VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A man pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including aggravated murder, connected to a gruesome Virginia Beach double homicide in 2004.

Prosecutors claim that Christopher Schmidt hired Richard Stoner to kill his estranged wife, then-29-year-old Lois Schmidt, for $10,000.

Stoner drove to Virginia Beach from Florida with an instruction manual for killing Lois, that he allegedly got from Schmidt.

On June 28, 2004, Stoner waited outside Lois’ home for 30 to 45 minutes. He knocked on the door identifying himself as a friend from high school, but Lois quickly shut the door. He then grabbed his weapons, brake fluid, and two one-gallon containers filled with gasoline, and went to cut the landline outside of Louis’ home. Prosecutors say he believed Lois was the only one home.

He entered the garage through and open door, tricked her into coming outside by tripping a breaker in the garage. When she went to the garage to check the electricity panel. That’s when he shot Lois and the family’s dog. He then shot Lois’ brother, Morgan Blois, who survived and called 9-1-1. He then shot her seven-year-old son, Jonathan Vetrano. Before leaving the scene, Stoner set the residence on fire.

Prosecutors’ stipulation of facts claims that Stoner then went to Schmidt’s house in Florida. “Schmidt was ‘freaking out,’ stating ‘the cops had been there,'” according to the document.

For 14 years, the case sat cold. In June 2018, members of the Virginia Beach Police Department “Cold Case” unit traveled to Logansport, Indiana. Commonwealth Attorney Colin Stolle proffered that he would not seek the death penalty against Stoner if he cooperated in the investigation. Stoner confessed to his role in the killings, and Schmidt was arrested as well.

Stoner made a motion to suppress his confession from being heard in court, which a judge denied. The charges against Schmidt were nolle prossed, or set aside, in September 2021. Those charges could come back, though, if new evidence surfaces.

Today’s pleading offers a fraction of resolution for Lois’ family and friends.

Her father, Joe Bloise, was in the courtroom for the hearing. In an emotional interview after the proceedings, he said his wife, Lois’ mother Nancy Blois, had passed away from pancreatic cancer two years prior. He said she wouldn’t have wanted to see Schmidt’s charges set aside.

“There will never be closure,” Bloise said. “The house is still empty. They’re not there. I don’t know how anybody can feel that there’s closure.”

A sentencing hearing is set for May 1 for Stoner. The aggravated murder charge alone carries a life sentence in prison.