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of a memory ever further away. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline" extra. i'm craig melvin, thank you for watching. she was a person out of a '40s film noir movie. >> reporter: with a life full of mystery to match. >> she was a stunner physically, she was able to say jump and the men would say how high. >> married to a wealthy lawyer. >> he always said she has this hold over me. >> someone she was even closer to. >> eating together, sleeping in the same bed together. she's living at her house.
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>> did they also share a deadly secret? >> it was a love triangle and one of them had to go. >> was it her idea? >> it seemed like a good idea at the time. >> or hers? and who would take the fall for evil. >> how deep a hole did you dig? >> not deep enough, obviously. >> poison. hello, and welcome to "dateline" extra. i'm craig melvin. larry was a successful trial attorney with a thriving practice, a wife he adored and a lavish lifestyle. then the 53-year-old vanished in a mystery as twisted as they come. at its center, three lives tangled together in a deadly love triangle. and only one of them would survive. here's keith morrison.
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it was september 11th, 2001, everyone knows where they were that day. even as the rest of the world's attention was focused on new york city, they were intent on their own urgent needs, their desires, their fears. their deadly love triangle. so they probably didn't appreciate the passing wonders, the astonishing cliffs. any more than the back seat through fading eyes saw anything at all. here is one of them. his name was larry mcnabbny. and he was a tall handsome man. a personal injury attorney, made buckets of money, loved the big life. loved being in control.
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>> there was never a hair out of place, there wasn't dust on his desk. his pen was always in the same spot. >> reporter: his daughter was crazy about him. in awe of his type a personality, his courtroom presence. >> i loved to go to the courtroom and watch my dad. it was mesmerizing to me. >> he was completely confident. not an ounce of shyness. he commanded the courtroom. >> i've been a trial lawyer for over 20 years. >> larry's long time friend fred attkisson. >> he could open 50 miles a month, which made him a rich man. >> but nobody's perfect, of course. and for all of larry's unquestioned talents. the man carried around with him a raft of corresponding demons. >> i know he had a difficult
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childhood, and that a lot of your personality is shaped when you're a child. >> and as an adult. larry struggled with alcohol and women. and married and divorced several times. >> it was like a void he was trying to fill. and he never could fill it. >> from time to time, larry had gone on benders and just vanished weeks at a time. everybody would worry and wonder, and sure enough he'd show up again. >> i had a t-shirt made up once, yellow with black letters saying where is larry mcnabbny. >> then larry seemed to get his act together for real. he set up a new office in las vegas. everything clicked. possibly for an attractive reason as tavia discovered. >> i went by the office one day, and he said, i have someone i want you to meet.
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he said this is elisa. >> 17 years younger than larry. and he was in love. >> and he said, she's just fun and vivacious. and she's young, and it's just -- we have a good time. >> tavia didn't stand in the way. she wanted her dad to be happy. >> we welcomed the new person in. it's my dad, soy didn't want anything that would inhibit me from spending time with him. >> and he really carried for this woman? >> he did. >> larry and elise thrived, both personally and professionally. they got married. elisa became his office manager, they opened a firm in sacramento, california. they hired a young attractive college student named sarah, the outgoing daughter of deeply
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religious parents, who soon became a friend and office assistant. together elisa and larry enjoyed the high life. >> she was into the same thing that larry loved, and style. and they went out and bought viper cars together. >> they also shared larry's newest passion, quarter horses. >> larry would show horses, and show himself, which fit in with larry looking good and feeling good. >> larry could do more of what he liked. >> while young sarah pitched in to help elisa run the law end of larry's practice. just about perfect. larry's friend fred was a stick in the mud about it. >> the fact that she took control of his business allowed him to engage in drinking and partying. >> which is not really what larry needed? >> no, he didn't need that. because his appetites would run
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amok. >> so when after nearly 7 years of marriage larry suddenly dropped out of sight, close friends were extremely alarmed at first. after all, larry had gone on drunken benders before. but this time as days stretched into weeks, it seemed different. extremely odd. ginger miller started working at the law firm as a secretary in september 2001, just about the time larry went missing. elisa kept the business going in his absence. >> i was told to tell his kids and different people in his family different things. i was told he was golfing or skiing. some place they couldn't get ahold of him at? >> it was all obvious b.s.? >> yes. if it was a client i would say he was working with a deposition, with a client. he had to fly out. >> i said to my brother, this doesn't sound right.
