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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  November 28, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PST

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in full. in april, 2017, martin died by suicide. the dark ending for the story of a family that began with so much hope. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline. " i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. >> i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." he's a monster. he's evil. he's pure evil. he is that character in those horror movies. >> he hid in the shadows. a killer in a mask. >> he's clearly a brilliant individual. a brilliantly scary individual. >> his target, a doting young mom. >> she was a gorgeous strawberry blond who loved her son more than anything in the whole world. >> she was so scared. >> he struck once. would he
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kill again and would she be next? >> we were just so shattered and hurting so bad. >> imagine being hunted in your own home, held a virtual prisoner, your children in danger from a man with a blueprint for murder. >> i was terrified. >> she will face down evil and come forward with a new revelation that will make your jaw drop. >> what i did was wrong. there are no words. i have everything to lose. >> hello and welcome to "dateline." it was a brutal crime and right away one woman said she knew what happened. the verdict was far from the end of this case. it's a story of obsession and control that will keep you guessing until
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the very end. here's andrea canning with "the killing in cobb county." >> a new attraction can be so exhilarating, but not always. sometimes attraction turns into a dangerous obsession. lottie spencer says she knows all about that. >> he would show up at my job. he would show up at the store. no matter where i went, he would be there. >> lottie said she had a stalker, a teenager who got into her house, into her car, and worst of all, into her head. >> ii wouldn't go out to the mailbox without a gun. i was terrified. >> he had total control over you, it sounds like. >> pretty much. >> lottie could feel it in her bones. something bad was coming. she felt powerless to do anything about it. >> i knew that he was watching. i was thinking, here it comes again. >> life used to be much simpler
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for lottie. in the fall of 1995 she moved to cobb county georgia, just north of atlanta. she lived in this house with her daughter christina. >> this is an upper scale neighborhood. me and christina were always outside. life was really good. i was happy. >> their downstairs neighbors were carmen smith and her son nick. nick had a million dollar smile, just like his mom. kristin haran is carmen's sister. >> she was a gorgeous strawberry blond, feisty. very outgoing young woman who loved her son more than anything in the whole world. they were just like two peas in a pod. >> it was a monday afternoon, the week before halloween. nick and christina got off the school bus and walked home
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together. cobb county prosecutor jesse evans. >> first thing they did is go downstairs to see if they could find nick's mom. her car was there. she should be there. >> while christina stayed by the door, nick went inside. someone was there but not his mom. >> nick turned the corner and he saw something move across the bedroom down the long hallway. >> it was a dark figure wearing gloves and a mask. the stranger suddenly stabbed nick and left him for dead. >> as he's laying there on the floor, he actually sees his perpetrator run from the house. christina began really freaking out. she was terrified. >> christina ran upstairs to her apartment to get help. her babysitter katheryn was there with her boyfriend scott. they hurried downstairs. >> christina started walking towards the sliding glass door and i grabbed her shoulders and i stopped her and i said, don't touch anything. >> the glass door was smeared with blood. the scene inside was unspeakable. >> somebody said, oh my gosh, there's nick, and you could see him through the window on the floor in a pool of blood. >> i said, get out of here, go down the street. she said, what
