tv Dateline MSNBC October 2, 2021 12:00am-2:00am PDT
friday night and for this week, with our thanks for being here with us. have a good weekend unless you have any other plans, on behalf of all of our colleagues at the networks of nbc news, goodnight. news goodnight. >> reporter: this is the most terrifying crime scene i've ever seen. >> the suspect knew the victim. >> she just was the last person who ever should have died like that. >> she loved sailing, friends. >> she was extremely outgoing. >> reporter: a wonderful life that came to a tragic and one warm summer nights. >> i hear a very weird scream. >> reporter: her life had ended but our story was just beginning. her killer hadn't been caught. >> i remember one detective saying to me, you just have to wait until he kills again.
>> reporter: but the trail grew cold, the vile forgotten until decades later, someone dusted it off. >> the whole goal of these cases is to try to see inside. >> reporter: there were clues, a mysterious weapon made of wire, a wedding invitation, a midnight sales to know where. where they announced to catch a killer? >> i was 100% confident that he was our guy. >> reporter: now the showdown. the determined prosecutor against the famed defense lawyer who helps it o.j. free. >> robert you pirro, to give you pause? >> was it finally time for justice? >> -- ice? >> - >> reporter: he was alone in his makeshift workshop. had to be, for what he
intended. carefully he -- two of them, just a few inches each, sanded them down and drilled a hole in each one. and a piece of wire between them. too thin, he doubled it for strength. his perfect weapon for his perfect crime. warm outside in the brilliant sunshine, it was the summer of 1979. aides hadn't happened to us yet, nor the internet, nor cellphones, nor a way to read dna. all those things were still years away. everyone worried about three mile island that summer. the arabian hostage crisis was still months away. and in southern california, in the summer of 79, in the beach town that cling to the coast near l.a., twentysomethings
came from all over to work, play, practice on art as old as human. and as new as last night. mating. >> the area had a ski area, snow skiing, water skiing, volleyball, all sorts of outdoor activities. >> reporter: richard frank was 32 that summer, published an independent community news letter. but on weekends? >> we do bashir ups, guys are trying to meet girls and hit on people. it was a lot of fun. [laughs] >> reporter: one woman in particular caught richards eye. >> we had a thing called snow queen and she was running for snow queen. she didn't win but she was a very outgoing, gregarious almost tomboy kind of person, attractive. >> her name was lynn knight, a neonatal nurse, who like so many here came from somewhere else. in her place, a pretty place
called stratford, not far from toronto, canada. >> she was a beautiful person. >> reporter: this is her sister donna. >> she was jim carrey before jim carrey. she did the goofy stuff, everywhere people would be in stitches. >> reporter: nurses were in great demand in the seventies. lynn could have gone anywhere or stayed close to home, like her sister donna, also a nurse, chose to do. >> i had such difficulty when she was going to go to california. i did not want her to go. i >> reporter: but she did. moved into a tiny studio dip apartment tacked on to someone's garage in torrents. and she signed up with a hospital called little company of mary, where she went to work with the smallest patients of all, the most vulnerable, premature babies. >> those were her babies, she took her job very seriously. she would arrive early, do
double shifts. >> reporter: worked hard and played hard. >> she would work midnight shift, then sleep for three or four hours, and then she begun and scuba diving, marathon running, you name it. lynn was the most incredible tomboy ever. [laughs] i >> reporter: one more thing, she loved the company of men. many of them, perhaps most, were just friends, some more than that. >> a number of them were ball players or skiers or whatever so she had a lot of male friends. because she was competitive in racquetball. >> so they were more friends than romantic partners. >> she hung out really with, professionals. [laughs] and good-looking professionals and then of course she met richard frank. >> we hit it off pretty quickly, we dated pretty heavily for couple of months.
>> reporter: could be confusing for richard. not many young women with as many male friends as the crowd that hovered around liz. her sweethearts, as she called them. >> one of the things was trying to find out where i fit in her life. >> reporter: but with richard, i it was romance, was she perhaps a little too intense? which are the perhaps she was. >> it was too much in the beginning. even her sister said that. >> so she was going a little too fast, is that it? >> yeah, yeah. >> but love has a way of circling back, by the end of that summer of 1979, they ran into each other again. on a waterskiing trip. >> i saw her and we started talking. and we decided, you know, okay, let's go out. and for me, it was like, is this the one that got away? >> reporter: it was august 29th,
a warm summer evening outside lynn's little studio apartment outside in the avenue. lynn was cooking chinese food. she had company, a male friend who had come for dinner, a male friend who is not richard frank. no, this was an ex-boyfriend names joe giarrusso. after dinner, lynn and joe drink some wine, talked about what, we cannot know. and at 11:30 pm or so, he left, and lynn went to bed. early shift at the hospital. wednesday ticked into thursday, the silence. that's when the neighbors heard it, a high pitched scream. and it came from lynn knights little apartment. coming up -- >> my whole world crashed in. >> reporter: 35 years later,
the scene in that apartment would lead a hardened homicide detective in tears. >> you'll have to excuse me. >> reporter: when dateline continues. continues. [ gasps ] sweet! everyone can play and anyone can win. i asked some of my friends to join in too. doja cat! what are you doing? working on my victory dance... for when i win. divine! swipe your way to victory and a year's supply of candy crush gold is yours. delicious! come and get it america. may the best crusher win! join the all stars tournament in candy crush today! oop, someone's not doing their job. okay, let's keep going. shopping for the game can be a minefield for young homeowners who have turned into their parents. can you believe how many different types of water they have in this aisle? kim, did you just change blades back there? -ah. -this is perfect. jackpot. variety pack. remember, it's a football game, not a play date. roger that. one more slice. it can be a lot.
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was quiet, and lynn knight was dead, lying on her bed in a pool of blood. he detective emiliano perez had never seen anything like it. >> bloody, i can't find other words to describe it other than horrific. >> reporter: so horrific, said lead detective gary hilton, that even now, talking about it, 35 years later, is difficult. >> you'll have to excuse me. >> yeah. >> out of all the ones i worked with, it was toughest. >> reporter: no wonder, the victim had been stabbed more than a dozen times. >> -- >> rage, the desire to see this particular individual dead. >> good and dead. >> good and dead. there >> reporter: was another
set of wounds that the detectives couldn't figure out, deep cuts on her neck, which may have explained a horrifying sound. >> reporter: how would you describe that screaming? >> a squeal. allowed squeal. >> reporter: after he heard that, said a neighbor, he caught a glimpse of the man who may have been the killer. a slender young man with dark, curly hair. not much to go by. >> he looked at the back of the suspect as he ran down the driveway, into the street. >> carrying something? >> a small satchel. >> reporter: there couldn't have been much inside that black bag, because it was taken from lynn's apartment. only her wallet, keys and one particular piece of jewelry. >> she had a necklace on, a pendant. at the scene we found a broken clasp. >> but no chain? >> no chain.