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why do the stories keep changing? >> october arrived still no larry. thanksgiving, and december he was always with family on his birthday. but still no sign of larry mcnabbny. >> i didn't get a good feeling. and what i worried about was, had something gone wrong and dad was scared and he took off? >> had larry offended the wrong person? tavia had a friend in law enforcement who told her -- >> you have to look at it two ways, either if he's in hiding, he's not going to be happy you found him. obviously, he's hiding for a reason. or something's happened to him. >> meanwhile, back at the office, ginger was hearing things, worrisome things, until she just couldn't keep it in any more. >> i went to the sheriff's department, i wasn't sure what to do. so i just asked for a piece of paper, and i slid it under the
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window. >> detectives got her note, all right. and figured they should have a chat with elisa. by the time they went looking for her, just like larry, she was gone. >> who exactly was elisa mcnabbny? and what did she know about her husband's disappearance? the investigation heats up when police uncover dark secrets in elisa's past. coming up -- >> she was a person out of a '40s film noir movie. she was a stunner physically, but more importantly, she had a control over men that just amazed me. >> when poison continues. kayla: our dad was in the hospital. josh: because of smoking. but we still had to have a cigarette.
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welcome back. where was larry mcnabney? he was known to be a heavy
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drinker and had gone on bernie sanders before, but according to coworkers, this time seemed different. a secretary at his firm contacted the sheriff's office. detectives were now eager to talk to his much younger wife, elisa, but oddly, she had disappeared too. and when investigators started digging into her past, they quickly uncovered that elisa mcnabney didn't really exist. here, again, is keith morrison. >> by the dawn of 2002 while the rest of us were getting used to a post-9/11 new normal, it seemed pretty clear something abnormal must have happened to that personal injury attorney, larry mcnabney. nobody had seen him in five months. he had never been on a bender for this long. now his wife, elisa, was missing too. by this time ginger had dropped off her note at the sheriff's office and detectives were poking around in the abandoned remains of larry's law practice.
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talking to employees like sarah dutra, the attractive 21-year-old art student from sacramento state, who worked at the mcnabney law firm as an office secretary. she brought her little dog, ralph, with her to the sheriff's office. sarah told the detectives that she and elisa had become close friends and so she, sarah, certainly noticed how erratic elisa became after larry went missing. >> things were starting to not seem right. like, you know, elisa wouldn't come to work all the time there, you know? >> sarah confirmed what ginger miller said, that elisa kept changing her explanations for larry's whereabouts. she saw elisa signs larry's name on checks and dated a business transaction. >> i figured she's keeping this business going for him. you know, so he can go play or do whatever he was doing. >> in early january 2002, said sarah, elisa planned a trip to
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arizona to attend a horse show. in the absence of larry, invited sarah to go along. >> i was going to fly down the next day and then she told me, you know, your ticket's paid for and all that. >> but when sarah got to the airport, the ticket was not paid for. >> you called her cell phone number and what did you get. >> nothing. it was this number is no longer in use. >> and that was that, said sarah. she hadn't heard from elisa since. >> i called ginger and i said, ginger, you know, i'm going to look for a new job. i don't know about you, but elisa is gone. >> thomas testa was the san joaquin county prosecutors. when he heard about the case of larry and elisa mcnabney, he gravitated toward it. >> he was an attorney with a case load who just disappeared.
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this isn't someone who's a homeless person who just vanishes and you think they took a greyhound and went to nevada. >> he began by taking a good, hard look at elisa. >> she was a person out of a '40s film noir movie in that she was a stunner physically, everyone said that, but more importantly she had a control over men that just amazed me. she was able to say jump and the men would say how high? >> it certainly seemed true for larry, so said his old friend, fred atchison. >> she was controlling him to the extent that she was keeping him away from his family and his former friends. >> did that include the relationship he had with you? >> no question about it. >> you find yourself shut out. >> yeah. >> so did larry's daughter, tavia. >> elisa completely cut me out of the picture, and i was devastated. >> but why? why was elisa keeping larry away from his family and friends? what did she have to hide? >> he called me up once on the phone and said fred, i don't know who she is.
