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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  May 27, 2013 3:00am-4:01am PDT

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he ended up as a fake rockefeller. >> the world first came to know him as a phony rockefeller, who made headlines for duping a string of bright if not gullible women. >> they couldn't tell me who i was married to. >> he lived the good life. but was he more than just a clever con man? was there something darker? something evil? >> adds up circumstantially to a guy who's probably committed a pretty brutal homicide. >> nose inside the investigation reveal how they assembled a case of murder from shards of evidence and thousands of miles. >> there really isn't a smoking gun. it's a lot of pieces to the puszle. >> will the pieces come together to form the portrait of a killer? if you were looking for a setting for a mystery, san marino, in the early 1980s wasn't the place.
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and the house on lorraine road, since rebuilt was a quiet place. >> he was probably reasonably shy and reserved. >> patrick was john's friend. he remembers him as a bit of a nerd. >> he shared a love of star trek. we would compete with each other, trying to outtrivia the other individual, compare theories about warp speed travel. >> you guys are middle school kids. and you're talking about warp speed -- >> well, without advanced mathematics, but yes. >> eventually, john's enthusiasm for science fiction more offed into another galaxy. computers. >> he was living with his mom well into his 20s.
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and then he discovered love. >> did you sense a connection between the two of them? >> i certainly had the sense that they were soulmates. >> her name was linda. like john, she loved science fiction and fantasy. linda and john seemed to complement each other. he was shy, she outgoing. he was short, she at 6 towered over him. they laughingly chose halloween as their wedding day. they started their life together living in the house on lorraine road. she complained about john's mom who liked her cocktails early and often on many days. >> his mom is a drunk and a smoker and i don't like being around the smoke. i try to avoid her like crazy. >> but linda and john couldn't avoid dee dee, because the
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guesthouse had a tenant. >> she goes we can't live there because that's where the renter is. oh, renter paying money, you guys can't, renter gets the better place. >> the newlyweds are stuck in the main house. john and linda focused on their careers. they finally made their first major purchase, an enough truck. >> they were happy when they showed up at my house. they said look, we're in a car. >> with a new ride and a bit of money, they planned a first road trip with sue to a big sci-fi convention in phoenix. but in early 1985, linda called sue with a puzzling announcement. >> first thing was we're going to new york. what are you going to new york for? john looks like he has an interview with a government job. >> we're going to be back in a couple weeks in time for us to get our stuff together and get this trip on the way. >> except they didn't make it
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back in time. when the weeks rolled on with no word from her friend, sue naturally began to worry. she called john's mother dee dee. >> she's like i don't know, they're in paris. >> and i'm thinking paris, california. i don't know, paris france. three or four sheets to the wind. and i'm just kind of like, right. >> and something else made no sense at all. it seems linda had abandoned her cats at a pet hotel. >> she would not have left her cats of other own free will. >> she filed a missing person's report. but when police followed up by visiting his mother, she told them the same story. >> she said they were on a job interview that was secret. >> kind of weird on its own that dee dee said my son and his wife
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are on this secret job interview? >> right. >> she truly believed that i was off on a secret mission job. and that's what she had been told. >> it was so odd, was the young couple missing or not? >> an officer knocked on the door to the guesthouse where dee dee's tenant lived. >> so he went back there to get some more information as to what he might have known about linda and john. >> in fact he came to the door naked. >> buck-naked. >> buck-naked. >> the person in his birthday suit said his name was christopher. there weighs nowhere to go with a missing person's case. but there was a question in the air that wasn't going away. where exactly were john and linda. >> and who or what was really behind the missing couple's secret mission? that's what everyone want the to know. when we come back, that mysterious tenant living like a peasants with a royal pedestrian
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fwree. >> he said he was here by hem self and was descendant of some royalty in england. >> when behind closed doors continues. for aveface moisturizer.adiant [ female announcer ] only aveeno® has an active naturals total soy formula that instantly brightens skin. and helps reduce the look of brown spots in just 4 weeks. for healthy radiant skin. try it for a month. then go ahead and try to spot a spot. aveeno® positively radiant. naturally beautiful results. yeah... try new alka seltzer fruit chews. they work fast on heartburn and taste awesome. these are good. told ya! i'm feeling better already. [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer fruits chews. enjoy the relief! [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer fruits chews. spokesman i have to look my so bbest on camera.sing whether i'm telling people about how they could save money on car insurance with geico...
