Murder of Carole Garton by Todd Garten investigated on Where Murder Lies

Mugshot of Todd Garton
Todd Garton was sentenced to death for arranging the murder of his wife, Carole Garton. Pic credit: CA Dept. of Corrections

Where Murder Lies is investigating the 1998 murder of Carole Garton, who was shot dead while 8-months pregnant in a killing that was orchestrated by her husband, Todd Jesse Garton, in Cottonwood, California.

This bizarre case involved Todd Garton persuading two other Cottonwood men, Norman Daniels and Dale Garton, that he was employed by an international company of hitmen specializing in global assassinations. He also convinced the two idiots he was a former Irish Republican Army member, CIA agent, and a Marine sniper.

In May 1998, Daniels, at the behest of Todd, shot dead the pregnant 28-year-old Carole Garton in the bedroom of her small house in Cottonwood. Carole was hit five times, and one of the bullets passed straight through her 8-month old unborn fetus. Todd had promised $25,000 to Daniels for the hit.

Carole and Todd Garton had been married seven years when Todd decided to organize her killing. He had been having an affair with Lynn Noyes, who was his old teenage sweetheart. Lynn was herself married to Dean Noyes.

Todd Garton had attempted previous murder on Dean Noyes

While investigating Carole’s murder, the police uncovered a plot hatched by Todd and Lynn to murder Dean earlier that year. In February, Todd had “recruited” Daniels and Gordon into his so-called assassins group and told them they had orders to kill Dean Noyes of Portland, Oregon.

The murderous trio of Garton, Daniels, and Gordon traveled to Portland with a large cache of weapons. Fortunately for Dean Noyes, they bungled their attack when they first failed to spot him leaving his car and were then unable to break into his house. They then gave up and traveled back to California. The cops learned that Garton still planned to murder Dean but never got around to it.

After Carole’s murder, the cops also learned that Todd had been vocal with others about not wanting a baby and that he had also taken out hefty life insurance on his wife worth $125,000. The investigators suspected Todd had her killed so he could claim the money.

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The cops arrested Daniels shortly after the murder, and they had him telephone Garton. During that conversation, Garton was overheard assuring the gunman that he would receive assistance with his defense and the money that he was owed for killing Carole.

Todd Garton was charged with conspiracy to murder and the first-degree murder of his wife. He was also charged with conspiracy to murder Dean Noyes. He was sentenced to death and remains on death row in San Quentin. An appeal was denied in 2018 by the California Supreme Court, which upheld his death sentence.

Norman Daniels was convicted of murder and was sentenced to 50 years to life.

More from Where Murder Lies

Follow the links to read about more murders examined on Where Murder Lies.

Lori Ruff’s husband and family thought she was a bit strange, but after she shot herself, they learned she’d been living a mysterious double life for years and had lied about her true identity.

Jennifer Webb from Buena Vista, Michigan, was 8-months pregnant following an affair with a serving police officer, Kenneth Bluew. Bluew killed Webb and his unborn child and tried to make it look like a suicide.

Where Murder Lies airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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