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you know, i thought he meant we don't really ever know who our spouses are deep down. and he said, no, i don't even know if this is who she is, if her name is what she says it is or anything. >> by then, said fred, larry had discovered ample reason to stop trusting elisa. >> he couldn't keep his wallet in his pants. >> he told you that? >> yeah. she would steal money out of his wallet. he had to hide his wallet in his own house. >> turned out she was also stealing from the law firm. >> she had ripped him off. >> for how much? any idea? >> over $100,000. >> larry told fred all about his troubles with elisa, and yet he kept her around, not like he hasn't divorced women before, but not this one. tavia didn't get it. >> i mean, he always said she has this hold over me, and i never understood what that meant. >> and larry's comments to fred about not knowing his wife, well, his suspicions turned out
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to be true a little research told detectives that the reel woman behind the name elisa mcnabney had a considerable criminal rap sheet, including stolen property, credit card fraud, grand theft. >> she really had a way of ingratiating herself with men and using her female charms, and she was very, very good at it. she was a true and true con artist. >> so was elisa just conning larry? surely, thought fred, she wouldn't have done away with him, would she? >> it wouldn't make any sense, even for a dedicated pole cat to do anything like that because he was the goose that laid the golden egg. it wouldn't make sense whatsoever. >> it was a farm worker who noticed a flock of eventualtures
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or buzzards drifting above one of these grape fields. saw something sticking out of the ground. and soon a missing persons case turned into something much, much worse and considerably more bizarre. >> "poison" returns after the break. with neulasta onpro patients get their day back... to be with family, or just to sleep in. strong chemo can put you at risk of serious infection. in a key study neulasta reduced the risk of infection from 17% to 1%, a 94% decrease. neulasta onpro is designed to deliver neulasta the day after chemo and is used by most patients today. neulasta is for certain cancer patients receiving strong chemotherapy. do not take neulasta if you're allergic to it or neupogen (filgrastim). an incomplete dose could increase infection risk. ruptured spleen, sometimes fatal as well as serious lung problems, allergic reactions, kidney injuries and capillary leak syndrome have occurred.
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welcome back to "dateline" extra. detectives looking into the disappearance of larry and elisa mcnabney had made a startling find. a friend of larry's claimed elisa had ripped her husband off for more than 100 grand, and it appeared he wasn't her first mark. the young woman was a felon with a long criminal history of theft and fraud. but was she capable of even darker crimes? here, again, is keith morrison. >> it was february 2002, a remote vineyard up in the northern end of california's central valley, a farm worker checking the outer reaches of a giant field of grape couldn't help but see the big words going round and round.
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something out there. >> vultures were circling. he spotted the vultures so he went out to see what they were circling. >> investigators xavier ramos and lieutenant robert book walter worked at the san joaquin sheriff's department at the time. they were among the first on the scene. must be some dead animal or something. >> and i believe he said that. he was going to find some dead animal out there or something. >> but it wasn't a dead animal. the leg that was sticking out of the ground was decidedly human, and soon larry's daughter, tavia, got the news. >> i got a call from the sheriff's department, i felt myself get really hot and nauseous. and she said that the body they found, the dental records, it was him. and i remember i never swear and i yelled out this cuss word and
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i slammed the phone and i just started shaking. it was a moment in time that i've never felt such anguish. >> that's still raw even now. >> it is because i thought -- i don't know. i thought -- i guess i was hoping he was in hiding. >> very fortunate that the body was discovered. now we can move on and investigate it as a homicide. >> tavia's hopes, crushed. police had ample proof five months after he vanished that larry had been murdered and left to rot out in the middle of nowhere. >> there weren't any stab wounds or any bullet holes. >> there were no obvious signs of larry's cause of death, so they looked further and find something very unusual. >> the medical examiner was able to find out the cause of death
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was poisoning with a horse tranquilizer. >> horse tranquilizer? >> yes. >> now, that was strange. but get this. >> he had been dead for an extended period of time. however, the body had not decomposed consistent with the time frame we were looking at. >> meaning? >> meaning it was preserved, kept cold. >> one of the first things i thought, where would they have access to a walk-in refrigerator large enough to hold a human body? >> detectives wanted answers, and so did larry's daughter, tavia, who sometimes believed she could hear her father in her sleep. >> when i would go to sleep at night, i would wake up and hear him calling for me to help him. i didn't know what to do and i didn't understand what was going on. >> sometimes people get a sense of knowing either what or who was responsible. did you? >> i knew elisa had done something.