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no one seemed more worried about the whereabouts of the missing john and linda than their good friend, sue kaufman. >> something's not right. something's afoot here. >> john's mom had told sue a crazy story about the couple, that it was some top secret job that had taken them away from france, hard to believe until postcards started arriving from paris. sue got one of them. >> i just saw that it said john and lien da at the bottom. i thought oh, finely answers! >> maybe they were off on some secret mission.
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>> i just thought she's off somewhere weird for whatever reason. i kind of played with the idea of witness protection. >> the postcard suggested that john and linda were gone voluntarily. no foul play. but then john's mother suddenly changed her tune. >> in july of 1985, dee dee calls the police. and now she's distraught. >> distraught because her guesthouse tenant had moved out without a word. and as she now explained, he was the one telling her secrets behind closed doors. it turned out it was chris, the very same guy who greeted police in the nude who had nothing to say, who had been feeding her information about the couples' overseas mission. >> did she suspect that the tenant in the guesthouse might have been involved in whatever happened to her son? >> she didn't know. she was concerned that the only person that was contacting them through was gone. >> the guesthouse tenant, the source about a secret government
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mission? chris's friends around san marino might have thought it was another of his fantastic stories. >> these women knew chris as an amuzing character. >> he was funny and charming. >> he was very interesting to talk to on many subjects. he was very bright. he knew about a lot of things. he was witty. it was a lot of fun to hang out with him. >> a film student at usc, often walking around campus with a script or two under his arm. >> we'd go to old films together. >> one of the films that you saw was double indemnity, a film about a guy plotting a murder. >> this is the best movie, dana. we have to go see double indemnity. >> he was a bear net. >> what did you think a baron et
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was? >> he said he was here by himself, didn't really have a family. was from england and was descendant of some royalty in england. >> cory and her family were impressed by the arrest krat. >> he bought a castle in england. and he wanted to ship it over here brick by brick so we could have, you know, an authentic english, you know, chapel. >> the charming young brit had also become the town's resident recontour, times hosting parties at lorraine road. he seemed to have the run of the entire property. >> i said to him, well, why do you keep going into your landlord's house, chris? because it seems so off? and he said, i remember this so well. he said oh, they're way way. they will not mind. >> and of course they, john and linda, were away.
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with only drunken dee dee isolated in the main house. and after the tenant left, he was an old woman wracked by loneliness, fading fast. >> you want to talk about taking what wind was in her sails leaving hear in the doldrums, it certainly did. >> she died a few years later by many accounts a broken woman. >> the lorraine road property found buyers. and in may, 1994, almost a decade after john and linda disappeared, the new owners decided to install a pool. they cleared the old back yard and started digging until the digging stopped and police were summoned to the scene. >> and they said they had discovered a body. well, initially we thought, no. this doesn't happen in san marino. >> tricia was a detective with the human skeleton was found. >> we said hey, there was a missing person at that address. so there was a lot of information coming together on
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that first day. >> it was a man's skeleton, and that old missing person's report suggested who that man was. >> i didn't need the dna. i didn't need the dental records. i knew that was john. >> john's friend sue, heard the information about how theed abouty was dressed. and the truth hit home. >> and i said that's what john wore all the time. that was the way he liked to dress. >> the remains told more of the story. blows to the head. six stab wounds in the back. not just murder, but a brutal murder. a missing person's case that had gone permanently cold was transformed in that moment to a very active super heated homicide investigation. there were two other people who'd lived at lorraine road then who were still missing, john's wife and the tenant in the guesthouse. where were they? and was it possible one of them was a killer? >> coming up, detectives get to
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work on that guesthouse to see if it had any clue does give up. it did. >> they found four pretty large blood spots. >> when dateline continues.
