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tv   2020  ABC  April 16, 2021 9:01pm-11:00pm PDT

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♪ it's such a bizarre story. sometimes i don't even believe that it happened to me. >> i had everything right there. donna, a beautiful baby. ♪ what would you say ♪ ♪ to the dark? ♪ >> these could be your neighbors. maybe you had them over for a barbecue. >> we've got an ambulance and police officers en route. where is the gun? >> it's on the table! >> donnah had been the victim of some strange phone calls. the police found a note. it was a blank deposit slip. and on the back was the time of 4:30 p.m.
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>> and in comes rebecca. this young beautiful nanny who has a heart of gold, wants to help out this poor man. >> he still had signs of life and a pulse with two gunshot wounds to the head. >> i've written over 30 crime novels, but here's a real-life case that is more twisted than anything i could have dreamt up. >> their lives were shattered. and it was my purpose to make this family whole again. this is the fist time i've sat down to tell my story. ♪ and i'll watch the whole world fall apart ♪ >> there's something going on here that we missed. on this very special day, at this very special house, a very
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special little baby is going to come live with us. and who do we see but the mommy. >> hi! >> all of these movies is just -- they could be yours. they could be mine. it could be anybody you know. >> look at these special kids. they've waited so long for this baby. >> you are watching the birth of a family. after six years of marriage, mark and donnah winger are about to adopt a baby girl. >> how do you feel, donnah? >> i'm overwhelmed. and i just want her to know that it just so happens that the day she's coming home to us is the anniversary of our engagement of mark and i. >> oh, isn't that wonderful! >> mark and donnah were sort of put on this pedestal as this beautiful young couple who had struggled to have kids, and now they finally were able to adopt this 3-month-old baby. >> here comes our special delivery. oh, look. >> oh, sweetie.
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>> you look at this beautiful mother with her beautiful child and they're just starting out their relationship. donnah doesn't have a clue this is going to be one of the last times that she's able to have a moent like this with bailey. >> 911 emergency. what's your emergency? >> emergency! emergency! this man, he beat my wife, and i shot him. please help me. he was killing my wife! >> are you mark winger? >> yes, i am. yes, i am. >> okay. and your wife is donnah? >> yes, she is. >> on august 29, 1995, the springfield police department responded to a 911 call. >> is the man still in your house? >> yes, he's laying on the floor with a bullet in his head. >> there had been a shooting at westview drive in springfield. >> it happened in a nice neighborhood, right when people were coming home from work by a ballpark where kids play
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baseball. >> when they arrived, they found a very grisly scene. >> i could see the victims from the front door. >> donnah was clinging to life. she had been hit no less than seven times in the head with a hammer. >> the second victim was an unknown white male lying on the floor. >> he still had signs of life and a pulse with two gunshot wounds to the head. it was quite chaotic. they were working on them, putting tubes in them. i knew that they were going to be transporting the victims soon, so i wanted to try to get identification on the male subject, so i went and took his wallet out of his back pocket, and in his wallet he had a driver's license which identified him as roger harrington. then i proceeded to assess the crime scene itself to try and gather as much information as i could. >> we have a hammer covered with what appears to be blood.
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>> the husband had reported his wife was being beaten by a guy with a hammer. >> we have a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun. >> on the dining room table was the weapon that was used to shoot mr. harrington. also on that table was a yellow mug and a pack of cigarettes. >> roger harrington's car was parked going against traffic, facing the wrong direction. >> it was very out of place for that neighborhood. >> inside of the vehicle the police found a note. written on there was the time of 4:30 p.m., the address and the name mark winger. >> i proceeded back to the master bedroom to talk with the husband, mark winger. he was rocking back and forth on the end of the bed. he was very upset, very emotional. >> he kept asking, who's that man that was in my house?
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and even though i knew who it was i did not want to let him know at that point. we got him calmed down. then we started getting into what had occurred. >> he was working out downstairs on his treadmill when he had heard a thump upstairs. >> at that point he shut the treadmill off and started walking up the steps to make sure everything was okay. >> when he got to the master bedroom, he seen his 3-month-old child laying on the bed, which he said donnah would have never done, which concerned him. >> he then said he heard noises which made him believe that donnah was in distress. >> so at that point he got his semiautomatic weapon out of the nightstand. >> and as he walked down the hallway, he observed a man beating her with a hammer. >> the male subject looked up at him and then lowered his head again to take another swing at his wife, and that's when he shot him.
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>> mark had stated the man fell backwards, landing on his back, and that he began to sit up, and that mark immediately shot him a second time. >> does he have a gun? >> her brains are everywhere. >> is he dead? >> i don't know. he's making weird sounds. please, please. >> who is this man? >> i don't -- i don't know who he is! >> he asked us many times who this gentleman was. at one point he said, is that guy's name roger? and at that point i felt that i needed to answer his question and i told him, yes, his name was roger harrington. >> mark was shocked and he said, oh, my god, that's the man who's been harassing my wife this week. >> fouor fivdaefe this cinthis wi toiteraren in florid >> donnah told me that mark had a conference. i said to her, why don't you come to florida? it would be so wonderful. >> looks like grandma and papa have found the baby.
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>> donnah was excited to show off her baby. and as all of her trips, it was always very sad to see her go. >> say hi, daddy. say we miss you. >> i dropped her off at the airport, and she left. we had hired a driver to pick her up in st. louis and drive her right to her house. this way she could just take care of the baby. >> it was about a two-hour drive and there was a lot of time to talk, and so this gentleman started opening up to donnah about issues he was having. he had a voice in his head named dom. dom would tell him to do bad things. recently, dom was telling him to hurt people. >> and then he started flirting with her, saying he liked older women and liked to have sex parties and invited donnah to join him. >> and this ride, as she
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describes it, is really scary. he is driving erratically, 75 miles an hour. he's raving about demons that talk to him. it's terrifying. >> she calls me, she tells me this whole story, and i said to her like any, you know, supportive sister would, you had a really crazy driver, but you're home, you're safe, you're going to be okay. she said, i'm really scared. >> after the harrowing ride, donnah had been the victim of some strange phone calls. they had believed that the driver had been stalking her and was a danger. >> so mark started calling the limousine company and filing a complaint. >> roger got suspended from his job because of the complaint. >> and mark suggested that donnah write down the story, and it would be good information to be very specific just in case
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they need it. >> at the murder scene, one of the police officers goes over to the refrigerator, and he notices this note, written in donnah's handwriting. "we entered the van and he introduced himself to me as roger. he talked to me about a spirit dahm. he told me things like dahm makes him do things, like set car bombs and killing people. i felt as if my life and the life of my daughter were in the hands of a nut." for detective cox, this note on the refrigerator fits in neatly with what mark winger is saying. >> it got us up to speed on why they were worried about this guy and why did this guy come to his house. >> detective cox viewed roger harrington with great skepticism. he had a history with roger harrington. >> i knew him as a very volatile-type subject. i owned a trailer park in town, and him and his wife rented a trailer from me.