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>> larry's much-younger wife, elisa, she vanished a few months after he did and now that larry was dead, she was the prime suspect in his murder. sheriffs deputies and the fbi tracked her down in march 2002 in florida. >> she cut her hair short and changed her name. >> elisa was not now going by the name of shane ivaroni and was working as a paralegal at a florida law firm. >> elisa was a very smart person. she had, i believe, 140 iq. >> she could talk anybody into anything? >> right. >> but now that she was finally exposed for the con artist she was and was in custody, elisa decided to tell her story, starting at long last with her legal name. >> my whole name is laren. l-a-r-e-n. l-a-r-e-n. my middle name is renee.
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r-e-n-e-e. >> okay. >> my maiden name was sims, s-i-m-s. >> and elisa, where's that coming from. a change or you just wanted a different name? >> no, i left florida. you know, i mean, i was a fugitive from florida. >> elisa or laren was from massachusetts and was a mother of two. she was wanted in florida for violating probation on a burglary and theft charge and had been on the run for nine years, she said. she eventually settled in las vegas where she met larry and by this time had changed her name to elisa. she told the police she was at the horse show in arizona when she found out police wanted to talk to her about larry. and so she took off in her jaguar, drove from state to state. >> where were you headed at this point. >> i didn't -- just away. >> so with the preliminaries out of the way, now came the big question. what happened to larry mcnabney?
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elisa, without hesitation and without even being asked, spilled the beans. >> and did i kill my husband? yes, i killed my husband. >> there it was, no apology, no evasion. she simply confessed to killing her husband, larry mcnabney. but, and this was a "but" with a capital "b," that wasn't the whole story, not even close. coming up, the rest of the story. did elisa have help? >> and i freaked out. >> she was going to -- >> yeah, and i was freaking out. >> she? who was she? when "poison" continues. ur busi. you work too hard to work this hard! collecting receipts? is it the 80s? does anybody have a mixtape i can borrow?
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richard lui, congress is attempting negotiations to end the partial government shutdown.
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mike pence met with chuck schumer today, they discussed how much money it would take for both sides to come to agreement on the border wall. and iran launches a big military exercise cone siding with the arrival of the u.s. navy strike group in the persian gulf. the nation insists the show of force was defensive, it could turn aggressive if attacked. for now, back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline" extra. i'm craig melvin. elisa mcnabney the answer question before police had even asked, yes, she killed her husband, larry. it would have seemed like a straightforward case if not for
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what elisa told investigators necks, that she wasn't the master mind behind the murder. so who was? she said it was someone police had already met. here again is keith morrison. >> there is a purity to confession, a real cleansing of the soul. now after months on the lam, elisa mcnabney, aka laren sims, was offloading the secrets of a lifetime. didn't hold back yes, she killed larry. her husband of nearly seven years, she said. but it wasn't her idea. >> i said, i don't know what i'm going to do. and she said, we have to kill him. and i said, i can't kill him. >> she said? who was this other woman who pushed elisa to commit murder? turned out detectives had already talked with her. remember sarah dutra, the young secretary elisa's friend who came back with her little dog who had been so helpful after larry and elisa disappeared? now saying that killing larry was sarah's idea. >> i never would have done it on
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my own. >> elisa told the story this way. larry was a heavy drinker and drug user. he was abusive, she claimed and feared for her life. one day he divided in her young friend, sarah, and sarah said there was just one thing to do, kill larry mcnabney. now in this three-hour long interview elisa went into detail after gruesome detail of how she and sarah did it. elisa and larry were at a horse show in los angeles, she said, and sarah flew down to meet them, or rather, to meet elisa since larry didn't like sarah, said elisa. >> what did you guys decided to do with him. >> we said if we -- if we kill him, nobody's going to miss him. >> were you going to do it, like, that day or some other time in the future? when were you planning on doing it? >> right then. >> right then and there? >> yeah. >> that was september 9th, 2001.