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are you going to do? i said, i've got to get that boy out of there. boy. >> scott grabbed an axe from the garage with protection and then dropped it when he realized how desperately nick needed help. he wasn't breathing. i smacked him a few times and nothing happened so i started screaming at him and started smacking him harder and telling him he wasn't going to die today. all of a sudden he kind of bolted up. at that point iisaid, you're alive! scott picked up the little boy and bolted from the house. he squeezed nick tightly against his chest, trying to stop the bleeding. >> he was running and yelling down the street, call 911, call 911. call 911. >> lottie was at work when she got a frantic call from her daughter. >> she was hysterical. she was saying that nick was hurt and i drove home as fast as i could. i was screaming for christina
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and nick. but they weren't there. >> lottie didn't see carmen either, but when police officers arrived at the scene they made a terrible discovery. the vivacious flight attendant and devoted single mother was dead. she had been strangled. carmen smith was just 30 years old. >> you're just so shattered and hurting so bad and you're so thankful that your daughter's alive but then you feel so bad what happened to nick and carmen. >> carmen's sister kristin and brother-in-law jim barely had time to process the news about carmen before learning that nick was fighting for his life. they rushed to be at his side. >> we went straight to the hospital. >> you must have been thinking, how could someone stab a 5-year-old, your nephew, approximately 18 times. that's a monster. >> exactly. >> i won't ever forget walking
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in that hospital room - sorry. yeah. and you have to come to grips with reality. >> and it was a grim reality. after emergency surgery, nick was in critical condition. he looked so little, so fragile in his hospital bed. >> you never think that you can be touched by something like this when you've got the perfect family. >> he had been stabbed 18 times and had lost a dangerous amount of blood but he survived. nick was going to make it. it was nothing less than a miracle. there was no easy way to tell him about his mom, but he had to know. all these years later, nick remembered it like it was yesterday. >> my dad and my aunt told me that my mom didn't make it and, i mean, i didn't really
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understand it then. i still don't really understand it. >> it was such a senseless act. nick and his family could only grieve and wonder why. but back at the apartment, now a crime scene, a chill ran through lottie. she told police she could explain exactly what happened. >> i told them that i had somebody that had been stalking me and it was my belief that he was the one behind what happened to nicholas and carmen. coming up, who was this man in the mask who would kill the young mother and try to kill her son? >> he's pure evil. he's a monster. >> a chilling story, a hunter and hunted. >> he always told me that he could get away with the perfect murder. his plan was in the making,. >> when dateline continues. teline continues new gold bond pure moisture lotion. 24-hour hydration. no parabens, dyes, or fragrances. gold bond. champion your skin.
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impossible to forget. >> it definitely changed my life and course completely. i remember it pretty well. >> nick smith was only 5 years old when a masked man stabbed him 18 times and killed his mother carmen. while recovering in the hospital, nick was told his mother was gone. >> do you remember your mom? >> not as well as i wish i did. most of my memories are just stories i've been told from other people.
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>> carmen's sister kristin and her husband jim helped raise nick. bedtime stories were often about his beautiful mother. >> she was very athletic. she was into swimming, basketball, softball, track, and she was on the homecoming court, prom queen. she dated the football player. she was a cheerleader. >> i remember her liveliness. she was very vivacious, she had nick early in life and made a good job at working and providing for nick at the same time. >> do you feel robbed? you don't get to experience the things that a mother and son experience together. >> definitely. a lot of people in my family say that i act just like her. i just know that she was a happy person. >> a happy life that ended in an appalling act of violence. the police officers who discovered carmen's body got an immediate, emphatic lead from her upstairs neighbor lottie spencer. >> did you know immediately who had done this? >> yes. >> who had committed this.