>> reporter: but the killer left something of his own behind, something detectives didn't notice. until the coroner moved ellen's body. >> it appeared to be a homemade device used to strangle the victim. it was cut off portions of what appeared to be a broom, a mob handle. and a piece of wire. i'm >> going between the two? >> yes. >> so there was some planning involved? >> a great deal of planning. it's a homemade garage. >> ago rots? >> detective gary hilton had not seen one of those since he served in vietnam. and certainly not at the crime scene. but now he understood why lynn's neck was cut so deeply. >> did he actually put it around her neck? >> yes. >> reporter: overkill, and that would be an understatement. >> now for what was most
difficult, making the phone call to lynn's family, a little stratford, ontario. a family which, until that moment, had assume that their precocious daughter was perfectly safe, saving babies in los angeles. >> reporter: what donna was just getting offer shift in toronto. >> i got a call from my brother in law, he was gulping for air, and yelping practically out of his skin. he said that one, i hate to have to tell you, but lynne knight has been stabbed to death. and it was like ... it was such a sad day. >> it's not something you would expect to hear, no matter what. >> it was like my whole world crashed in and that was it. it was completely life altering. my life has never, ever been the same since.
>> reporter: donna was 26, only recently out of nursing school. 35 years later, the pain lingers. >> how do you take a thing like that in? >> you don't, it's totally out of body. you go into shock. it's completely shocked. it's like, also, a great big hole in your chest. >> reporter: who would have done such a thing? to lynne, the kind and compassionate nurse? not an enemy in the world? but then, before dawn, a concrete lead. police saw someone suspicious running in lynne neighborhood, the same guy the neighbor saw? >> the suspect was seen in this location, carrying a black bag. they picked him up, and by the look of it, blood, literally, on his hands. coming up -- a clue found in the strangest place. >> i saw this wedding
invitation that was crumpled up in the trash. >> reporter: when "dateline" continues. continues. kidney alert for type 2 diabetes! forty percent of people with type 2 diabetes will develop chronic kidney disease, or ckd. did you know ckd can lead to kidney failure and dialysis? kidney alert! ckd often has no symptoms until it's too late! help protect your kidneys. call your doctor for a uacr test. it shows one of the earliest signs for ckd. visit kidneyalert.com!
>> the patrol unit detained and arrested an individual who is acting strangely nearby. >> it looked like he had blood on him? >> he did. >> his name was girardeau juarez and he appeared to match the description of the man running away from lanes apartment. they had to finish processing the crime scene at lindsey parliament, however. >> i saw these blood smears in the house that looked like it was caused by gloves. >> and there was no dna of course? >> back then we didn't have dna. all the blood we found was consistent with the victim. >> reporter: remember, this was 1979, before the advent of dna. fingerprints where the gold standard then. but the others could not be traced back to the murder. and that apparent murder weapon? the garrote?
it was clean. so there was planning. a lot of it. and talent. but burglary? only small personal items were taken. but detectives capt. emilio paerels and gary hilton were certainly it could mean one thing. >> the suspect knew the victim. she had been targeted, because the location was quite removed from the street, not a place where there were passers by. someone would have to know to go back there and how to reach the door. >> reporter: so the detectives went back to the torrance to talk to the suspect gerardo juarez. he insisted he didn't know lynne and had never even seen. her and no reason to kill her. >> reporter: a search of his home turned about nothing. and the blood on his hands? >> it proved not to be blood. >> what was it? >> it could be paint, dirt, mud. we couldn't tie him to the
crime scene. >> reporter: so much for that, gerardo juarez was released and for the moment at least, there were no. a few days after the murder, a small funeral was held in stratford, ontario. they were planning to have a wedding. donna's wedding. lynn was supposed to be alive, as down as maid of honor. >> they dressed her in her maid of honor dress. i remember feeling such anger! at the man that did that to my sister. in my parents. watching ... my parents grieve. what have been done to my baby? >> reporter: the corners report answered some questions. i'm not saucy determined that the garrote did not kill in. she died of stab wounds. the report revealed something else. traces of two semen samples.
again, dna testing was not available back then. so they could not attach identities to the semen samples. >> so he began to talk to -- >> that's where we started the circle of friends, acquaintances, her job. and he won that knew her. >> reporter: including all her current and former boyfriends. racquetball partners, ski buddies, work partners. >> we had the time to develop some background on all the players, so that we would have some idea what questions to ask. >> anyone of whom could have been the. one >> anyone. >> reporter: mind you, which are frank had already call the police to offer his help and was pretty quickly eliminated. he had an alibi. but how about that old flame, joe giarrusso? he was without a doubt in lindsey part majesty hours before he she was killed. the neighbors had seen him they are eating dinner. joe told the detectives that
lynne was fine when he left. >> did it make you think that he might be a suspect? >> oh yeah. he was something we had to invest immediately. >> reporter: so they brought joe in for questioning. he seemed forthcoming. and if he wasn't deeply upset, he was putting on a good act. still, the detectives noticed something strange on his fingers. several cuts. he insisted they happened at work, in a lab where he dropped a test tube. he would never hurt lynn, he told them. had no reason for jealous rage. >> he was in a relationship with another woman and we still visiting our victim. and apparently were friends. >> reporter: by the timeline was murdered, said joe, he was in bed with his girlfriend. what to make of the story? until his alibi could be checked out, joe giarrusso remain the only possible suspect. by this time, the investigation
had been underway for almost two weeks, the knight flu to l.a. to collect her belongings. they collected her mementos, even her financial records. it said a lot about lynn. >> this woman her bank was all of $18. because she paid for scuba dive english shuns and you name it, she just did it, she was packing in every activity she could possibly pack in. so she really lived a lot in those 20 years. >> reporter: but there was one thing donna didn't find. something quite special to both sisters. the invitation to her upcoming wedding. and then detective hilton remembered, he spotted it, in a wastebasket. although he didn't collected as evidence. >> i saw this wedding invitation. it was crumpled up. >> didn't seem like a big deal at the time? >> no, just a wedding
invitation. had her name on it and it was crumpled up in the trash. >> that's when we went, came wouldn't do that. my grandparents picture was right there, their wedding pictures. so we knew something wasn't right. and also, if it was crumpled up, who else would have the motive to crumple it up? someone who is ticked off that they weren't coming to this wedding. >> reporter: ticked off enough to actually kill lynne? who was it left off the gas list? coming up, an old boyfriend tells a startling story. was it also a valuable clue? >> it's almost surreal knowing the incident happened and maybe after the crime. >> when "dateline" continues. "dateline" continues