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roger and his wife had domestic disputes that i had to get involved in. knowing what i knew about mr. harrington in the past, how quick he was to anger, i thought that he very well could have went over there to try to get his job back. and he snapped. there's a hammer laying right there on the table. he picks it up and goes into a rage. then the husband shoots the bad guy. >> donnah died a violent death. she was struck from behind, one time from the left, and then she was struck at least six more times on the base of her skull where she was brutally beaten to death with a hammer. >> i told mark that he had done everything he could to try and save his wife, but we still needed to tell him that his wife had passed away. he had called his rabbi to come to the house to help him through this. >> he was a wreck. you know?
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and i was trying to comfort him, and not knowing quite what to say, because i didn't know what there was to say. when the police examined the scene and when they listened to mark's explanation of what happened, the detectives came to the conclusion that mark winger acted in self-defense and the case was closed within approximately 48 hours. >> it all fit pretty good. in fact, almost too good. hours. >> it all fit pretty good. in fact, almost too good. proof of less joint pain and clearer skin. proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... ...with humira. humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further irreversible joint damage and clear skin in many adults. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections, including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver,
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marc winger ran upstairs mark winger ran upstairs from his basement, witnessed the beating death of his wife at the hands of roger harrington, and then shot harrington to death in self-defense. >> you see this terrible tragedy, and you wonder how did they get here? >> when donnah and mark got married, he received a job offer that brought him to springfield, illinois. >> springfield is the state capital. we have about 115,000 people who live here. >> springfield's very much a hometown, if you will. people here generally know each other. >> mark and donnah both were well respected. they had good jobs. they lived, i would say, an upper middle-class existence. nothing stood out. >> mark and donnah had a very nice married life.
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>> he was a nuclear engineer. >> donnah winger was a technician at memorial medical center. >> donnah was the oldest of the three girls. >> she was outgoing. she loved life. >> she lit up a room the moment she walked in. donnah always said what was in her heart and in her mind. she didn't mess around. >> mark's brother set donnah and mark up on a blind date. and things moved pretty quickly. >> he was smart, jewish. he was attractive, and he was fun. she just felt like she had found her person. >> he was good to her. and as a mother, that's all that i would care about. >> he came from a very nice family, and what more can you ask for? >> he was quiet. but he had a fabulous sense of humor. >> this is a test of the winger broadcasting system. >> the rest is history.
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>> we always joked about that when one sister marries, that husband marries three sisters. we shared our lives with mark. we were a very close family. >> donnah couldn't have been happier. the only thing was she would have liked to have had a child. >> donnah called up, and she was hysterical. she had just found out that she could not get pregnant. and that was a very hard moment for her. >> mark was unhappy for the fact that i know he wanted to have a big family. >> really all she wanted was to become a mom. and so when this didn't happen it took a toll. there was a lot of tension in their home. >> the way bailey came into donnah's life is a really
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special story. >> donnah was working in the operating room one afternoon. >> one of the physicians walked in and said, well, i have a young teen mother who wants to put up her baby for adoption. is there anyone that knows somebody that wants to adopt a baby? >> and this was the baby that they were going to adopt. >> tonight is friday night, and we have services tonight, and tonight is her naming. >> it was the best, absolutely the best. >> look. doesn't she look pretty? >> she sure does. >> say hi, bailey. say hi, grandma sarah. we're going to go to work to show her off. >> becoming a mother was probably the best thing that had ever happened in donnah's life. >> turn the video and we're ging to look at our little girl here.
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there she is. she's being a good girl. >> i remember asking her, how is it that you could get connected so quickly to a child that you didn't birth? and she looked at me with tears and she said, michelle, i knew it the minute they put that baby into my arms, she has always been mine. >> for my mother, becoming a grandmother was something that she had waited for for quite a while. >> here's grandma drescher. >> as a new father, mark seemed to excitedly be videotaping his family all the time. >> mommy is feeling very comfortable these days with bailey, and i think we've sort of bonded a little bit. >> aw, i think we bonded a lot. >> when bailey first came home, everybody wanted to see the new baby. >> say hi.
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here's aunt deann. >> there's deann. >> as you can see in the video, deann is really a close friend of donnah's. >> donnah met deann at the hospital that she was working at and they became fast friends. >> this is my -- just the sweetest little niece. >> so she was definitely there to help donnah with new mommy trials and tribulations that we sometimes face. >> mark was just as excited to become a dad as donnah was to become a mom. >> they were just a model american couple. >> look at that face. >> looking back on those videos, no one could imagine, like, what happened. >> we got a phone call. i've got some very bad news to tell you. >> i remember screaming, ira, tell me, tell me what is wrong. what are you talking about?
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it was around 11:03 on a tuesday evening when, all of a sudden, we got a phone call. [ phone ringing ] and it was mike datz. and mike datz said to me, i've got some very bad news to tell you.
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>> i remember screaming, ira, tell me. tell me what is wrong. and finally he said to me, sara jane, donnah was murdered. and i said to him, murdered? what are you talking about? and then i finally said to him, we have to tell the girls, and i have to break their hearts. it was 4:00 in the morning. and i said, jenny, it's mom. something terrible has happened. >> my mother begins to sob and says, donnah's dead. donnah's dead. >> i couldn't think.
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i couldn't breathe. i couldn't understand. >> and we sat there in my room, the four of us, just crying at this unimaginable loss. >> and wednesday morning we were on an 8:00 plane to springfield. we went right to the rabbi's house. >> the first night, in the jewish religion, you have a prayer service in the evening. and the rabbi was just ready to start the service when mark walked in with the baby in his hand, and everybody cried.