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according to elisa, larry had already passed out after imbibing a little horse tranquilizer on his own for fun. so sarah decided, according to elisa, to just give him more. and no one would ever find out. >> oh, god. it seemed like a good idea at the time. but, oh, my god, it's so horrible to think of taking somebody's life. >> while larry slept, she and sarah squirted drops of horse tranquilizer into his mouth, but larry didn't die. instead, the next day on september 10th, larry got up, showed his horse, and then went right back to bed. >> next morning he's like lying there. and i thought he was dead. and so i wake sarah up and i say, i think he's dead. and she pushes him and she said, no, he's not dead. >> but he was so heavily drugged
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he couldn't walk. >> so we went down the street and rented a wheelchair. and i got him dressed and put him in the wheelchair and rolled him out to our truck. and put him in the backseat of the truck. and we drove. >> this was september 11th, 2001. everyone else in the known world preoccupied elsewhere. while elisa and sarah drove north through california with larry slowly dying in the backseat of the truck. >> we stopped in yosemite, somewhere in yosemite. and sarah got out and started digging a hole and he was alive, okay? and i freaked out. >> she was going to say throw him in the hole alive? >> yeah, and i was freaking out. i said we can't put him in there, he's leave. we can't do that. >> so, she said, they drove on.
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they thought larry would die in the car, but he didn't. so when they finally made it back to larry and elisa's home near sacramento, larry was slipping in and out of consciousness, still alive. >> and then when 6:00 in the morning rolls around, the sun starts coming up, and sarah sleeps late, you know? and so i immediately go up there. and he was dead. >> that was the morning of september 12. >> and sarah says, well, we can't leave him lying here. so, you know, we take this sheet that he was lying on. and we wrapped it around him. and then we took tape and wrapped it around him and he was in a crouched position. and then in my garage he had this wine refrigerator, you know, like a regular refrigerator? but he only kept wine in it. we took the wine out of it and
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took the racks out of it and put him in it. >> they stuffed larry's body in the refrigerator while they decided what to do with it. >> we talked about burying him in the backyard. we talked about burying him at my trainer's. we talked about burning the body in the desert. >> but they couldn't quite decide, and so they kept larry's body in the refrigerator for three months. and then they decided to take it to las vegas, find someplace there to bury it. >> how much does he weigh? >> he weighed a lot. i'm having a hard time seeing you two picking up this ambition guy. >> we laid the trailer tire down in front of the refrigerator. opened the refrigerator door, laid the trailer tire down. slide him out, put him on the trailer tire, and then back the jag up really close to the trailer tire. and then it was only like that much difference.
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so then we just pushed. >> off the tire into the trunk? >> exactly. and he was like, shaped like this, you know? so then we put him in the trunk. and he was like this. and he closed the trunk. and we went to las vegas. >> en route to las vegas with their two dogs in the backseat, larry in the trunk along with two shovels, once there sarah hung out at the hotel with the dogs and elisa went out looking for a burial place for larry. but when she started digging, she said, the ground was too hard. >> and so i went back to the hotel and told her, i can't do it. and then all this time he's in the trunk, you know? and the valet's parking and it's not good. >> so elisa said they drove back to california. and the next morning at 4:00 she drove out to a vineyard, dug a hole and buried him. >> how deep a hole did you dig? >> not deep enough, obviously. >> that was elisa's story. and just a few hours after she finished telling it, california
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detectives hauled in sarah dutra, the alleged driver of the whole plot, and her story? well, it was a little different. >> coming up, is sarah dutra a cold-blooded killer or an innocent who was just trying to survive? >> god. i didn't want to end up like him. >> when "poison" continues. but we still had to have a cigarette. had to. kayla: do you know how hard it is to smoke in a hospital? by the time we could, we were like... what are we doing? kayla: it was time for nicodermcq. the nicodermcq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. and doubles your chances of quitting. nicodermcq. you know why, we know how. nicodermcq.