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his sister don's wedding. no way now. >> we had to cancel the wedding. and it was just so horrible. a wedding is supposed to be a happy time. and -- >> nothing happy about those days. >> nope. >> reporter: but the wedding did offer an odd clue of sorts. lynn's invitation, which had been found crumpled up in her wastebasket. >> the question was? would she have rankled it up and thrown it in the trash? or did the suspect do it. >> reporter: the detectives killers -- were the detectives were convinced that they knew limb and hated her, the killer. >> who would slaughter someone, to that degree, if they didn't have a motive. a hatred? something. >> reporter: two weeks into the
investigation, the only potential suspect was joe giarrusso, with her hours before he died. he had cuts on his fingers. and then the detectives discovered something else. >> he had a physical onto occasion with lynne at some point? >> there was a situation where she was beaten up. >> reporter: they brought joe back in, grilled him again. he swore it wasn't a beating it all, i slap during an argument. afterward, he and limb remain close friends. besides, said joe and his girlfriend, they were in bed together when the murder happened. they volunteered to take a polygraph. and -- >> they both passed. >> soon after that, joe giarrusso who didn't look anything like the man the neighbor saw, was eliminated as a suspect. in fact, one by one just about all of those male friends came up clean. and seem to want to do whatever
they could to help find her killer. >> they all had good things to say. that was unusual. to talk to 12 men who dated her or knew her and nobody had a bad word. >> reporter: that of course included her athletic knew beau we should frank, who had rekindled his romance with lynne a week before the murder. >> it's devastating, almost surreal, knowing that the incident happened and maybe a related somehow to the crime. >> reporter: the incident? which are told police about an encounter they had at her apartment. a guy she won stated stopped by to drop off a lamp. >> he's had words to the effect of, excuse me, thank you, and he left. >> reporter: but minutes later, he was back. >> he comes in and starts yelling at her, calls her a
bleep, and took the lamp and threw it over our heads. and it was pretty violent with all of this. and then left. you could hear the tire squeal. >> what was that all about? >> she explained that it's somebody she was trying to cut it off with. >> reporter: i lynne told richard that the guy's name was dog. they had dated a few months but just before richard came, she broke it off. doug didn't take it so well. >> that particular night, do you remember her reaction? then >> she was scared. >> was a scary to you too? >> i was concerned, concern for lynn. >> reporter: in the days that followed, the incident seem to be forgotten. >> she had this calming way of taking big things and making small things out of them. she was in control. later on, she explained that she calmed him down on the phone a couple of times. >> after that incident?
>> yeah. and she thought it was kind of taken care of. >> reporter: detectives were intrigued. they found lynn's address book in her purse. only one dog. doug bradford. they asked don about him and she vaguely remembered something lynn mentioned in the letter. >> saying that dog was no longer coming to the wedding. >> okay. >> and he was on the backburner. i put it out of my mind because i had all this wedding to organize. i knew -- obviously, he didn't like her fire too much. >> reporter: this was the first bit of heat on a cold trail. they gave dug a call. he lived with his parents. he sounded shy but agreed to meet at the house. where, it turned out, doug bradford had a lot to say. coming up -- what's the kind of tricks cops always use in a movie. >> they are not going to tell
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engineering student named doug bradford lived with his parents. >> he seemed somewhat meek. somewhat softspoken. kind of a neat nick. sort of a guy. >> nerdy kind of character? >> you could say that. an engineering type of person. >> nothing about doug bradford made him look or sound like a potential suspect. he was clearly a smart and pretty civilized guy. but the only cool thing about douglas's car, a bright orange to wait easy, to lost four back in 1979. according to richard frank, this same dug head engage in a very uncivilized tantrum in lands apartment. so it was a guy they had to look at. besides, lynne was something of a big deal in doug's life. >> she had spent easter at his home with his family. they were fairly close. the fact that he would have
introduced lynne to his family somewhat telling. >> this is a serious relationship. i >> think he wanted it to be. >> reporter: lynne to apparently. why else would she have invited him to tag along to her sister's wedding in canada? so, knowing that much. back on the freeway again, something else you need to go. gary hilton's mind was oddly creative, sometimes in ways that other cops didn't quite get. hilton hadn't got much news coverage and hatched a plan on the way to the interview. >> we are not going to tell him that she's dead. and that we were there investigating a missing person. >> reporter: just a funny chat about a missing woman, a missing ex girlfriend. if he was involved, how would you react? give something away? >> there was no giving of miranda rights, he was in his
home home, voluntarily cooperating. he could've stopped the interview with any time but he opted not to do that. he opted to speak and he did. >> reporter: so, the detectives, what did they do? >> we'd go out to dinner quite a bit. we went flying, took her sailing. we went skiing, locally here. go out and go dancing. >> reporter: as for the relationship, it was exclusive, said dug, more or less. >> did she go out with other men? >> well not to the best of my knowledge. at least when i was dating her. she used to kid me about and say no, you don't have to have anything to worry about. but yeah, i guess you might have gone out with salmon. >> reporter: with lynne it was just fun, said doug, active, lots of laughs. but he never did consider lynne to be the love of his life.
sure enough, he said, she wasn't. >> could you say which one of the two of you was more decisive about breaking off the relationship? >> i think that lynne was more decisive, i was just going along with it. and i kind of saw that the relationship was gonna come to an end. that became very obvious out in palm springs, one weekend a few months into the relationship, said doug. just didn't the seem to be clicking anymore. >> and she said we should go our own ways. and that was it. >> that was the last time he saw her? >> yes. >> reporter: but wait. unless richard frank was lying. doug showed up at lindsey place the next day to return a lamp, sault richard, and threw into a rage, throwing the lamp across the room. when about that, they asked
doug? there was no rage at all, he said. disappointment maybe. >> i don't know if i was really mad. i was more upset about it. she was more jumping from one relationship to the next. so i left. that's the last i seen of her. and then doug said something kind of strange. remember, detective hilton had decided not to tell him that she was dead, rather that she was missing. listen to this. >> i don't have any reason to see her again, i don't want to see her again. you know, she's just something dead and something i want to put out of my mind. >> reporter: she's dead? why would she say that? the detectives follow-up, worried that he may climb up. -- i >> reporter: unfortunate surprise. >> the tape recorder started
making some strange sounds. >> oh boy. >> when it failed we had to stop. [noise] >> reporter: so they waited a few days, did some research on doug bradford. discovered he like to play jazz on the piano, was an expert sailor, in addition to his engineering studies. he like to make things. he was accomplished. donna, however, didn't like him much. lot a good fit for lynn. i >> can see why she would not have gone out with bradford, it was not her usual type, it was a rebound relationship. >> reporter: what matters now is doug's alibi, if he had one. so detectives drove down to coastal mesa again, worried he would refuse to see that more demand a liar. but he didn't. instead, doug bradford told the mystery of his own, which put him miles and miles from the murder of lynne knight.