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bags of bones, a buried human skeleton. not what you'd expect to find in a suburban back yard, especially a place like san marino. >> this man is the editor of the news. >> there's a 24 hour news cycle. and a body buried in the back yard is newsworthy. >> there's no question it was murder. and if john had been killed and buried in his back yard, were lien da's remains in a place of
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their own? they looked and couldn't find anything. >> they had one body and nothing else. >> two key questions remained unanswered. where was linda. and where was the other person who lived on the lorraine road property then, a guesthouse tenant, christopher chit chester. >> they needed to find linda and they needed to find chris. there was only a couple of options for how john's body got back there and got buried. and those two options were unaccounted for. >> either one of them had done it or would know who did it. >> it was imperative that they find them. >> in any homicide investigation, the spouse is often the natural suspect, often the first suspect. as police started interviewing anyone around town who knew any of the occupants of the lorraine
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road property tips suggested that chris was the one police should be looking at. even those once friendly with him now recalled him in unsavory terms, as a manipulator, always up for the next free lunch. >> he would show up at my apartment, hmm, that smells good. after a while i just kind of kicked him out. i was like, bye. >> more young stories of him hitting on younger girls. corps seesaws he asked her out when she was only 12. >> my mom said a very definitive no. and after that it got a little weird. and he started asking other inappropriate girls out. >> not age appropriate. >> not age appropriate. >> some dusty old stories, remains buried nearly a decade. not a great start for a murder investigation. but that guesthouse was still
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standing. and detectives got to work seeing if it had any clues to give up about the man who once lived there. >> we did a limb noll in the guesthouse. and they found pretty large blood spots. >> they couldn't tell if it was human or animal blood, but the detectives thought the blood could be evidence of violence from years earlier. and they also learned something else that they guessed was important. >> a detective had made a connection that the tenant in the guesthouse had the victim's truck. >> the truck had been john and linda's prized possession. and before they went missing in 1985, they'd planned that first big road trip in it. but years later, after they'd vanished it was traced to connecticut and the guesthouse tenant. >> why would he take the missing person's couple truck and the truck would end up in connecticut. >> and what's more, records showed he had changed his name from christopher chit chester to christopher crowe working on
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wall street. and it showed that he had a long pick a name habit. he was not a brit, but a german national. >> that's when he disappears. >> he's just in the wind again. >> right. >> and with that, the murder investigation stalled. years went by. and in san marino, they might have forgotten all about poor john and his missing wife, and the tenant had it not been for this. >> authorities search over land and sea for a man and his seven year old daughter. >> a family drama playing out on a leafy boston street in the summer of 2008. a custody battle that became a national story. >> a man who calls himself a rockefeller. >> but it was the face that got everyone's attention in
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california. >> the detective gasped. >> when i saw it in the newspaper, i knew it was him. >> could it be, could the fugitive with the famous name be the same man wanted on the west coast for a darker, mere forgotten crime? >> coming up, a rockefeller accused of murder. >> oh, my god! this is really an answer. it may not be definitive, this guy knows something. >> when behind closed doors continues. what do you think about caffeine? we consume over two billion cups of coffee every week without a second thought. 5-hour energy has less caffeine than some starbucks coffees, plus it has vitamins and nutrients. it's simple... caffeine with vitamins and nutrients. it's the combination that makes it so great. before you make a decision, get the facts. try a sip and find out why
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the news out of boston was crazy. a head scratcher that screamed front page. >> a bitter divorce, a bizarre kidnapping, a famous last name -- >> it seemed far from that decades old murder. but to some, the unfolding story in boston was a link at last to that brutal, nearly forgotten
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murder. >> the women from the party recognized him. and so did all his neighbors in san marino. >> frank was all over the story. what the fbi wanted posters set off was that clark was chris. >> he appeared to be the latest and boldest reinvention yet of that guesthouse tenant who slipped under the radar so many years ago. it was an audacious lie unraveling on the 6:00 news. >> he was married to a big money business consultant, and in a bitter custody battle after his quiet life of privilege had dissolved, he'd kidnapped their daughter. for the love of his daughter, the narrative went on, he'd risk everything. >> the sim pa threat eck mother pleaded on television for her
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daughter's return. >> i ask you now, please, please, bring snooks back. >> she wasn't much help, because like the public, she said she had no idea who her husband really was. the con man had been passing himself off as a rockefeller for well over a decade. >> and then they said clark rockefeller and put his picture up there and i almost fell off the elip particular machine. >> she remembered meeting him at an important art gallery. >> he was mild-mannered and polite and a gentleman. >> he liked to send weird and provocative text mess and, one sent he claimed while he was giving a private tour of the metropolitan museum of art. and then this one, in a submarine. >> the texts were so wild and farfetched, you would just giggle and go where does he come up with this stuff. >> there was something odd about
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him, but his name? >> one of my friends could have sworn he was definitely a rockefeller because of his bone structure. >> it was a convincing cover that had lasted years. but by the time he was caught, six days into his flight with snooks, the fraud was, posed. and his real name in the top of the news. in california, developmeinvesti immediately rye opened the murder case. >> a lot of people who didn't come forward in '94 came forward in 2008. so there were some new pieces of information that we got as a result of the publicity. >> for sue kaufman, best friend of the still missing linda, it was reason to hope after all these years. >> oh, my god, this is really an answer. it may not be definitive, but
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this guy might know something. >> he had plenty to say to nbc in his only televised interview. >> are you a mystery man? >> i'd like to be known as a good man, if anything. i'd like to be known as a quiet man, living a quiet life. >> he admitted using a string of fake names. >> you assumed different identities? >> yes, but for specific purposes, much like a writer would take a pen name. >> but what about the murder of john? did he have anything to say about that? >> did you kill john and linda? >> my entire life i have always been a pacifist. i'm a quaker. and i believe in nonviolence. and i can fairly certainly say that i've never hurt anyone. >> whethn i saw that, i thought that was the closest thing to a confession i've ever seen. what do you say, did you kill john and linda? >> i think you say no.