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do not take vascepa if you are allergic to icosapent ethyl or any inactive ingredient in vascepa. tell your doctor if you are allergic to fish, have liver problems or other medical conditions and about any medications you take, especially those that may affect blood clotting. 2.3% of patients reported joint pain. ask your doctor about what the science behind prescription vascepa can mean to you. amarin thanks the clinicians and patients who participated in the vascepa clinical trials. welcome back. elisa mcnabney's confession was as chilling as it was thorough. she described to police in detail how she and sarah dutra poisoned larry with horse tranquilizer, then buried his body in a california vineyard. but why would sarah a young secretary of barely out of
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college, want to harm larry? she was about to tell detectives her side of the story. then something no one saw coming, and sarah would suddenly be the only one facing charges. continuing with our story, here's keith morrison. >> i'm here tonight to encourage you to let the chips fall for the chips fall. do not attack elisa anymore. don't protect yourself either. just tell the truth. >> is she incriminating me somehow? >> sarah dutra appeared confused, no little dog to keep her company now. her close friend elisa mcnabney has confessed to murdering her husband, larry, and she not only helped with the murder but it was the driving force behind it. >> what do you think elisa's doing right about now? >> she is lying about what
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really happened. >> are you a cold-blooded killer? >> no. >> or are you somebody that got caught up in some stuff and made some mistakes? >> they confronted her with elisa's written confession. >> basically it says we planned to overdose larry mcnabney -- >> i'm not denying. i'm not denying. that conversation couldn't have happened. i never thought she would have carried it out and taken me along with her unknowingly. she's evil and she's trying to do this to pull me down with her because she's jealous of me. i know she has. >> explain that to me then. why is she doing this? make me believe it, sarah. >> because he's an evil person. anyone who can kill her husband is evil. >> sarah dutra broke down and told detectives her side of the story. and in this version it was
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elisa, not sarah, who was the cold-blooded killer. it was elisa, she said, who dosed larry with horse tranquilizer. elisa, who ordered sarah to bury him in yosemite even before he was dead. >> she said, get out and grab the shovel and go check that ground. i said, i don't want to do this. get out. i wanted you to know i was so afraid to not do what she wanted me to. >> elisa, who was eerily calm. when larry finally did expire. >> he was laying there on the ground and, what is he lying on the ground for. why is he not laying in bed? and she said, he's dead, and i thought, what do you mean he's dead? >> that was the morning of september 12th after the long and harrowing drive from the horse show in los angeles, said sarah.
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and through her tears she told the detectives how larry's body ended up in the refrigerator. >> she put him in a sheet. oh, my god. i've never seen anything like this, okay? and she said, okay, grab the sheet and then grab him downstairs. i said, what are you doing? we have to call the police. this is not right. she said, we are not calling the police. if you call the police, you will be so sorry you did. >> this was the heart of sarah's version. she went along with the whole awful crazy thing for one reason, she said. she was deathly afraid of elisa. >> god, i didn't want to end up like him. >> was it possible an innocent young woman in the armrests of a con artist. she seemed so frightened, so emotionally, and yet, thought the detective --
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>> i thought a little bit over the top. >> she was a little over the top? >> yeah. >> i know. >> you mean she was acting? putting it on? >> i believe so. >> after more than nine hours of questioning, sarah dutra was arrested and charged with larry's murder. it was a classic crime story, two killers, mutual finger pointing, and prosecutors knew they could use each woman's testimony against the other, an easy check mate, that is, until elisa took herself off the board. on march 30th, 13 days after her arrest, a jailer found her hanging by the neck in her cell, a suicide. >> a million questions for elisa. and now that door has been slammed shot. >> and now sarah, left holding the bag, would face murder charges alone.
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>> the prosecutor had to prove that sarah was equally responsible for larry mcnabney's death. but with elisa gone, who "o" whose story would the jury believe? coming up -- >> when you try only one defendant, it's very easy as it was for sarah dutra to point the finger at the one who's not there. >> when "poison" continues. [woman 1] this...
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welcome back. in the wake of a lisa mcnabney suicide prosecutors were forced to make their case. was she the cold-blooded mastermind that elisa portrayed? it was a question for jury would soon answer. hear with the conclusion of our story is keith morris.
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>> it was the winter of the 2003, more than a year after larry was poisoned with horse tranquilizer. his admitted killer, his wife. chose her own destiny. and her alleged accomplice alone, faced the possibility of spending the rest of her life behind bars. you attended the trial every day. >> yes, 11 1/2 weeks. >> why? why? >> our da had talked to us about the importance of our family being represented, that my dad not being forgotten. >> she believed her father died at the hands of both elisa and sarah. but while sarah admitted to being there when larry died, and in the days and months that followed, she adamantly claimed she never went to the police because she was afraid of elisa and ending up just like larry. and theory that even the prosecutor found believable.