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>> we had heard right away that it was roger. >> i couldn't imagine what an evil person he was and why he would do such a horrendous thing. >> springfield's a small town and a small community. and a case like this is shocking to everyone in the area. >> the details, when they came out, then people started imagining how someone at random could take a hammer and kill this woman. >> i kept thinking to myself, oh, my goodness, how awful. this evil man was so close to my brother-in-law. how horrific that he had to go through this experience and watch his wife being murdered. >> my mother and i started to go to illinois. >> we were taking turns in taking care of the baby.
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in the beginning it was fine. but as i think back, mark was quiet. he was off in his own little world. >> i spent a lot of time with mark. and i'm observing these odd behaviors. >> he was drinking a lot. he would go to bars. he would watch movies like "pulp fiction." >> and you will know my name is the lord when i lay my vengeance upon thee! [ gunfire ] >> this movie is violent. after what he just went through, why did he pick this movie? but if this is the way that mark grieves, then i will have to accept that. >> you really can't judge anybody by how they grieve. when you lose somebody close to you, it's devastating. and you never know how somebody is going to react.
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>> i didn't understand it, but i loved him because he loved donnah, and that's what was important to me. but i had to be very careful. because i did not want to ruin my relationship with him. because i did not want to ruin my relationship with the baby. i wanted to be a grandma, and she made me a grandma. >> we tried very hard to make sure that bailey had everything that she needed. we couldn't keep going up there and taking care of bailey, and we needed to get him some help. >> so, i suggested to mark that he hire a nanny. and in comes rebecca, this young, beautiful, tall, blond
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nanny who has a heart of gold, wants to help out this poor man. >> she was just adorable, which made me a little nervous because she was really cute. >> this is rebecca interview take one. >> this is the first time i've sat down to tell my story. mark just had a way of being extremely influential in that i needed to accept this position. i was going to become her nanny, her governess. >> can you say hi? >> i would move into the home and take care of her basic needs. and i just felt like she deserved the best. >> peekaboo! >> mark asked me to train her, to show her all the things about the baby. and i felt really good about that. >> say hi. can you say hi to grandma? >> i think deep down i didn't
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want to like rebecca, but it was hard to not like her. and seeing her with bailey, there was really nothing bad we could say about her. >> stand up here. show grandma how you stand in your crib. >> i was blown away at what this little girl had been through in her life in such a short time. she lost two mothers by the time she was 3 months old, and she was so smiling. >> can you say hi? hmm? >> i wanted to get in there and say i'm going to help and i'm going make this little girl's life better. >> there she is, standing in her crib. >> it was a big responsibility, but i was ready for her. like, bailey made me a mom, and sometimes a child has to appear for the mom to be created. >> bailey's kind of the start of
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great things for rebecca. >> there she is, the most beautiful girl in the world. there she is. >> mark called up one day, and he said to me, "i just want to tell you some good news." the nanny was pregnant. and i thought oh, my god, what is happening here? [ crowd cheering ] [ engine revving ] [ race light countdown ] ♪ ♪ when you save money with allstate you feel like you're winning. safe drivers save 40% saving is easy when you're in good hands. allstate. click or call for a quote today. ♪
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when i first met mark, he was just crushed, you know, when she was gone. that was never supposed to happen. >> the name you have chosen for her means blessing. >> and it was just a little bit uncomfortable for me, because i just felt like i was in the middle of this crime scene, you know.
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>> there were times i would play on the floor. and bailey would be down there with her toys. >> bailey elizabeth. >> i kind of wondered, like, we were just in the same spots, in the same areas, you know, that all this happened. bailey had no idea the chaos that had gone on around her, and i just wanted to protect her from that. mark, he wanted nothing but the best for her. ♪ happy father's day dear daddy ♪ >> he was just a provider and a protector and just a stand-up guy. >> she picked up the bottle and put it in her mouth all by herself. >> did you? because you are hungry. >> yeah, i always am. >> there was nights where we would sit up talking and having wine, and he would tell his stories and he would explain things. >> rebecca felt welcome in her
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new environment. there's only one person who made her feel uneasy, who made her feel uncomfortable. that was donnah's best friend, deann. >> deann pushed to be involved and a part of bailey's life. i just had the feeling that she wanted to step and take over where donnah was. >> this is my -- just the sweetest little niece that i have ever seen. >> in this home video deann seems to be so close to the whole family, so close to the baby. >> oh, want your mommy? >> i mentioned something to mark about it, and he just said that she's really hurting from donnah being gone. >> say hi daddy! >> so mark winger starts to return to his regular life, but then he decides to sue bart transportation for donnah's death in a wrongful death suit. >> mark winger filed a civil suit against bart transportation. the allegation is that bart transportation should not have hired roger harrington.
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>> i remember him saying that he was so angry with them, that they hired somebody that something was wrong with him. >> bailey's first feeding from her mom. >> whatever he asked for, it was worth it. donnah lost her life. it was necessary that they be held accountable. >> normally, when you close a case and it's done, especially when he's the hero in this case, you never hear anything else from him. but mark winger called me on the phone and asked if he could get his gun back. so he comes down to the station, and he's asking how the case was going, if it was still open, if we were doing any more interviewing. i just had an uneasy feeling about it. >> so the police have a few things that are making them wonder. roger harrington's car was
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parked facing the wrong way. they have roger's coffee mug. why would somebody bring a mug if they're going in to commit a murder? they have roger's cigarettes. again, why? roger harrington's family insisted from the beginning that their son was harmless. >> he was no troublemaker. he was a good kid, you know. he wouldn't even strike at anybody. >> when the newspaper and all the reports come out saying that this dahm character was telling him to kill people, i was thinking, man, you've really got this wrong. dahm. dahm was a rubber mask that he had. and he had told my oldest son, it's just a mask. it's there to scare people. >> i don't think he would have hurt anybody, and i don't think he was crazy.