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>> i knew. >> lottie was certain it was the work of a teenager named waseem daker. waseem and lottie had a history. she said it would explain the hideous attack. she told detectives her story. things had started so innocently. don't they always? >> come on. >> i met him at the paintball field playing paintball. we met by being teammates on the same team. >> lottie was the captain of her team. kind of a den mother to the other, much younger players, especially waseem, a georgia tech student 12 years her junior. >> he didn't have anyone else he could open up to. >> you felt like a big sister. >> that's how i felt. >> he was a bit of a loner. he latched on to lodi started calling her at work, at home and wouldn't stop. >> i told him that, you know, i have a life and you're taking too much of my time and then he would cry and then i knew there
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was a problem. >> what was a nuisance at first lottie says quickly escalated. her phone was ringing off the hook up to 100 times a day. >> why didn't you just stop talking to this person? i should have. i felt really sorry for him. i really didn't want him to get into trouble. it sounds so crazy. >> maybe that also says about you you're a very good person. >> or very foolish person. >> foolish because his stalking became bolder, increasingly bizarre. >> he started flipping out, yelling at the top of his lungs he's going to get me, slit my daughter's throat in front of me. i would come home from work and there would be a pair of my underwear on my doorknob or a few days later a bra. >> what message is he sending? >> look at me, i'm getting in your place, getting away with it. there's nothing you can do. >> another time i came home early and went into my bedroom and there was waseem daker naked wearing garter hose and
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garter belt looking at himself in my mirror. >> this is any woman's worst nightmare. >> yes. >> lottie said things reached a tipping point when he threatened her and her daughter this time while brand dishing a knife. >> he's always told me he can get away with the perfect murder. his plan was in the making. >> finally lottie decided to let the justice system take over. he was arrested in august 1995 but released on bond. a judge ordered him to stay away. he didn't and was arrested again in september. this time he was sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. prosecutor jesse evans. >> he's got some severe issues with obsession. i don't think that he has the ability to feel compassion for other people. he's clearly a brilliant individual. he's also a brilliantly scary individual. >> while daker was hospitalized, lottie packed up and moved to
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the house in cobb county, about 20 minutes north of atlanta where carmen and nick lived downstairs. >> so you moved? >> yes. >> to try and escape him? >> yes. >> in october on friday the 13th waseem daker was released from the hospital. less than two weeks later carmen smith was dead and lottie spencer was overwhelmed with guilt. >> waseem is evil. he's pure evil. >> she said her stalker must have been the one behind the attack on carmen and nick. why? daker was obsessed with lottie. he had never met or spoken to carmen. or had he? she thought she knew the answer. a phone call he made to carmen's phone a few days earlier. >> it was friday the 20th and, like daker's style, the calls started coming in. the phone got put off the hook and then i could hear her phone ringing.
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>> carmen answered, then hung up abruptly. what was said? nobody knows. carmen told her sister and brother-in-law that the call was from lottie's stalker. >> she said, i'm going to go get a hammer and put it next to the bed. and i remember laughing, if that guy decides to get into the house, he's in trouble. but you never think it would go to where it went. >> we talked about her packing some stuff and coming to stay with us for a while. >> lottie said seeing carmen's reaction to his call was heartbreaking. she did what she could to make her feel safe. >> the only entryway was the sliding glass door. we barricaded the door with some wood. she was so scared. she was shaking and just - she was so scared. >> just three days later that glass door was open and smeared
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with blood. waseem daker was the lead suspect in a horrible crime. >> coming up, evidence at the scene of a crime. >> there was a broken knife blade and hair and fiber evidence were recovered off of carmen smith's body. >> will it be enough to get the killer? >> he was getting away with murder. he was getting away with exactly what he told me he would. >> when "dateline." continues. when you need it most. it's non habit forming and powered by the makers of nyquil. new zzzquil ultra. when you really really need to sleep.
