Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Accused killer’s jury won’t hear all details



The night Daphne Stidham learned that her husband had died, she told deputies Bradley Alan Schwartz could be the killer, but deputies suspected her.

Jurors in the upcoming trial of the man Schwartz allegedly hired to kill Dr. Brian Stidham won’t hear those details, however.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Nanette Warner on Wednesday denied a motion naming Daphne Stidham as a murder suspect filed by defense attorneys for Ronald Bruce Bigger, 41, who is accused of stabbing Stidham, 37, to death on Oct. 5, 2004.

Bigger is charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Warner also denied a similar motion in Schwartz’s trial. Schwartz is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Daphne Stidham accused Schwartz soon after deputies awoke her the night her husband died.

“I know someone who really despised (Brian),” Daphne Stidham told deputies, referring to Schwartz. “Since we came here, (Schwartz) lost his entire practice . . . lost his house, and his wife left him.”

“I think Brad Schwartz killed him,” Daphne Stidham said. “Because he was a little psycho . . . (He) had a bad problem with drugs.”

At the time, deputies noted Daphne Stidham had the couple’s estate planning papers by her bed, had recently obtained with her husband a $1 million insurance policy and that her phone seemed “intentionally disconnected.”

And while deputies didn’t tell her how her husband died, Daphne Stidham indicated she knew he had been killed.

“I didn’t kill my husband,” she said, when a deputy asked her.

“I’m suspicious,” the deputy said. “Did you hire anybody to hurt him?”

“I would never do that,” she said. “We had a perfect life.”

Court transcripts include some facts never before revealed, such as that Stidham had previously suffered at least one heart attack, had surgery soon before his death and “took a lot of Valium.”

Warner denied a defense motion to move the trial out of town.

Defense attorney Jill Thorpe also requested an inventory of documents crammed into the glove box of Stidham’s car.

“Our theory is that Stidham took the registration renewal out to show (the killer),” Thorpe said, hinting that Stidham knew his killer. “And I don’t want to say anything more.”

The defense plans to present a witness who allegedly was asked by Lourdes Lopez to warn Stidham that Schwartz threatened him.

Lopez and Schwartz were romantically involved for several years and briefly engaged. She was a key witness at Schwartz’s trial.

Bigger’s trial is expected to begin next month.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service