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>> but then again, can we trust the word of the family? even though there are still a few pieces of the puzzle that didn't quite fit, the case was closed, and mark winger was going on with his life. >> someone's here, bailey. someone's here. >> hey! good afternoon. >> when you live with someone, and you're taking care of a child together -- >> knock them down. >> she only does that with me. >> it's very easy to kind of play house. you're already put in those roles. >> all squeaky clean. >> so clean, we cleaned her up. >> mark made me feel like i was like an angel sent to him from god or donnah. and it was my purpose to make this family whole again. >> the relationship between rebecca and mark grew from a
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business relationship to a romantic relationship. >> here's this young, smart, attractive woman coming into their lives and taking care of the child. she sees a caring husband who had been a hero, trying to save his wife. it's easy to see why they were drawn to each other. >> and i remember asking him how he could move on so quickly. and he explained to me that when you have a good marriage it's natural for you just to want that again. >> my first interaction with him, it was just kind of an awkward meeting. he starts telling me the story. it just didn't seem right. it was more about the way he used his gun than it was emotional for him to lose his wife. so it did make me feel uncomfortable when rebecca started to become more
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romantically involved with mark. >> cookie. >> grab the cookie. >> as the romance continued. mark kept capturing moments with rebecca front and center. >> look at daddy. say hi, daddy. >> bailey's been walking for about a week. come here, sweetheart. yay! >> mark had always told me that he was not capable of having children. >> good girl! >> i was very surprised to find out i was pregnant. obviously, i wasn't careful. but it was just kind of a shock. he was thrilled. he was absolutely thrilled. i felt like it was a victory to him. mark put pressure on me to marry him and have children with him. immediately, he started going to church with me to persuade me that we could have that life.
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he writes to me, "i love you, you love me, and you're pregnant with our child. i believe that you and i together can raise a family in a truly christian home. i would be honored to be your husband and blessed if you were my wife." >> and i said, mark, i don't understand. you've always claimed to be such a loyal jew. why are you changing your faith? >> elijah is one of our prophets who is with us through thick and thin. >> and he said judaism's just too difficult and unforgiving. and i said, mark, i don't know what you're talking about. what do you need forgiveness for? a lot of people think dealing with copd is a walk in the park. if i have something to help me breathe better, everything would be fun and nice. but i still have bad days... ...flare-ups (cough cough), which can permanently damage my lungs. my lungs need protection against flare-ups.
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here's our view on our balcony,nd prince charming is cooking breakfast. it's very easy to understand why i'm going to marry this man. >> mark and i eloped. we went to maui.
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and it was kind of a secret and a surprise, and i didn't even tell my own family. >> here's mrs. winger. >> aw. >> on film for the first time. >> it was just so hurtful in knowing that in his life donnah could be replaced so easily. >> i said to myself, what? now rebecca's pregnant? now they're going to be going to hawaii and getting married? it's like, seriously? can i say it on camera? what the [ bleep ]? i'm sorry. but seriously, who does this? ♪ >> i remember when mark told me that he was going to sell the house and buy a house in the country. >> it was my dream home, and my marriage.
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and i just think when we built that home i had so many ideas of what would happen at that home. and then we had anna. >> peek-a-boo. >> and then a year later we had maggie. >> look at the little teddy bear. >> home videos show their growing family filling the house in the country. >> where's anna? >> i was so busy with life and kids. we were just living our best lives. >> there's mommy and anna and bailey, hanging on the end. >> this is bailey's interview, take one. >> my name is bailey elizabeth simic. we had a pond in our backyard, and we would all go, like, play out in that together while my dad would fish. >> i think for donnah's family, they're probably torn. they wanted mark and bailey to
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have normalcy. but as mark then with rebecca started to pull away from the family, it was really very painful for donnah's sisters and her mother. >> sometimes when sara jane would be around bailey she would just cry. because she would see bailey and she would just want so badly to share that with donnah. and she would just get emotional. that bothered mark, because he didn't want her to cry around bailey. >> i remember visiting the new house. >> sara jane had the baby in her arms, and she had a necklace that had donnah's significance on it. >> she wanted to put it on bailey, and it upset mark. >> mark said, mom, could you please take the necklace off? it makes me feel bad. that was the first instance where we felt that mark said something that was inappropriate. >> that was kind of the beginning of the end.
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>> i received a letter from mark one day saying to me i could not be called grandma. so i wrote him back, and i begged him, please, let her call me grandma. and he said, i'm sorry, there's no way that i am going to allow her to call you grandma, and that's the way it is. >> we really all decided together that we just couldn't continue enduring this type of pain. and mark was somebody that we just no longer knew. >> i mourned that for a long time, and i really felt that when this child is old enough she will want to know about the first three months of her life and about her mom. >> every year for my birthday they would always send a birthday card.
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and i always remember asking my mom, who's sara jane and ira? and my mom would always explain, like, those are donnah's parents and they just, you know, want to let you know that, like, they love you and that they remember you. ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ >> yay! >> mark wanted to go and be checked out at the emergency room because he wasn't feeling well. and i looked over in the waiting room, and i saw deann. and she glared at me like she was just very angry to see us again. >> and it sort of triggered deann. after donnah's death her life went one direction and mark's went an entirely different direction. >> mark told me that we're probably going to be hearing from her again.
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my life and the home that i had built was completely shattered. >> deann schultz's statements were an absolute bombshell. >> now that this woman came forward, hello, there's your motive. dear ms, from day one you've tried to define me. but i never invited you in. it's my life and this is my journey. i've found a way to do things differently with ocrevus, an infusion treatment that's 2-times-a-year. for adults with relapsing or primary progressive forms of multiple sclerosis, ocrevus is proven effective in reducing relapses in rms and slowing disability progression in rms and ppms. don't take ocrevus if you've had a life-threatening allergic reaction to it, or have hepatitis b. tell your doctor about vaccinations or if you've had hep b, as it could come back. a common side effect of ocrevus is infusion reactions, and some may require hospitalization. it can increase your risk of infections, which can be serious, and may decrease certain types of immunoglobulins.
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it's such a bizarre story, sometimes i don't even believe that it happened to me. ♪ watch the pieces fall apart ♪ >> this is the case of really kind of the ordinary man, the ordinary family. ♪ and watch the whole world fall apart ♪ >> i had everything right there. donnah, a beautiful baby. that's what's so tragic. >> a disturbed person had been stalking donnah winger before her murder. >> the driver was really crazy. >> this man comes and destroys everything that they have. >> winger said he found harrington beating his wife with a hammer and, to save her, he shot harrington twice in the
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head. >> he was an innocent victim. >> and then you find out this dark, deep, secret. ♪ yes, the whole world falls apart ♪ >> i can't breathe. i don't understand what's going on. >> this one polaroid picture pretty much opens the case up completely. >> the police department had turned a blind eye to some red flags. ♪ what would you say ♪ >> he is like a chameleon. ♪ to the dark? ♪ >> his past affected my whole future. >> that collision of these lives, i don't think you could really script that. i see here on the bottom of the stairs, "the winger inn. established 1996," which was the year that we got married.
