contributing to her daughter's death.

"Casto had a sexual relationship with the deceased, Stacie Smith," the complaint states.

"Casto purchased her lavish gifts in return for sexual favors.

"Casto then got the deceased, Stacie Smith, addicted to prescription drugs.

"Casto forced Smith to sell these drugs on 'the street,' placing her in danger.

"Casto knew, or should have known, that forcing Smith to sell drugs illegally was dangerous and could lead to injury or death.

"On or about December 28, 2009, Casto forced Smith to complete a drug sale. At the sale she was confronted and murdered.

"Smith's cause of death was murder/homicide," the complaint states.

The Charleston Gazette reported that Smith's cousin, Timothy Sutherland, confessed that he stabbed Smith repeatedly in the throat, in front of her 3-year-old son, while he was high on drugs. Sutherland was convicted this year and sentenced to life in prison.

The Gazette reported on Aug. 24, 2010 that a third man pleaded guilty to being accessory after the fact. Joseph D. Hardwick, 24, admitted he took $50 from Sutherland to get rid of Smith's Chevrolet Tahoe after she was murdered, the Gazette reported.

According to that story, police found a prescription pad in the vehicle, which led them to Casto.

"Dr. William Casto admitted to having a long-term, on-again-off-again extramarital affair with Smith," the Gazette reported.

Casto acknowledged prescribing painkillers to Smith, allegedly for back pain, according to the Gazette report.

The Gazette report added: "Several of Smith's friends said Casto had provided 'substantial financial assistance' to Smith throughout the affair, and that he gave her pills and prescriptions to sell when he ran short of cash because of an issue with the Internal Revenue Service, according to court records.

"Federal investigators interviewed multiple friends and acquaintances of Smith's, many whose names had appeared on prescriptions issued by Casto. Some said that they had never been patients of Casto's, and Smith used their names to fill prescriptions.

"The court filing lists almost 200 prescriptions issued by Casto that were filled by Smith, her family or her associates, dating as far back as January 2006.

"Police do not believe that Casto had anything to do with Smith's murder. He has not been charged with any crimes."

Hardwick seeks punitive damages for loss of income, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, care for Smith's children, funeral expenses, and court costs.

She is represented by Adrian Hoosier II with The Hoosier Law Firm of Charleston.

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