presence. >> -- well, actually, i didn't give it to her. i helped her buy it. she picked it out. >> reporter: that caught the cops attention, i'm necklace which happened to be the one piece of jewelry that happened to be missing from the apartment. pendant and class for connected but no chain. interesting. but now the real reason they were here, to find out where doug was the night that lynne was murdered. >> last week, on wednesday night, we were? you >> always hear most of the evening. and i went up to long beach for a little bit. i went sailing and i came back, right back here, a little before three. one >> reporter: sailing in the wee hours of the morning in the dark? alone? on the pacific ocean? odd, maybe, but after all dug belong to a local sailing club. so he had access to a sailboat
anytime he wanted one. that night, said doug, he took out a 30 foot slew, a special type of racing boat known as a shield. >> did you go sailing that night? >> i started off under the sale but i ended up coming up underpowered a battle power. >> there was no auxiliary power? and i got there without any wind. >> and then you arrived back what time? >> by the time i got the boat put away, it could have been 1:30, 2:00. >> reporter: right around the timeline was murdered. >> you didn't get much sleep that night? >> no, i was sore in my shoulders, everything, from paddling. it was quite a night. >> this going out by himself, with no motor, right? >> no motor. no auxiliary power, as he put it. >> reporter: mind you, doug was an expert skipper, said he knew how to paddle the shield. but the detectives didn't like
it, to perfect, too weird alibi. >> it didn't make sense to me then doesn't make sense to me now. >> reporter: so they paid a visit to the boat club were dug claim to have set sail that night. >> we obtained one of the record showing he had signed out for the boat. when >> reporter: they asked another skipper, was a shield a boat that a skipper could handle alone? >> oh yeah, he could. that was his comment. oh yeah, you could see all this by yourself. i >> reporter: so that was the alibi. dogs claim that he sailed alone that night and a mark in a pencil book. >> he never had anyone see him take the boat out? >> no, he said he was the only one. there >> reporter: no one saw dug sailing. but there were reports he was seen driving in front of linda parton just days before the murder.
that was interesting. because remember, dog told detectives he cut off all contact with lynn after their breakup. so they checked with lynn's neighbors and showed them the photo of doug. and his car. and -- >> i got a witness to identify mr. bradford as the person who had been seen driving back and forth in front of a residence, looking up the driveway. >> he would leave her alone? >> he wouldn't leave her alone. as a matter of fact, he stopped. her >> stalked her? >> yes, before the murder. >> reporter: which might explain, said her sister donna, why lynne stayed with a number of male friends for several nights before the murder. >> i know at the last week of her life, it looks like she slept with a lot of men. and that's not true. when i look at the pattern, my sister was afraid. she was scared. what >> reporter: so maybe dogs
would 280z yield a clue. they got a warrant. >> it was clean as a whistle. >> no evidence at all? >> none we were able to recover. there was no blood found, no sign of anything. >> and whoever attacked her would have been covered with blood? >> you would conclude that, yes. >> reporter: but the cops couldn't help but notice the smell in that one 280z. >> when we opened it up, it was an overwhelming smell of armor all. >> it had just been cleaned? >> it was a clean car. >> reporter: after that there was no talking to doug bradford anymore. >> i received a phone call from an attorney, said he was representing doug bradford. and told me, don't do anything with regard to my client unless you call me first. >> it seems pretty clear you are after him. >> he was number one, as i put it. >> reporter: so the detectives
took their case to the da, with a request to charge doug bradford with murder. but -- >> all the district attorney said there just wasn't enough. >> yeah? >> they needed that, they call it the smoking gun. >> we were sent back and told to do additional investigation and bring it back. >> reporter: which they did, but always the answer was the same. >> that hurt, it hurt. >> well, you couldn't put that guy on that room on that night. >> true, it was heavily circumstantial. >> reporter: it wasn't just the detectives who were disappointed. donna was convinced that doug bradford killed her sister. but she wasn't holding her breath for justice to be done. >> i said to my mom, there is not going to be under arrest for 20, 25 years or more. i just know it mom. get used to it, it's not going to happen. >> reporter: she was certainly right about that. after three years, in 1982, the
investigation into the murder of lynne knight which classified as inactive. a nice way of saying it was over. and no one saw the tantalizing clue hiding in plain sight. it's a terrible thing when a murder goes unsolved. justice undone. especially a murder as vicious and intentional as what happened to lynne knight in her tiny torrance apartment in the summer of 1979. lynne's family up in canada could scarcely stand. it >> every time you think about it, you shudder, and it's like niagara falls. you are at the bottom. and it's all coming at you. a terrible, horrible, horrible experience. she just was the last person who should have ever died like that.
[noise] >> reporter: as the eighties rolled out their own catalog of horrors, drugs, urban decay, crime, donna fought to keep her memory of her sister from sinking under the troubles. she wrote letters, lots of them. and you listed lynn to help. i got that nice picture of lynn. >> i posted it here and said, sell yourself lynn. here goes, i'm going to send. it >> reporter: you sent them where? >> the governor, the fbi. >> you even wrote to who, ronald reagan? >> yes, i had to go to key decision makers. >> reporter: but she was shouting in the wind. detectives hilton and capt. emilio paerels retired, not happy about what they left behind. >> this woman weighed on me for quite a long time. in the back of your head. you don't want to leave a homicide case undone. that's just, just wrong.
i >> reporter: lead detective gary hilton second guessed himself endlessly. >> i could have been a little bit more, done a little bit more. i just got to know lynne knight just a little personally. too bad i didn't know her in life. [laughs] i ... >> reporter: occasionally, a new set of detectives we dust off the file, tell donna they were optimistic about tracking it. >> it was just like, oh, here we go again. but i remember one detective saying to me, oh, we just have to wait until he kills again. and i went ... no, no, this is not going to happen. this is not going to happen. there has got to be an answer. >> coming up --
a cold case but not a closed case, thanks to that mysterious weapon found of the crime scene. >> let's just take a look and see. when "dateline" continues. "dateline" continues. -we are here! -for new homeowners, a football game can really bring out the parent in them. it's smart we parked near the exit. -absolutely. -there you go. that way, [whistles] let's put away the parking talk, maybe, for a minute. parking is where the money is, though. can you imagine what this place pulls in on parking alone? alright, no more talking about parking lots. a lot of these are compact spots. it's not pretty. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents,
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how you can add comcast business securityedge. plus for a limited time, ask how to get a $500 prepaid card when you upgrade. call today. again days before her death. he, too, got married, raised a family, owned a successful newspaper business. but occasionally thought about it and what happened. >> i drove by the neighborhood a lot because i worked in that area, so that would be a constant reminder. >> you just wondered. >> yeah. i called the detectives every
once and a while, anything new? >> nearly two decades went by. it was 1997. someone found a little extra money for the torrance police department to open a cold case unit. >> when we first opened this detail, we started looking at about 30 cases. this is one of the very first ones we did. >> that's when detective jim wallace heard about lynne from her sister donna. wallace works crimes with his brain. he is cerebral. what he saw at that file hit at a baser level. >> the cases i worked, this is the most horrific, powerful, terrifying crime scene i've ever seen. there's something about the horror that lynne went through that was evident in the crime scene. the ghost of that scene was still there. >> ghost maybe, but virtually no hard evidence. so wallace went back to the
beginning and took a good look at lynne and the company she kept. wallace reinterviewed all of lynne's surviving boyfriends. >> they were very happy with the kind of relationship they had with lynne. everyone would tell you that. >> except for two, of whom they couldn't know. joe giorusso, the man she invited into her home the last day of her life had since died. then there was doug bradford, the ex-boyfriend who threw the lamp and was seen driving near lynne's apartment in the days before her murder. and had offered the odd alibi about sailing and paddling a 30-foot sleuth in the middle of the night. >> there's always a rational element in these circumstantial cases. anything is possible but not everything is reasonable. is it possible that somebody would go out on a boat at 10:30 at night? absolutely. is that reasonable?