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>> here's our dad. >> everything was supposed to be perfect, just like in this picture. i had this beautiful, wonderful, perfect, untouchable family. >> thank you for the presents. >> but i have learned that things just aren't always what they seem. >> it's been three and a half years since donnah was murdered, and people have moved forward. mark's married and has a couple kids, and donnah's family is still sort of dealing with their grief. >> and then deann schultz, who had been donnah's best friend and was close with her family, comes forward to the police with a secret that breaks the case wide open. >> deann schultz explained to the police that she had been having an affair with
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mark winger prior to the murder of donnah winger. >> mark was having a romantic relationship with deann, one of our sisters, as we considered her, and that was something that we never, ever suspected. >> in this home video, deann seems to be really a member of the family. >> here's deann. say hi. aunt deann. >> and yet, we know that she's very, very close to one of the great betrayals. >> the last week that donnah was at our house, she told me that deann and her husband were having marital problems. and she said that mark was helping to guide them. he was going to help be the mediator that brought this marriage back together again. or so donnah thought. >> deann schultz also stated that prior to the murders, mark
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made a number of incriminating statements. >> she tells them that he said things like, it would be easier for us to be together if donnah just died. all you'd have to do is come in and find the body. >> deann stated that she declined to participate in that. after mark learned about the trip that donnah took with roger harrington, he told deann, i've got get that driver in my house. >> deann said the day of the murder, he called and said, will you love me no matter what? to which she replied, yes, i would. mark and deann continued their affair for about six months after the murder. of course, at which point, he had already hired rebecca as the nanny. >> her behavior was just very flirtatious in front of mark. and it was uncomfortable around myself. but she was also married at the time. >> deann struggled to make sense of the information that only she
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knew. it weighed on her and left her in a fragile state. >> deann schultz, after the murders, her life went on a downward spiral, to the point to where she had engaged in multiple suicide attempts. >> she never came forward until that chance encounter at that local hospital. >> that was the catalyst that caused her for first time to reach out to someone other than her physician to discuss the case. >> now that this woman came forward, hello, there's your motive. >> deann schultz's statements were an absolute bombshell. >> now the police were able to look at that case through an entirely different perspective, through the eyes of a man who was unhappy in his marriage, was resentful of his wife. now we have a motive. but insuring it is such a hassle. same with my boat. the insurance bills are through the roof.
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-[ sighs ] -be cool. i wish i could group my insurance stuff. -[ coughs ] bundle. -the house, the car, the rv. like a cluster. an insurance cluster. -woosah. -[ chuckles ] -i doubt that exists. -it's a bundle! it's a bundle, and it saves you money! hi. i'm flo from progressive, and i couldn't help but overhear... super fun beach day, everybody. for skin that never holds you back don't settle for silver #1 for diabetic dry skin* #1 for psoriasis symptom relief* and #1 for eczema symptom relief* gold bond champion your skin
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the first step when you re-open a closed case is to go back and look at what you
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already have. >> we got down to the evidence room, and to our surprise, it's gone. and so we go over to the evidence officer and ask him, where's our evidence? he says, well, it was released to the wingers' attorney for a civil lawsuit against bart transportation for wrongful death. >> i worked as a law firm investigator for the civil attorney who represented mark winger, and for many years that evidence remained in the law office, and it was technically the property of mark winger. >> now approaching the entranceway near the front door. >> there are several pieces of evidence that they're looking at that just don't sit well with the detectives as they're re-examining everything. >> first of all, roger harrington's car was parked facing the wrong way.
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he also brought his cigarettes and his coffee mug. >> who would do that if they were planning on killing someone? >> .45 caliber rounds. >> there was no signs of forced entry. not only that, but roger harrington left what was clearly could be used as weapons inside the vehicle. >> there was a tire iron that had black electrical tape wrapped around the handle. they also found a knife inside of his vehicle. >> we have what appears to be a large metal hammer. >> why would roger come into the house with mayhem on his mind and just happen to find a hammer on the table? >> mark winger wanted to kill his wife, and then opportunity presented when roger harrington drove donnah winger, and he told deann that he needed to get that man into his house, and that's exactly what he did. >> i'm a big fan, when i write books, of what if? this is the biggest what if for
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me - what if roger harrington had not picked up donnah winger at the airport? what if another driver had taken her, and there had been no complaint? was this the moment when mark went from thinking about murder, maybe even fantasizing about murder, and realized, oh, my goodness. i can maybe pull it off. >> while we're leaving the attorney's office with our evidence, we're getting ready to walk out his door and he says, hey, do you want these three polaroids?" and i didn't remember any polaroids at all. i hadn't seen any. but instead of looking stupid i said, sure, we need those, too. >> one of the first officers to arrive at the scene had a polaroid in his vehicle. and he happened to take three photos of the scene.
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they showed the positions of the bodies before the bodies were rushed to the hospital. >> this is actually something that if i had written a book, i' not sure i could have gotten away with it. these three polaroids are not seen by the police for years. this one over here especially is troubling. the way the bodies are lying does not fit in to the story that mark winger told. >> mark winger had stated that roger harrington was kneeling down right next to donnah winger's head, and he was beating her with a hammer. he stated that he shot him and that the man fell backwards so that his feet remained near donnah's head. in reality, the polaroid photographs show the exact opposite. >> these photographs actually showed mr. harrington and donnah winger basically laying in the same direction. >> and as such, there's no way this murder could have happened the way mark winger described.
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>> the physical evidence, along with the fact of the affair, it was clear that this was a staged domestic homicide. >> the polaroids seemed to be a game changer for them. and the police came to the realization that they got the story wrong to begin with. they had to come to a reckoning with themselves that they had made a mistake. >> the detective said to me, i just wanted to tell you that we now suspect mark to be the murderer of donnah. and i said to him, what are you saying? that's not possible. >> i was flabbergasted, to say the least. i couldn't believe what he said. and i said you've got to be kidding me.