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was killed carmen smith told family and friends she had gotten a call from waseem daker, the man who had been arrested from stalking her neighbor. it was the strongest allegation yet. investigators tipped off by that call by lottie now closed in on daker. >> did you execute a search warrant on his house that night? >> we did. >> john doss was a homicide detective with the cobb county police department. >> in his room we found a piece of paper with the address where this crime occurred. we found a torn up letter that was his words to lottie spencer. daker's torn up letter to lottie was hateful and threatening. prosecutor jesse evans. >> he specifically talks about having plans and backup plans to exact revenge on lottie and
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the worst part about the letter is, he gets to the end and he says, but i'm going to let you live. i'm going to get revenge on you but i'm going to let you live. >> to police and prosecutors, this wasn't just a rant, it looked like a blueprint for murder. now they tried to link daker to the crime scene. >> some of the important evidence we start with is the hair and fiber evidence that was recovered off of carmen smith's body. there was a broken knife blade. >> carmen had small puncture wounds on her back and terrible bruising suggesting a ferocious struggle. >> she had been not only tortured and murdered but she had been undressed at some point and redressed. >> at carmen's bedside, the hammer she had wanted for peace of mind. never touched as she fought for her life. not far away was the suspected murder weapon, a piece of rope. crime scene technicians dusted for fingerprints and collected blood samples. the evidence was sent to the state crime lab for
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analysis. >> the lab test kept coming back without the physical evidence that we needed, that linked him to the dead body of carmen smith. that's when we knew that it may always be a circumstantial case. >> and the circumstantial part of the case was too weak to make an arrest. prosecutors believe he was the only viable suspect. they didn't have the evidence to prove it. the investigation stalled. >> so waseem daker walked away from the murder. >> he walked away from the murder but not some accountability. the police felt like they had a viable way of charging him with aggravated stalking. >> daker was arrested and charged with stalking lottie spencer. >> multiple witnesses, friends of hers, friends of his that
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observed firsthand some of the stalking activities that were occurring at her apartment, either by hearing the phone, hearing him knock on the door at all hours of the night, seeing him come by. >> daker was convicted in september of 1996 and sentenced to ten years in prison. it was the close to the worst chapter of lottie spencer's life. but it wasn't a happy ending. >> did you feel like you had some peace in your life again when he was behind bars? >> no. no. i mean, because he was getting away with murder. he was getting away with exactly what he told me he would. he needed to pay for what he did to carmen. >> after the trial, lottie decided to leave georgia to start over. nick smith went back to the same school and the protective embrace of his family. >> i kind of just went back into the normal routine. i think that was the best way that i could have dealt with it and i think my family did a pretty good job of trying to keep my life as normal as
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possible. >> and during the next ten years nick's life did finally return to normal. but in 2006 daker was released and moved nearby. all the terrifying memories of the masked man wielding a knife came rushing back. police decided to provide security to keep nick safe. >> we would have the cops sit outside of our house at night and we had cameras installed in my house and on the outside just as a precaution. >> lottie said she was also looking over her shoulder. >> tell us about the day that he got out, that he was a free man again. >> not a good time. >> were you waiting every day for the phone to ring or that bang on the door? >> yeah. that was starting to unwrap again. >> coming up the fear begins all over again, and so does the push for justice. >> you had your smoking gun. >> absolutely. >> it's another trial for waseem daker and just look
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what's happening. the new covid variant or macron continues to pop up in different countries. just days after being identified in south africa. cases are now confirmed in germany, italy, uk, belgium israel and all hong kong. black friday data is in, a person traffic drop down 30% compared to 2019 levels, more americans opted to shop online or to get shopping done earlier. traffic was up 47% compared to last year. now, back to dateline. back to dateline. welcome back to "dateline." i'm natalie morales. prosecutors believed carmen smith had been murdered at the hands of waseem daker. her neighbor's stalker. with no physical evidence, they
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could not prove it and the years past but the detriment effective was about to take a new look at an old clue and turn this clue from cold to red hot. once again, here's andrea canning with the killing in cobb county. >> after ten years in prison, was seem decor was a free man, but still a suspect in the murder of carmen smith and the stabbing of her son nick. >> he was still terrorizing you in some ways. >> just the fact that he was out was kind of terrorizing. >> he is that character in those horror movies. he's like your worst nightmare. >> after his release he got a job and moved to suburban atlanta. he was a freeman and enjoying life. here he is sky diving and loving it. daker's freedom galled homicide
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detective john doss. the carmen smith murder was now officially a cold case. to doss, daker was the one that got away. >> does a case like this haunt a police department? >> absolutely, because these cases go home with you in your mind. >> but for years doss couldn't do anything about it, and then just by chance he was sent to a dna training seminar in 2008, a random assignment that would change everything. >> back in the mid'90s very, very little at all could be done with the hair except to say the color of the hair. now when there's any tissue from the root on the hair whatsoever, it takes just a minute amount of tissue to come up with a full profile. >> it's called nuclear dna and dogs thought of carmen smith. she was a strawberry blonde and he remembered the short dock hair recovered from her body. not hers under layers of bedding. >> i felt it was invaluable
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evidence if there was enough tissue on that hair that was underneath her sweater. >> doss brought one of those dark hairs to a dna lab in texas and waited. it was almost 15 years after carmen smith's murder when the call came in. there was a match. they have identified waseem daker's hair, his and only his on the body of carmen smith. >> you had your smoking gun. >> absolutely. >> i got a call from detective doss. i was very happy but it was really hard for me to have to go back and tell the story of the things he did. >> lottie dreaded testifying in front of open court, in front of of his. she knew there would be no avoiding it. he was arrested and charged with murdering carmen and her son smith. his trial started in september of 2012.