no. >> wallace could see why the initial investigation focused on bradford, but this wouldn't be easy. which he knew was captain. >> the cases i enjoy is little pieces. if i get too big of a piece, it's not as challenging, you know, to work. >> so luin read the file, too, and it looked like joe giorusso could have been the killer. then he listened to the original interviews with bradford. >> she was dead. i wanted to put it out of my hind. >> i was 100% confident that he was our guy. it wasn't just the fact that his statement was so creepy and so incriminating. it was when you mix that with
his alibi, which was absurd. the fact that he was the only person in her life that had motive. >> but proving it, creepy and absorb are not exactly legal terms. his boss, the district attorney, would laugh him out of his office if he didn't come up with something new to connect bradford to the crime. bit by bit, over years, luin, wallace, and his partner worked the case like a big jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. one didn't quite fit. such a brutal crime committed by a dirty engineer? >> one of the big problems i had was when you looked at doug bradford, he looked like a normal, regular guy what could live next door. >> sure. >> this is a guy who builds a weapon to go over to murder and then mutilate someone after they're dead. in my 20 years of doing this, one of the worst scenes i've ever encountered.
>> that weapon, the homemade wire and wood garrote, had been a mute resident in the evidence locker for a long, long time. wallace couldn't stop looking at it. as if it could talk. >> the whole goal of these cases, right, is trying to see what's hiding in plain sight. >> so the killer's garr ro gar made with wooden dowels connected by a thin piece of wire. a double strand. wait, double? >> why would you double it? apparently, you recognize this is so thin, it is probably going to break if it is by itself. why not use thicker wire? that makes sense to me, you're using something that's available to you. it's not ideal, but you happen to have it on hand. i'll just settle for it. >> same with the handles, like the killer cut pieces from a household broom. >> we could see forensically blue specks of paint, almost sanded off but not completely. this is something you're making from available materials.
that gave us the idea. wow, maybe there's available materials or junk that's still lying around. let's take a look and see. >> doug bradford moved out of that house years earlier, but his elderly mother still lived there. >> is it possible that some of the simple building materials you would use to build a garrote might still be tucked away in an old drawer, in the garage? worth a look. >> wallace and his partner ran the idea by. >> could we find the same wire and dowelling? 2007, they served the warrant. >> but really? by then, nearly three decades had passed. so what in the world would they find in this little house in costa mesa? coming up, something old? >> what are the odds of anyone keeping it that long? it looked old.
. some people are just really bad at taking a hint. know the type? won't take no for an answer? by the time the christmas lights went up in torrance, california, end of 2007, lynne knight had been lying in the cold canadian ground for 28 years. her renewed murder investigation had gone in empty circles for a decade. though neither da john lewin nor detective jim wallace seemed capable of giving up on it, they couldn't charge doug bradford with murder based on mere
suspicion. so one last effort, they got a warrant. two warrants, actually. first, wallace and his partner went to pay a surprise visit to doug bradford's current house with a hidden microphone. they asked him about lynne's case. >> i would have guessed that was solved. i hadn't heard anything. >> no. we were wondering if we could have a few moments to see what you remember from back in '79. >> well, i've been advised by counsel not to have any further discussions about that case. >> oh, really? >> which was just the reaction that detectives expected. so they showed him their search warrant and set about poking around. snapped a few pictures of the place, including one of doug sitting and steaming in his living room. they found several firearms, all legal, and in a file cabinet, two articles on polygraph tests. odd. back in '79, doug initially agreed to take one and then changed his mind. >> then right next to that file
was another file that had a brochure on a crossbow. even more disturbing, literally a manual on how to home-make and build a crossbow. >> he didn't make a crossbow. >> i'm confident if i came into your house, i would not find manuals on how to build exotic weapons. >> but there was nothing in doug's house related to the other exotic weapon, the garrote. so what little optimism that detectives brought with them began to evaporate. but they had a second warrant for the very place doug lived when lynne was murdered. his dad has died, but his mother norma lived in the same house all these years later. >> what's the problem? >> an old 1979 murder case that we are revisiting.
>> norma bradford was no slouch. could see this might be trouble for doug. the woman doesn't stop being a mother just because her son is 56. >> he is the straightest, straight-arrow person you ever want to know. >> we knew there might be a number of things she could tell us. she would know about his relationship with lynne. >> now, had you met this nurse? >> yeah. doug brought her in. >> he did? >> now, that was interesting. >> we had two stories, in essence. a story from doug in 1979 that, really, this was not a relationship he cared about. she offered that doug really thought this was a keeper. he thought he had something special here with lynne. he was attracted to her in that way. >> then as they filed that nugget away, they looked around and couldn't help but see the gallery of oil paintings that hung around the house. norma revealed that the artist
was her. she loved to paint. both her late husband and doug took pride in framing and hanging them. >> she had one room that was basically like a small museum of her paintings. >> the paintings, could they hold a clue? wallace turned art collector and decided to take a few of them to the police station. then they went out to norma's garage, all kinds of old stuff lying around. looked like nobody had thrown anything away for quite a while. tucked away in the corner, there they were. >> we found a number of wooden dowels. not all of them were painted. only one was, and it was blue. it was a broom handle. we collected it. >> who would have believed it? almost 30 years later, it seemed pretty obvious that the broom handle used to make the garrote was still there. the broom handle was blue. the garrote handles had been
sanded down, but specks of paint still clung to them. blue paint. >> oh, my gosh. we were so excited. we had expectations. that's why we brought a warrant. but we didn't expect those expectations to be met with the actual wooden dowel that was used to build the -- i mean, what are the odds of anyone keeping it that long? >> sure. >> it looked old. >> there's your case. >> we thought this was going to be a pretty good piece of evidence. the kind of wood it is. the graining even. we were that excited. >> all wallace needed was a testing lab to confirm it, and prosecutor john lewin would finally have the evidence he needed to file the case. >> so we were thinking, okay. you looked at it, it's blue paint. it's a dowel. you know, there's a cut one in the garage. it looked like they were going to be the same. >> lewin was excited but also disturbed by what he saw. when he compared the two dowel samples, he noticed the one from
the garrote had been sanded. the mind gets a chill when you register something like that. >> why would he sand it down? the answer is just horrifying. >> what do you mean? >> the killer made this weapon because he's enjoying the process of, i'm making this weapon that i'm going to use this wrap around her neck and kill her. this is a weapon that someone took time to make and that someone really cared about, i'm going to perfect it. >> but now, here it was, the evidence that could put doug bradford at the crime scene. they sent the samples to a specialized lab outside of chicago for comparison testing. >> we are expecting that we're going to get a match. >> but -- >> we didn't. >> the lab report was unequivocal. these were two distinctly different dowels. they did not match. and now, suddenly, there was no case. >> it was -- you know, it was getting kicked in the stomach. >> i can tell you, we were
deflated beyond words. the expectations we had then, when we had no match, was this case was dead. coming up -- >> what i really needed was some piece of new evidence that would help. >> maybe the wood wasn't a match, but there was something else. >> i thought, i wonder how rare that wire really is. so i went down to the local hardware store. i said, where can i find picture hanging wire at? >> when "dateline" continues.