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>> we thought it was about time the truth came out. >> roger's name would be cleared. that was one of the -- the biggest reliefs i had, just knowing that people would not a killer.t my little brother wa- >> more than four years later, the newspaper ran an article based on allegations in the civil suit that mark had arranged the murder himself and had killed roger and his wife. bart, their defense, had hired a blood-spatter expert who said that mark's story wouldn't hold water. >> a blood-spatter expert that the springfield police were later able to utilize in their investigation, which was really one of the key points of the case. >> everything kind of came to a head. it changed everything. i mean, it went from winger as a hero, who was defending his wife, this noble, stand-up guy that every man wanted to pat on the back, to manipulative, deviant murderer.
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>> harrington's roommate, susan collins, said winger invited harrington to his home. she said she saw harrington write down winger's name and address. >> susan collins had been briefly spoken to initially, and she had claimed that she was present when roger harrington fielded a phone call from someone asking to meet him the day of the murders. >> the police found a note inside of the vehicle. it was a bank deposit slip, and on the back was the time of 4:30 p.m. the address, and the name mark winger. >> why did he leave the baby in her upstairs, the house unlocked, and him go down and play on the treadmill? >> roger harrington was not an intruder, but rather he was lured into that home by mark winger. >> attorneys for roger harrington's family say two new court documents in a civil case indicate winger planned the murders of his wife and harrington. mr. winger made some comments about perhaps it was easier if
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his wife were dead. >> deann schultz's cooperation with police, the fact that, you know, there was evidence that raised questions about mark winger's story -- all of that came out, prompting the voluntary dismissal of the civil suit. >> happy birthday, daddy. >> aw, thank you. >> i didn't see it coming. i didn't know that this whole investigation was brewing. i never thought the whole time that they thought my husband was a diabolical murderer. by staying in touch... and showing you care... because now, each time you order online or tap in-store with your mastercard at restaurants and grocery stores, mastercard will donate to stand up to cancer, one precious cent at a time, up to 5 million dollars. together, we can start something priceless.
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here she comes. here comes the world's best daddy. i remember making it to 2001 and thinking, i think we're okay. they must not have the evidence against him. it's been a whole year, and they still haven't arrested him. they must not have a case. >> we were conducting an
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exhaustive investigation during that same time frame, mark winger was a free man. he was still working for the department of nuclear safety and had three more children of their own. >> you know, they have this really nice house out in the country. everything looks very idyllic. >> i want to blow a kiss for daddy. >> you want to blow a kiss for daddy? blow daddy a kiss. aw. >> while the police are closing in, we see home videos where mark just looks like a normal suburban father raising four kids. >> people still wanted to give mark the benefit of the doubt because he now had a new wife and a new family and had shown no indication of being a criminal since his wife was murdered. and these were just allegations. they weren't anything that had been proven in court yet. >> we knew the stakes of this case. this was a big case, and it was one that on the front end, some mistakes had been made. so we knew that on the second go around, we had to have it right.
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>> as the investigation continued, my partner and i started to conduct surveillance on mark winger's home. >> i remember walking bailey to the end of the driveway to put her on the bus, and we saw a police car near the cornfield. and we just thought it was odd. >> when mark winger left that day, instead of turning right to go towards work, he turns left. towards me. i put the car in drive and started heading to town. well, mark turned around and started following me. and i, of course, call my supervisor and say, this has just taken a turn for the surreal. >> mark ended up following that police car and seeing who it was. and he confronted that police officer.
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>> he said something to the effect of, leave me and my family alone. don't bother me. and i said, i won't follow you anymore. >> and mark went on to work. and then, at that time, the grand jury was meeting. >> the grand jury was out for a very short period of time deliberating on the case, and they indicted him for the murder of roger harrington and donnah winger. and once the indictment was returned, a warrant was issued for his arrest. >> we weren't sure if mark was going to fight back or if he was going to run or what. >> we had every belief that he was at his work. as we make entry, i yelled, mark winger, springfield police here. where are you at? and he said something in a low voice, like, oh, i'm in here. and we ordered him out.
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>> "the journal register" received a tip that mark was going to be arrested. and we sent a photographer and a reporter out there to actually record the arrest. >> i had made plans to go to mcdonald's playland. and i got a phone call. and it was mark's secretary. and she told me that mark had just been arrested. i mean, i just was sick. like, my whole body just kind of went numb. and i just couldn't believe it. and physically just gathering my stuff and getting these kids in the car seats, and i was shaking so badly. and i just remember feeling so scared. i just didn't feel like anybody really cared about the kids and i, because we were a part of him. >> you look at rebecca, this young woman who stepped in, built an entire life around this
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man and this family, and then all of a sudden mark gets arrested and this whole life is just blown up. >> i didn't feel relief the day that mark got arrested. i still wanted to believe he was innocent. >> to see him finally get arrested and indicted, i think people were just absolutely shocked. >> i was 6 years old when my dad was arrested. it was -- it was really scary just coming home, and then now your dad's not here. and i just remember, like, everyone just trying to remain calm and kind of, at the time, be like, dad's just going away for a while and that he'll be back soon. >> the moment he was indicted, we moved from the investigative phase into the next chapter, which was prosecution. >> all i wanted was for my brother-in-law to look at me and
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come experience the grand opening of floor and decor's newest location in pleasant hill! our expansive store is fully equipped with safe distancing guides, so you can browse our wide aisles and be amazed with our even wider selection. or easily order online, and pick up all the products you need for your flooring project curbside! so come discover the perfect floor at the perfect price in whatever way is perfect for you. floor and decor, now open in pleasant hill for safe in-store shopping and curbside pickup. also open in milpitas, burlingame and san leandro.
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bailey is resting very comfortably in herad bailey is resting very comfortably in her daddy's arms. >> bailey, i remember the very first time i ever held you in my arms. you were so small, but i fell in love with you immediately, baby, and my love for you has never stopped growing. after dad was arrested he was always writing us letters. so something that i was always really, really excited about to get in the mail. he would always, like, draw the circle at the end of his letter. and then, he would kiss it, and then, we would kiss it. and it was like he was giving us a kiss. >> i felt that i owed it to him and to my kids to just stand by him. nobody wants to go through a
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murder trial. it's very surreal. i just had to tell myself, "walk, sit down, don't fall, don't cry." >> mark would come in on the left-hand door right next to me. >> he walked in like he owned the place. and i thought to myself, how could he be so confident and so cocky? >> in my mind, mark was innocent before. he was innocent from the start. that's what everybody thought. >> the first time i saw rebecca was at the trial. i wanted to love rebecca. she adored bailey, but, you know, i also wanted to hate rebecca, because rebecca took my sister's husband, married him, adopted her child, and then had >> keep going, keep going.