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>> no, but you don't say i'm a quaker. >> even as clark rockefeller's kidnapping case played out in boston, the california investigators were quietly at work building a case for murder. >> we basically had to do cpr in this case and get it up and running. >> they went back to find those folks who'd known the suspect who'd been calling himself the 13th baron et. one man remembered him asking to borrow a chain saw. and now dana told detectives something that seemed like evidence. she noticed that a piece of the lawn looked like it had been freshly dug up. >> i said to him, what's with your yard, what happened to your yard? and he said i'm having plumbing probleming. >> detectives were astounded at the implications. >> at that time he's taking
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ownership of the grave. because that's exactly where john's body was found. >> and the detectives poring over the evidence found this, reason to believe their prime suspect had totally rebooted his identity after san marino. >> in boston we found some documents in some computer hard drives. his life begins roughly in 1988. >> what did that tell you? >> well, i would say it's some evidence of a consciousness of guilt, of trying to erase part of one's life. >> but detectives couldn't erase the nagging questions about linda, the victim's wife. was she still alive? and remember those postcards from paris? she apparently september them all after the couple disappeared. >> her remains or body has not been found. >> yes. that obviously is something we had to look at. however, the more we dug into linda, we just couldn't find anything sinister or any
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plausible reason why she would do this or that she had the means to disappear and start a new life. >> was the case trial ready? the answer was at hand. with christian extradited from boston to california now a defendant in a case of murder. >> coming up, the woman he woulded and fooled as clark rockefeller takes the stand. how he tricked even a harvard mba. >> i liked him. i thought he was very intelligent. funny. quirky. very charming. >> when dateline continues.
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the state of california knew it was a high stakes gamble to try to prove at trial that the con man calling himself clark rockefeller was also a murderer. after all, the case rested heavily on pieces of circumstantial evidence 28 years old. >> we're concerned. it was going to take a smart jury to put those together.
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and we didn't have a smoking gun. >> he pleaded not guilty and hired a pair of prominent boston attorneys to defend him. >> there was no motive. there was no reason he would have done this. >> we are on the record in the people versus gear hearts rider. >> they confidently offered a series of friends and neighbors with odd tales. jurors hear about the bloodstains found inside the guesthouse. and then testimony from a neighbor suggesting the tenant had been trying to destroy possible evidence. >> i called him and said, chris, what are you burning in the fireplace? >> what was his response? >> i'm burning carpet. >> when church friends said the defendant had tried to sell her a rug with a strange spot. >> well, i felt it looked a little like blood. >> whose chain saw was it? >> mine. >> they harold the story about the borrowed chain saw.