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are now therapeutics. merck announced the first anti-viral pill to combat covid. a clinical trial showed when given early to high-risk patients, the pill cuts hospitalizations and deaths in half. negotiations continue among democrats on how to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill alongside the president's more ambitious build back better plan. biden suggests a new price tag for the bill of around $2 trillion. now, back to "dateline." over ten years of effort, and they were right back at square one. at which point it would have made perfect sense, frankly, to give it up. stuff the lynne night file back into the purgatory of unsolved cases. or not. >> i started to kind of look at the case, to say, what do we have? >> jim wallace picked himself up from his disappointment and
poked around at the bits and pieces he might be able to build into a case. like the bit that never made sense to him. doug bradford's alibi. who sails a 30-foot racing sleuth alone at night? and then is able to paddle it back in. the alibi checked out way back in '79, but still. some alibis can be fate, can't they? was this one? wallace took a crash course in boating to find out. sought any skipper he could find who knew something about sailing back in 1979. >> i called every one of them and interviewed them and asked them, i don't know anything about sailing. teach me. >> one of his teachers was charlie abbott. once an officer in the very same sailing club that doug used to belong to and where the shields racing boat was docked. >> sailing at night after 10:00 p.m. in southern california is kind of a fool's errand.
the shields is hard to sail alone to begin with, and at night, you need lights. so if you're going out in southern california in the summertime, there's not going to be any wind at all, or a very little bit. >> sailors have an expression for that. >> no glow, no go means if there is not enough wind, we're not going sailing. >> but doug was an expert after all. if anybody could sail after sunset, he could. listen to what he said happened on the dark pacific. >> i started off under sail, but i ended up coming back manual power. there was no auxiliary power. >> about what time did you leave? >> it was a little after 10:30, probably. >> if it's not windy already and it's 10:30, you're standing at the dock and asking yourself, wow, is there enough wind for me to sail? i can barely get out. do you expect it to get better once you get out there? everyone i talked to said, no,
no, that's crazy. as a matter of fact, that's the one thing that was a consistent statement from every sailor. would you do this? no. >> not to mention paddling a 2-ton boat with one little oar. who could do that on the ocean in the dark? yet, there it was, doug's name on the reservation form. a clear record that he booked out the boat the night lynne was killed. so next question, could he have faked his sailing reservation that night? as a club member, doug did have access to the reservation book, so he could have inserted his name even a couple of days after the murder. didn't mean he did, but he could have. but then they discovered something with doug's name all over it. very intriguing. all the reservations from 1979. >> it was just serendipitous. we had them, and we found them. >> when wallace reviewed all of
doug's sailboat bookings, what do you know? there was a very distinctive pattern. >> doug consistently reserved the boat on weekends. the first week that he begins to change his reservation pattern is the week of the murder. the fact that nobody who ever reserves the boat for a post-sunset sail, except for one person, doug bradford on the night of the murder. >> now, that could be useful evidence. certainly weakened doug's alibi. but conviction material? no. except for possible dna. there was all that blood scattered around the apartment and those two semen samples recovered from lynne. with dna testing now available, could they connect something at the crime scene to doug bradford? >> detectives got samples from all the boyfriends. >> including, of course, doug, who was served with another search warrant at his house. this time seeking a swab of his
saliva. >> this is an opportunity for us to say, hey, if you're not the guy, let's just move on with this. >> i thought that had already been determined. >> one by one, the dna results came in from all of lynne's old lovers and male friends. none of them matched the dna from the crime scene. including doug bradford. >> it definitely was problematic because, unfortunately, the more testing we were doing, we were getting dna. there was dna in the semen. >> sure. >> belonged to two males. >> not him. >> it wasn't him. yeah, it was definitely disappointing. i knew that what i really needed was some piece of new evidence that would help. >> something physical, something forensic they could take to the la county district attorney. you had to sell this thing, though, to your bosses, right? >> yeah, i do. i do. >> but still, wallace could not get his mind off that garrote. he must have missed something.
wallace now went to his own workshop and started tinkering. made a garrote, then another, and another, to under the mindset of the killer and the materials he used. he examined the wire very closely. then he looked again at the pictures doug's mother painted, and the wire doug used to hang them. and both wires were the same type, something called grade number 1 8-strand braided wire. >> that's the wire used in the garrote, and that's the wire doug's mom was using to hang his paintings. >> exciting discovery. well, maybe. but like the dowels, it could also be pure coincidence. how to tell? >> as i thought about it, i said, wow, i wonder how rare that wire really is. i went down to the local hardware store.