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>> and then had three more children that my sister wasn't able to do. >> winger said he found harrington beating his wife with a hammer and to save her he shot harrington twice in the head. >> well, i don't think roger would have ever done what they accused him of doing. all we wanted was his name was cleared, you know? >> so one of the keys for the prosecution was to prove that roger had come to the house for a meeting and not to commit murder. >> walking through the entry hallway. so what did they have? they had the cigarettes. they had his coffee mug. why would somebody bring a mug to commit a crime of murder? the way he parked. they had the weapons that were still in the car. this is sort of huge. in roger's car was this note in his handwriting saying mark winger, the address and the time, in other words when this meeting was going to take place. >> and for us, it was very simple -- if it's a meeting, it's a murder.
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>> mark's attorney argued that roger was mentally ill. he had this mask that he sort of worshiped, that he had had other erratic behavior, and that he was capable of this. they put on their own experts to verify this. >> mark's defense was that everything occurred just the way he said, and the polaroids, he tried to explain away -- that perhaps the paramedics moved the bodies. >> it is physically impossible, where roger harrington was and where my sister was, to believe mark's story. >> there was no way that roger would have fallen off donnah in the fashion that mark said that. and so, from then, my mind was really racing. >> here we are at the ceremony >> the story wasn't what he said
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it was. >> it's our belief that roger comes to the house, he is allowed into the home. there was no signs of forced entry, and he was executed at that time. hearing the gunshot, donnah winger then comes from the bedroom to investigate. he then beats his wife to death with a hammer. mark then calls 911. >> is the man still in your house? >> yes, he's laying there on the floor with a bullet in his head. >> did you shoot him? >> yes, i shot him! he was killing my wife! >> the 911 call to most people, i think, showed that mark was very upset and very worried about his wife. >> who is this man? >> i don't -- i don't know who he is. >> in the 911 call, you can
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actually hear roger harrington moaning in the background. >> is he dead? >> i don't know. he's making weird sounds. >> it's our belief that roger is not dead at the time. >> he told the 911 operator that he could hear his baby crying. >> my baby's crying. my baby's crying. i got to go. i'll call you right back. >> your baby is crying, so you hang up on 911? i've listened pretty closely to that tape. did you hear a baby crying? i heard a man moaning. he realized that maybe he'd called 911 too soon, maybe he had to make sure that roger was silenced. >> he had already said that he had shot the man and there was a bullet in his head. when police arrive, there's two bullets in his head.
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>> trials never go the way we expect. that's part of being in a trial. but everybody was hotly anticipating deann's testimony. >> when deann got up to testify, her voice was shaking. she just didn't seem together whatsoever. >> he said that, you know, it would be easier if donnah just died. i thought it was crazy talk. >> deann testified to some of the statements that mark had made after the chance meeting at doctor's hospital where they run into each other. >> i just said, you know, how do you live with yourself? he said that he had found jesus christ and that he was forgiven. he -- well, he told me that if i told anybody our gooses will be cooked. >> i didn't think that anybody would believe her. and i just thought if that was truly the case, and mark truly
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did that, she would have come forward right away. >> the defense had answers to deann's testimony, that she was emotionally unstable, could have been a woman scorned. >> deann schultz's testimony was able to demonstrate that, in reality, mark was obviously unhappy, who was unfaithful, and had specifically talked about wanting to kill his wife. >> do i think that deann schultz is partly responsible? absolutely. >> the guilt that i'm sure she lives with every single day is worse than sitting in a jail cell. >> deann schultz was granted immunity for her testimony. there was no direct evidence that linked deann to actively participating in this crime. but at the end, she was such a valuable witness as it relates to presenting the motive. >> when the case went to the jury, i was sort of thinking, you never know. you just had to wait it out, and you know, this was really nerve racking.
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>> i really believed that at the end of that trial that he was going to walk out and walk home with us. >> when i heard the judge read the verdict, it was like insanity. open talenti and raise the jar. to gelato made from scratch. raise the jar to all five layers. raise the jar to the best gelato... you've ever tasted. talenti. raise the jar. ♪ you've ever tasted.
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when we found out that the jury had come up with a verdict, our hearts were racing, we had pits in our stomach. >> i know i was sitting next to my husband when i heard the judge say that the verdict was guilty. >> i mean, it's just one word, but what a word that is. it just kind of rings in your head and echoes. guilty, guilty, guilty. i wanted the -- the earth to open up and swallow me. >> it is so devastating. it was surreal, and it was almost -- it was like insanity, because i know i'm innocent. >> mark turned in his chair, and rebecca was sitting right next to him, and said, "i love you." >> i know rebecca couldn't believe it. and she was still defensive even though she was devastated by the verdict. >> i didn't understand how
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12 jurors could be so certain that that's how it went down when i had so many questions. >> my daughters were with me. and the three of us just embraced and cried. >> i instinctively just wailed out loud. when you find out that somebody is now going to be held accountable for the brutal death of your sister, you wail. >> heartbreak came first. anger came second. acceptance came third. and sadness never ends. >> my first thought was to turn
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around and give mr. and mrs. harrington a hug, because they buried a son who the whole city of springfield felt was a murderer. >> we knew that roger was innocent. and it finally got proven. he was branded a murderer at the time, but then all this came to an end. >> i was ashamed of the way the investigation went. i hurt roger harrington's family. i run this kid through -- his name through hell for no reason. i mean, he was an innocent victim. >> i knew that finally my brother could rest in peace, donnah could rest in peace. they got him. >> the police department had too hastily closed the case and turned a blind eye to some red flags. and to right such a wrong, it -- it felt great. >> say bye-bye. >> bye, daddy.