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what could that mine. >> how long was it that he had this chain saw? >> several months. >> and dana fer rar took the stand to describe that back yard party the defendant hosted just yards from the patch of freshly disturbed soil. >> like someone had just been digging. i said what's going on with your yard, chris. it's all dug up? >> what did he say in. >> he said he had been having plumbing problems. >> there is no plumbing to the left of that red line. >> he has a party, hosts a party, feet away from where he'd buried a victim? >> yes. i can't explain it. but he did. >> but perhaps the strongest piece of circumstantial evidence tying the defendant to the murder was this. john's skull had been found wrapped in two plastic university book bags. one from usc, the other from the
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university of wisconsin at milwaukee. >> in doing a background on gearheartsrider, he had attended both those universities. >> a physical tie to the con man's real life and those bones in the ground. more evidence, after his san marino days, the con man was no longer the expansive recontour eager to work the room but was instead living like a fugitive. >> he told me that he was from pasadena, california. that his father was an anesthesiologist, and his mother was a child actress. >> in the late '80s, this woman lived with the defendant, then calling himself christopher crowe, an unusual guy who became paranoid and obsessed with privacy after a detective called traced to his latest phony name. john and linda's truck. >> after the call, he was
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markedly different. >> and how was it markedly different. >> the furtiveness, the cutting off of all social ties. >> the defendant told her that it wasn't a detective who called but someone out to get him and his family. he suggested they marry and go into hiding. >> he grew a beard and mustache. >> okay. what else? >> and he started to wear contacts. i helped color his hair. >> and while he was still living with her, he picked a new phony name out of thin air. and it was a butte. at first it was just to get a table in a packed restaurant. >> and they said who can they make the reservation for? and he says clark rockefeller. >> she dumped him, but he never dumped the rockefeller name. it would help win him his biggist catch ever, his gold-plated wife and keep his
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secret safe for years. >> who did he tell you he was? >> clark rockefeller. >> did you ever doubt what he told you was true? >> no. i assumed what he said was true. >> she did everything she could to get as far from her ex-husband as possible. she even moved overseas to london with their daughter. but now as a witness for the prosecution, she would have to divulge details of their life together, details the prosecution hoped how she would be used as a cover. >> i liked him. i thought he was very intelligent, funny, quirky, very charming. >> the stanford graduate told how back when she was getting her mba, they clicked while playacting at a clue themed party. >> i was ms. scarlet. >> was the defendant in character in. >> yes. >> who was he? >> he was professor plum.
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>> what did he tell you about himself? >> that he was raised in new york. that he grew up in a townhouse on the east side. sutton place. he went to yale, beginning at 14, for math. >> did he claim to you an association with the well-known rockefeller family? >> yes. >> how so? >> constantly. this rockefeller doesn't like me because i, you know, got angry at him when he was a child at a party. >> they married in 1995. or did they? according to boss, she later learned that rockefeller had figured out how to tie the naught without living a paper trail. >> he claimed at the time that he had filed all of the paperwork, so that it was recognized as a legal marriage except that he hadn't done so, and it wasn't. i had never been married before. so idiotically didn't think
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about it. >> the prosecution suggested that with his marriage to boss, the con man had hit a double jackpot. she earned north of a million a year, giving her househusband and stay-at-home dad the run of the money. >> and with no bank accounts of his own, he could live the life of a rockefeller where few were likely to ask awkward or incrim natting questions. >> he was very clear right from the start that he had a high need for privacy, because of his famous family. >> boss recalled that he stopped traveling by plane once id was required. and perhaps most telling for the prosecution, she testified that her husband vowed never to go to two places -- california where john was murdered. and connecticut where police had
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once looked for him in connection with john's truck. >> he was very specific about connecticut. >> what about california? >> california, he also said that he hated and would not visit. >> but deep into their marriage, his life of carefully crafted invisibility started coming apart, melting away with lie after lie. >> he told her that his mother was really a child actress by the name of ann carter. and he said wait a minute. when we first met, you told me were your mom's name was mary. now you're telling me your mom's name is ann carter. >> in the end he just couldn't not lie. he couldn't help himself. >> this man, clark rockefeller, couldn't keep his lies straight. >> by then, sandra boss told the court her marriage was in serious trouble, headed toward divorce. but the private investigators she hired were timied over a basic question. >> they couldn't tell me who i was married to.
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>> eventually, she and the word found out who clark rockefeller really was. and prosecutors believe they'd made the case that he was more than just a con man. he was a murderer. >> christian gearheartsrider. >> and to point the figure pointing over the case, the more likely suspect the defendant would argue, the victim's wife, linda. >> coming up, remember those postcards signed by linda and sent from paris? >> and if she was alive, was she the killer? when behind closed doors continues. uh-oh! guess what day it is?? guess what day it is! huh...anybody? julie! hey...guess what day it is?? ah come on, i know you can hear me. mike mike mike mike mike... what day is it mike? ha ha ha ha ha ha!