i said, let's see if i can find picture hanging wire. i found some, but not that. i called everywhere. i called the manufacturers, do you sell a thinner wire? >> very uncommon? >> very uncommon. >> so uncommon, of all the picture hanging wire sold, this particular wire only accounts for 1% to 6% of sales. >> it's that rare. yet, that's what is being used to build the garrote, and that happens to also be what doug had access to because of his mom's painting. >> not like dna, of course, but what they call a class match. was it enough along with everything else to get lewin to take the case to course? >> i got done with the work on the wire, went to work on the alibi, with the work on the garrote, i felt we had a fileable case. i brought it to john. >> now, at this point, a more conservative prosecutor might have told him forget it, but lewin likes tough circumstantial cases. he said yes and took the case to his boss at the district
attorney's office. >> decision to file the case was pace based on, well, everything. >> everything. may 2009, after 30 years from lynne's murder, a warrant was issued to douglas bradford. word traveled fast. >> there was a message, "call detective wallace." i'll tell you, it was electric. there was so much electricity in the air. the church windchills on my back veranda were ringing away like crazy. it was just, wow, at the arrest. it was like, yes! you know, they got him. they finally got him. >> well, maybe. quite possible lewin had bitten off more than he could chew this time. because doug bradford has hired one of the most prominent and experienced defense attorneys in the land. a man who had won more than his share of high-profile cases,
clearing celebrity clients who faced much steeper odds than a middle-aged engineer named doug bradford. coming up -- >> i asked him, do you have an attorney? yeah. does he have a name? yeah. what's his name? bob. >> bob who? you'll know. when "dateline" continues. blood, a cold is not just a cold. unlike other cold medicines, coricidin provides powerful cold relief without raising your blood pressure be there for life's best moments with coricidin. now in sugar free liquid. you don't know how much pressure you put on your septic system. but rid-x does. in a 21 month study, scientists proved that rid- x reduces up to 20% of waste build up every month. take the pressure off with rid-x.
for 30 years, he built a life, started an engineering business, made it successful, got married, obeyed the law, and maintained with absolute consistency that he had nothing whatever to do with the brutal murder of his one-time girlfriend, the canadian nurse, lynne knight. >> code 6. >> now, doug bradford was in the back of a squad car facing a charge of first degree murder. >> he was calm the whole way. he was defiant the whole way. he never wanted to talk to us. >> though, he did say one thing which certainly got detective wallace's attention. >> i asked him, do you have an attorney? yeah. does he have a name? yeah. what's his name? bob. i said, okay.
does he have a last name? >> i have his card. of course, i get the card, and it is robert shapiro. >> yes, that robert shapiro. the lawyer who represented o.j. simpson. the man who founded legal zoom. >> thank you very much. thank you. >> here was a true courtroom celebrity. robert shapiro had been practicing law nearly 50 years, had represented scores of hollywood's rich and famous, including, of course, o.j. simpson. >> o.j. will do everything he can to cooperate with them to help solve this horrible murder. >> almost 20 years now since he helped engineer simpson's acquittal in the infamous trial of the century. lynne's sister, donna, was well aware of shapiro's representation. >> i certainly wasn't going to be intimidated by robert shapiro. >> maybe she should have been. once shapiro stepped in, doug bradford was out on bail within hours. the outlet for the trial?
well, if there was a mountain of evidence against o.j., the circumstantial bits and pieces piled up against doug bradford amounted to a foothill, maybe. >> nice if he had a piece of physical evidence of a locket in our witness. oh, i saw him leaving so and so. we never have those. i mean, completely circumstantial. >> lewin was eager to get to trial, but the defense not so much. robert shapiro thought the evidence insufficient to charge doug bradford or put on a trial at all. so he papered the court with motions, seeking to have the case dismissed given its age and the lack of new physical evidence. and though his requests were denied, they took time. lots of time. a year went by, then two, then five. doug bradford remained free on bail as the case crept slowly
toward trial. more than 2,000 miles north across the border, donna waited patiently in canada, bracing for a trial over three decades in the making. this coldest of cold cases. >> it wasn't cold. it's never cold to me. >> no. >> no. >> then, finally, july 2014, it had taken 35 years to get. la county courtroom department 103. storied attorney robert shapiro versus the da who lined circumstantial cases, john lewin. shapiro already announced this would be his very last criminal case. it was also the very last one of detective jim wallace's long career. he'd be testifying as a private citizen, a cop no longer. they all assembled in the very courtroom where robert shapiro
helped acquit o.j. simpson. and sitting in the gallery, what was left of lynne night's family. though donna's mother dead almost nine years was certainly on donna's mind. >> towards the end, we had a lot of mother/daughter talks. she grabbed my hand, and she goes, "you got 'em, kid. i know you got him." so my mom died knowing. she knew. she knew. >> here for the very first time, lynne's family got a look at the man accused of killing her. a man once invited to donna's wedding. >> i really felt i was able to look him in the eye and say a lot of things in my head that he wasn't hearing, and that weren't polite. >> prosecutor john lewin would have to sell what was perhaps the most completely circumstantial case of his
career. he enlisted co-counsel ethan milias to help him. >> with cases like this, cold cases, you never have one witness. you have a whole bunch of pieces. on the surface, they don't appear to be connected. it's our job to connect them all together, to put it together, to give you the final piece. >> so no smoking gun, but then there really aren't any. >> the whole thing is a smoking gun. >> lewin fired the opening shot. >> the evidence will show, ladies and gentlemen, beyond any reasonable doubt, that this man, douglas bradford, on august 30th, 1979, in the middle of the night, crept in there with that handmade garrote, got her while she was sleeping, and brutally murdered her. >> then more than 20 witnesses paraded by, each to recount a memory or offer an opinion, one
tiny piece of the whole. >> people call detective gary hilton, your honor. >> gary hilton was 72 now, still tormented by his inability to close the case. so, in a way, he was trying to clear his conscience here. >> i saw lynne knight. i never seen anybody so bad off. she was sliced, diced, and butchered. i wanted to be there for lynne. it was all these people talking about her, how great she was. i knew her, you know, i knew. i knew her. >> donna testified about her sister lynne and 35 years of deep suspicion beginning with what doug bradford didn't do. >> at the time, did you notice that one acknowledgment of condolence was conspicuously
absent? >> yes, absolutely nothing, not a phone call. nothing, not a card from doug bradford. >> richard frank, lynne's last love interest, testified about the day he said he saw doug bradford fly into a rage just after lynne dropped him. >> nobody had ever really seen him violent, and i had. >> came to the sliding glass door and tore off the screen, opened up the door, shouted, ranted. i think broke a lamp. he was incredibly upset. it was scary. >> it was jealous rage, said the prosecution. rage that inspired doug to make a garrote using materials he found in his mother's garage. his alibi? that story that he went sailing at night, paddled a 2-ton racing boat, couldn't have killed lynne? lewin called several sailing
experts to testify that the alibi was wildly improbable. >> it was so absurd that they would almost recoil, in essence, going, this is stupid. why are you asking me this? >> all the while, doug bradford watched quietly. listened intently. seemed almost aloof. except perhaps when it came to donna. >> we had some stare down competitions. i wanted to look in his eyes, but i really wanted to see in his eyes, his body language, whether he killed my sister. >> did you see that? >> yes. i'm going to get off because i got shapiro. >> if that's what he was trying to say, it was not without good cause. because robert shapiro had a defense strategy ready, featuring a special video tape supporting doug bradford's alibi. the tape that might help him sail free. coming up -- >> a picture is worth a thousand words. >> the famed attorney in the
spotlight. the jury gets the last word. >> when they walked out, i studied their faces. i went, oh, no. >> when "dateline" continues. get ready. it's time for the savings event of the year. the homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon! at this homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon, there's no telling what we might bundle! homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon! bundle cars, trucks, colonials, bungalows, and that weird hut your uncle lives in. so strike up the homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon band for the deal that started forever ago and will probably never end. homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon. -say it with me. -homeandautobundle-- no one's leaving till you say it right. homeandauto... lowe's showrooms have a variety of stylish flooring no one's leaving till you say it right. you'll love for years to come. like stainmaster lifetime
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morning. >> now it was robert shapiro's turn. his last criminal case in the same courtroom where he won, arguably, his greatest legal battle against what was labeled then a mountain of physical evidence. 71 now, still sharp, a formidable presence in the courtroom. in this case, there were implications, accusations, opinions, and almost no physical evidence at all. that glaring truth is where robert shapiro began to fashion what he hoped would be his final victory in criminal court.