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>> we were so convinced that, you know, our dad was going to come home. and now, he's not. and it was kind of difficult to put those pieces together in your head of, you know, now it's just us and mom. >> if you think about it, you really can't have light without shadow. i think the mark winger case is kind of proof of that. we see a loving father, so we see, but underneath that, what is he really thinking? we can't ever know. >> i think mark was a master manipulator. so much so that donnah never even saw it. >> he is like a chameleon, that he appears to be sweet and kind and wonderful, when in reality, i believe that mark is a monster. >> if i didn't love donnah, i
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would have just gotten a divorce. you don't murder somebody because you're unhappy being in that relationship. >> i think mark believed that he was smarter than everybody else, that he could get away with it. >> he changed the lives of everybody by one selfish action. >> when we lose someone, we gather. we have a funeral. but when someone goes to prison, well, what do you do? you can't really, um, have closure with that. >> the final chapter of the mark winger murder trial comes to a close as winger is given his sentencing. >> mark was sentenced to life in prison with no parole. he had two counts against him. one for donnah, one for roger. >> it wasn't just him being
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sentenced to life. we were sentenced to a life of a father in prison. >> those children that mark was raising were going to be without their father. there's a consequence to those children that they certainly don't deserve. but at the end, justice has to matter, and mark winger is where he belongs. >> i really missed him. and it was really hard seeing all the other kids, like, have their dads and that relationship. and now, suddenly, i couldn't just, like, go to my dad's room or have him pick us up from school or anything like that. >> i do feel that that whole time, mark was giving a grand performance. i could never come back and say, oh, he got angry at me or he was rough with the kids. i had nothing. i had nothing. he was perfect. >> i love you. >> do you love mommy?
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>> yeah. >> okay, let me see kiss. closeup kiss. give daddy kiss. say i love you. >> can i have a hug? that's a kiss. can i have a hug? >> the first thing i thought when i was watching that is how much more, bailey, this has affected you, and you just remember so much more about mark and that family unit and that house. >> looking at the pictures and the videos, it's -- everything all just feels so fake to me. i find myself, like, analyzing every single thing he does and every move he makes. and like, trying to figure out, was he my dad or was he just, like, this guy who used us for pity or whatever he needed to maintain his innocence? >> i was 1 when my dad went to prison. i can look at the pictures and look at myself and say, that kid had no idea what -- you know, he
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was way too young to know anything that was going on. >> i just learn him as this evil character, so even though it looks like a genuine smile here, it's just like -- in my head it's like, it's all fiction. >> mark winger's been sentenced to prison. and just when you think this is all over -- a reunion no one saw coming. if you're 55 and up, t- mobile has plans built just for you. switch today and get 2 lines of unlimited and 2 free smartphones. plus you'll now get netflix on us. all this for up to 50% off vs. verizon. it's all included.
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no tp? so what happened? well... we started buying charmin super mega roll. charmin super mega roll is 6 rolls in 1 and lasts so much longer. enjoy the go with charmin. guaranteed to fit or your money back. gold by andreya triana we believe in good we can all afford ♪ sing it, yeah, yeah ♪ from coffee that opens more eyes to black business. ♪ all gold to me ♪ to a hundred shades of beautiful. ♪ yeah, good to me ♪ about three years later, mark would get in trouble again mark would get in trouble again for a murder-for-hire plot where
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he wanted to put a hit on deann schultz and also a childhood friend who refused to pay his bail. >> the murder-for-hire plot, which he wrote in a 19-page scenario, he said that was just his fantasy. >> i can certainly say that i've fantasized about people coming forward and confessing that they lied. now, killing, i -- i think that's a little farfetched. >> mark was subsequently tried again and convicted of solicitation of murder for hire. >> mark was sentenced to an additional 35 years in prison for those crimes. >> i was married to a murderer. then after he was convicted, i went from being a stay-home mom to being homeless overnight. our home was foreclosed. you file bankruptcy.
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you don't have good credit. you know, you have to find a job. and it is hard. >> mommy, this is the best present we've ever gotten. >> i didn't have anything to give my kids. everything had been taken away. all i had was love. do you remember when we changed your names from winger to simic? >> i do. you're describing your lineage through, like, the positive parts. so i think, yeah, it gave us a lot of pride as a family. >> when we changed our name, it was just a fresh start. >> it's so symbolic. like, i'm not a winger, so that shouldn't be the name i'm called. >> they could go their whole lives and never reach out to me and i will still love them and pray for them every night. >> rebecca felt that it might be helpful for bailey to come meet
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us, that it was time. >> i think the last time they saw bailey was when she was 3 maybe. i thought they could teach her about donnah and her love in a way that i couldn't. >> and we went down on memorial day weekend to meet them and kind of revive that relationship that we had. >> i couldn't wait to wrap bailey in my arms and give her these big, gigantic hugs and butterfly kisses that my sister loved to give. >> we knew that this would have been donnah's wish, that bailey would continue to be a part of our lives and that we would look after her baby. >> it was so incredible to see that there's this whole big family that loves me. and sara jane still has my baby picture on her kitchen counter
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with all of her other grandkids. you still consider me and love me as one of your grandchildren, even though we've been gone for so long. >> it was also bailey's birthday that weekend, and they wanted to throw a birthday party for bailey for all the birthdays that they had missed. >> she was so surprised when we brought that cake out to her. >> it was exciting. i really anticipated we would always be able to share birthdays together. >> we'd been hurt a lot by the same person, but it didn't break us. >> there's not a day that goes by that i don't -- i think about him. i miss him. if i seen him right now, i would just tell him, though, you know, i truly love you.
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>> there is never closure when somebody murders your daughter, never. i think of donnah every day of my life. we've set up a fund in her name so that we can help other people. donnah's fund is a part of women in distress, a shelter women can go to to escape those abusive relationships. i think her legacy will live on through the people that we help and through the beautiful memories that we have of her. >> doesn't she look pretty? >> she sure does. >> hi, bailey. say hi, grandma sara. >> she was so beautiful, and you could, like, see how much she loved me and how much she really wanted me. >> so, we'll say bye-bye for now.
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>> okay. catch you guys later. >> i miss hearing her voice. nothing that we've done or will do in the future will ever replace her. >> and we should note that donnah's family hopes to celebrate many more bof bailey' birthdays. mark winger is appealing his murder for hire conviction. >> rebecca is collaborating with the big brothers, big sisters to help other children living through the incarceration of a parent. >> that is "20/20" for tonight. i'm david muir. >> i'm amy robach. for all of us here at abc news, good night.
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