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a six man, six woman jury was all that stood between christian gearheartsrider and
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freedom. he was nearing the murder case. >> that's not spin, that's not smoke. >> his defense team conceded right off that their clean was a fraud and an odd ball. >> this man used different names since coming to the united states in 1978. >> but attorney brad bailey said none of that made him a murderer. >> this had nothing to do with covering up a 28 year old homicide and everything to do with this recreation. >> in court, they attacked the evidence as weak. not a single finger print or dna to tie the defendant to the victim, the bloodstain the or even those university book bags. >> that is correct. i did not detect a dna profile.
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>> the defense also questioned the neighbor. >> you don't know that that was blood, do you? >> not absolutely. >> another challenge. this one to detective tim mile eye. what about that chain saw the defendant supposedly borrowed once upon a time. >> is there any allegation in this case that this chain saw was used in connection with the murder or disposal of the body of john? >> no. >> so your answer is no, there's no proof of that. >> there's no proof of that. >> and in the absence of proof, the defense offered an alternative theory of the crime, another suspect. their steppingstone toward reasonable doubt. the still missing linda. >> we're going to ask you to envision whether john's missing wife might have had just as much capacity to sneak up behind her husband and strike those blows.
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>> the defense pointed out that she was bigger and stronger than both her husband and the man in the defendant's chair. what's more, the wife might well have had a motive. while even the prosecution failed to know why they had wanted him dead. >> wasn't there trouble in paradise? linda desperate to move out of her mother-in-law's house in. >> you knew that linda was frustrated about the living situation. and those are words that you have used, correct? >> yes, three was frustrated. >> she shared that frustration with you, didn't she? >> yes, she did. >> kaufman seethed inside, appalled at what was being suggested. >> i'm like, dude, you're so far off base that i can't even answer your questions with anger. so i'm just going to answer your questions. >> but it wasn't just a motive, the detense said, wasn't it also clear that linda had survived
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whatever had happened to john, since she was the one handwriting experts said had sent postcards to friends weeks later from paris. >> linda is the writer of the two postcards that you examined. >> yes. >> that supports the theory that linda was alive after the death of john. >> as for the testimony of sandra boss, tales that seemed to suggest their client was the most clever con man alive. well, why would so nimble a schemer commit such a crude murder, burying his victim's remains in plastic book bags from universities he'd attended. >> that murderer would also be one of the stupidest murderers in the state of california. if he's this mastermind that they make him out to be. he's asking to kill somebody, leaving a plaque saying hey, guys, it's me that killed him. >> enough doubt, if not for acquittal then to at least hang
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the case. but prosecutors were ready. they'd examined and eliminated the linda did it theory. and just before trial they thought they'd solved the mystery of those postcards. the con man, they would show, had someone in europe mail them for him. he'd done it before. a college girlfriend, producing a postcard he supposedly sent to her from london. >> england is great. >> we know that he was attending an english class at university of southern california. >> he was not in london. >> so that explains away the postcards. >> the evidence was in. and though much of it was damning, it was almost all circumstantial. his lawyers were confident on verdict day. >> he went into the courtroom feeling upbeat, hopeful and optimistic. >> it was a miscalculation to say the least. the jurors took only a few hours to decide. >> we the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant guilty of the crime of murder in the first degree of
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john -- >> a verdict reached quickly jurors said and with little debate. to sue kaufman, it meant most if not all of the answers about what had happened to her friends. >> in my heart, i know he's responsible for whatever happened to make those two gone. >> are you convinced that linda is dead as well in. >> yes. >> to the end, he insisted that his lawyers privately call him clark as in clark rockefeller, and they did. but the man who invented that name and so many others had spent his life convincing others and had failed on all counts with a jury of his peers. >> unfortunately, there was an interaction here of somebody that they instinttively lahated. they hated him. they were laughing at him. >> not a fitting end for a
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rockefeller perhaps, but for a liar who is also a killer, maybe good morning on this memorial day. coming up on "early today," president obama tours the devastation in storm ravaged oklahoma as residents begin rebuilding their lives. >> i want folks affected throughout oklahoma to know that we're going to be with you every step of the way. a weekend of weather extremes across the country from deadly downpours and flash floods in southern texas to unseasonable snow in parts of the northeast. plus a bizarre camera mishap halts a nascar race and the rare dance of the planets and a dance party reunion you do not want to miss. "early today" starts right now. >> announcer: this is "early today" for monday, may 27th. good morning, everyone, on this memorial day.

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