>> at least six fingerprints were found. no match to doug's. blood, no match to doug. dna, the holy grail, no match to doug. >> the wire used in the garrote, despite what the prosecution said, they couldn't prove was an exact match with the wire found on the back of his mother's paintings. >> you can't match it. why? because wire can't be matched. >> but above all, said shapiro, doug bradford wasn't there at lynne's apartment the night she was murdered. his alibi was solid. he was sailing that night and then paddling his 30-foot shield. >> we're going to prove to you, to an absolute certainty, that not only can you paddle this boat, doug bradford did. >> his proof? this video produced by the shapiro office, showing a 2-ton
shields boat being pat paddled one person, as doug claimed he did on the night of lynne's murder. >> a picture is worth a thousand words. >> what wasn't revealed is it was shot in the harbor, not far out in the ocean. even the skipper he hired to perform the paddling admitted on the stand that nobody sails at night with no wind. and then came another stumble. shapiro, famous for tripping up prosecution witnesses on the stand, called his own weather expert, who testified there was enough wind to sail that night. a breeze of 5 to 10 miles an hour. but da lewin had done his homework and discovered some of the wind locations the expert cited were nowhere near the area where doug said he was sailing. >> 32.7 north, 117.35 west. do you know how many miles that was? >> i don't have the chart in
front of me. >> 86.6 miles. guess what landmass it is closest to. >> baja, mexico. >> mexico. listen, i'll give you credit, it's the right continent. >> it was a careless estimate that i made because i didn't look at it carefully enough. >> a careless mistake, maybe. but shapiro told the jury it did not change the fact that prosecution could not and did not prove that doug bradford killed lynne knight. >> justice delayed is justice denied. now it's time for justice. there's an old indian saying. do not judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes. >> the prosecution gets the last word, of course. here's co-counsel ethan milius. >> he fashioned a garrote, made it from hand, held it, crafted it, fantasized about putting her out of his mind by ending her
life. >> finally, john lewin, 35 years of getting away with murder, he said, had to end. >> he's had his trial. it is time. it is time that he is held accountable for what he did. he is a murderous monster. he needs to be held accountable. it's time. thank you. >> thank you, mr. lewin. >> we look forward to the jury verdict. >> on his way out of the courtroom, a confident doug bradford stopped to answer one question. >> are you an innocent man? >> absolutely. >> donna looked forward, too, with considerable anxiety. >> i just hope that we get some peace of mind, lynne gets her soul, has a chance to rest, and
my mother's, as well. and we can go on in our lives without a big stone sitting on our chests. >> one day passed. nothing from the jury. then two, still nothing. then, finally, on day number three, a decision. >> and when they walked out, i studied their faces, and i went, oh, no. oh, no. we've lost. we've lost. >> people of the state of california versus -- >> and then the verdict was read. >> we, the jury, in the above entitled action find the defendant, douglas gordon bradford, guilty of the crime of first degree murder of lynne knight. a felony as charged in count one of the information. >> thank you. >> doug bradford submitted to handcuffs took a last look at
freedom and was led away. no family here to weep or cry out or say good-bye. even his attorney, robert shapiro, was conspicuously absent on vacation. >> who was it like to see that guy, after all those years, put in handcuffs and led away? >> it was very satisfying. very satisfying. he was a cocky, arrogant guy. i believe until the time he heard the verdict, thought he won. some people will delude themselves and have a capacity to lie to themselves, you know, to a degree that the rest of us can't understand. you know, this is one of those guys. >> it was almost 35 years to the day after the murder of lynne knight. >> as he goes to jail, we're let out of jail. and this team did the most amazing job that could ever be done. it's a wonderful day. it's a wonderful, wonderful day. thank you, people of los angeles. >> yeah.
>> for being such good angels. >> jim wallace packed away his last and perhaps most difficult case. >> i felt grateful. you know, you don't work for your agency, you don't even work for personal pride in these things because you're going to work cases regardless. you work for a victim's families. in the end, those are the people who come up and give you a hug. those are the people, you know, who never get closure. >> gary hilton, long into his own retirement, felt liberated. free of the case that tortured him for so long. >> i was thankful. it sort of allowed me to start putting the case away. >> why not, you've been carrying around the baggage all those years. >> i want to put it back on the shelf. >> it was time for someone else
to carry the burden. the man who caused so much misery in the first place. in december 2014, douglas bradford was back in court one more time to be sentenced for the murder of lynne knight. now wearing a yellow jail suit, not his business suit, but still defiant as ever as he indignantly addressed the court. >> i want you to hear my speak now. very clearly and not ambiguously, what my family and friends already know. i did not murder lynne knight. i'm an innocent man wrongly convicted. i'm mad as hell, and i'm paying for someone else's crime. this is a horrendous, horrendous miscarriage of justice. thank you. >> bradford's words rang hollow with the judge who, moments later, imposed a stiff sentence. >> the court does impose a
sentence of 25 years to life in the murder of lynne night. >> which all things considered, said john lewin, isn't such a bad deal for doug bradford. >> so in the end, what happened in this case was the defendant got his parole 35 years early. he lived a life that he never should have had. the right thing happened, he is in prison today. i don't think he'll ever get out. sometimes that's the best we can do. >> it's been a long journey. it's been a long journey. for 35 years of it always being
there, to finally be able to let her go and dance with mom, that's real satisfaction. real satisfaction. i'm craig melvin and this is "dateline." >> her roommate went looking for her because she didn't come back to the dorm. >> they found her car abandoned with the keys in the ignition. >> everything was a blur. all i'm thinking is shannon really gone? >> we interviewed her roommates, boyfriend, everybody is a suspect. >> then a phone rings. >> he said i kidnapped her. i have her. we ran his criminal history. that's when all the bells went off. >> he pulls in, asked me to get in the car. i feel the cold blade against my