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>> when i first got this case people in my office were telling you that's exactly what i was saying walking up and down the halls. poor sarah, but as i got deeper into the case i totally turned around on this. i started with that very mind-s mind-set. >> as he reviewed the evidence to prepare for trial, he became convinced that sarah was in fact the woman in charge. >> sarah did not like larry. she always accused him of being full of himself, talking about himself all the time, self-centered. she didn't like him. so larry didn't want sarah around. sarah did not like larry. >> you know, this sounds to me like two people who both love elisa and want the other out of the way. >> that's exactly it. it was a love triangle and one of them had to go. >> sarah said prosecutor testa was enjoying a very fancy life with elisa and larry was simply in the way. if your theory is right, these
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are two good time girls who have a great relationship and they're living off the proceeds of larry. why get rid of him? >> larry was lisa's golden goose was lisa was sarah's golden goose. and sarah was about to be cut out of this whole triangle. larry had just told her two days before he was killed that, you know, he wanted her gone, he wanted her fired. >> so said testa, it was sarah who had the motive to kill larry. sarah's lawyer, of course, saw it differently. >> this seems like a classic instance of, you know, evil sort of wrapping around a sweet, young -- little baby. >> at the trial the defense attorney claimed her as a conartist who wanted her husband dead.
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and sarah was her innocent and terrified pawn. >> it's the most horrible thing i've ever seen. i did it, but not because i wanted to. not because i wanted -- not because i wanted to. >> really? now prosecutor testa introduced ginger miller. remember her? she said in the days and weeks after larry vanished elisa and sarah seemed to feel anything but remorse. >> they're laughing together, they're shopping together, they're eating together, they're sleeping in the same bed together. she's living at her house. >> so they were not really working, were they? >> they were. they would get maybe two hours of work done during the day. >> what did they do the rest of the time? party? >> shop, hang out, sleep late. go flirt with boys. >> all the while spending the firm's money, larry's money, a lot of money. >> elisa got a red jaguar, sarah got a red bmw.
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>> such close friends or maybe more than friends. >> they bought matching underwear together. >> come on. >> no, my first week they're like, look what we bought. they both pulled up -- they were wearing matching underwear. they were best friends. >> they were blowing through money so fast they fell behind rent payments for the law office, got evicted so they moved the office into elisa and lar a's home, which according to ginger now seemed more like elisa and sarah's home. >> in the rooms they had no clothes of larry's the closet was cleaned out and in the bathroom they made the sinks hers and hers instead of his and hers. >> like they knew he wasn't coming back? >> yeah, she said -- they were pretty much moving him out. >> not quite. all this time, larry's body was still in the garage, still in the refrigeratorefrigerator. as for the idea sarah was an innocent child and elisa's puppet, that was nonsense said ginger.
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>> everybody knows she wasn't terrified of her. sarah had as much say as elisa had in the whole situation. >> until trial sarah sat wide-eyed and innocent. elisa wasn't around to be cross examined. her videotaped confession didn't get played for the jury. with no dna, no prints, no trace evidence, no living eyewitnesses the case against sarah was entirely circumstantial. first degree murder. >> first degree, yeah. >> but would the jury see it the way he did? after four days of deliberations the jury found sarah dutra guilty of voluntary manslaughter and accessory to murder, not first degree murder. >> had she not been a young attractive tall blonde whose parents were clutching bibles,
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crying in the first row, one wonders if this verdict would be the same. >> sarah dutra was sentenced to 11 years, served 8 and in the summer of 2011 at age 31 she was released. >> it's painful to know that such little time was given for such a horrific crime and one that seemed so premeditated to me and so thought out and so callus to the end. >> sarah did not respond to our interview request. and tavia, she told us she'd forgiven sarah as much for her own sake as anything. >> will i ever forget what she's done? never. but i don't want to have my whole life be their cruelty and the things they chose to do to him. i'd rather remember the loving times we had together. and they're not going to take that away from me.
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>> that's all for this edition of dateline extra. i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. this is a jagged little puzzle of a story. here's some of the pieces. a bitter race for the white house, a candidate who would do anything to win. maybe even conspire with a foreign government. a secret campaign meeting in an iconic tower on new york's 5th avenue. and in this case, a woman, a mysterious woman who may have tipped the scales at a time when america seemed to be coming apart at the seams. i'm not talking about 2016. no, this time, the year


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