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>> this case is about obsession revenge and choice. >> he argued that he was a violence talker and that his obsession with one woman led to the murder of another. >> you can't get inside the mind of a psychopath and figure out why they would kill. >> evan said daker had left a trail of destruction and those critical hairs. >> the cold case solved by advances in dna technology proved positive that waseem daker is a killer. >> defending waseem daker was waseem daker. >> i want to point out three principles of law i want to give you. >> before he took over his own case he had been represented by an experienced team, michael and jason treadway. they were
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still advising him. >> they had no case without those hairs. that's why they didn't go forward initially. they didn't have a case. and they knew it. >> their advice to daker, focus on those hairs and don't obsess about lottie. >> this case had to be defended by attacking the science of the state's case. >> but daker couldn't seem to let go. his focus from the start was his relationship with the state's star witness. >> i've been in her bed. i've been in her sofa. >> it was a romance, intimate in every way. lottie insisted that wasn't true. >> some things had to be beyond frustrating saying you two had a sexual relationship. >> there was no relationship so there's nothing, you know, more that i can say about that. >> did he ever try and do anything like kiss you -- >> no. >> since he's so in love with you. >> never once. never once tried
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to kiss me or anything. >> when daker finally turned to those hairs he called on dr. greg hampekian. he challenged the state's key evidence. the nuclear dna test matching daker to carmen smith that was done on the root tissue of a single hair. the problem, he says, is none of the hairs recovered from crime scene had any roots. >> there were hairs taken from the body and they were all clearly indicated on the report as having no root. that's something you can do with the naked eye and of course the experts at the time used a microscope. >> are you 100% sure they had no root. >> the records all state that. somehow it arrives and it's a hair with a root. there's real problems with that piece of evidence. >> it was a serious challenge to the state's key piece of evidence, and daker once again connected the evidence to lottie spencer, a liar, he said, who had ruined his life in the most treacherous way.
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>> she didn't make all of these false allegations. she derailed their investigations by making all of these false allegations. >> for lottie, all of the fear and hurt from her darkest days came rushing back every time daker mentioned her name. >> he was enjoying it like he had control again and that made me feel like really weak. >> jesse evans asked the jurors not to focus on lottie and to think about another woman when they started their deliberations. >> carmen smith's body was laid to rest but i assure you it was not in peace. >> after he took his seat he was anxious with what the jury would do. >> we were really holding our whole case together with two hairs. two hairs from the victim's body. if there's a plausible explanation for how
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those hairs come back with dna results, if there's an explanation for that, our case is no longer viable. >> it took the jury just 3 1/2 hours to reach a verdict. >> we the jury find the defendant guilty. >> guilty of the murder of 30-year-old carmen smith. >> all these years you go thinking that he got away with it and he didn't. >> at daker's sentencing the state called just one witness, nick smith, who was determined to face his attacker one last time. >> i kind of had to not let him defeat me. no way. >> when waseem daker took my mother's life and stabbed me my life was put on hold -- >> nick struggled to hold back tears. >> i will no longer let someone else control my life and interrupt my thoughts. he's finally caught and i am free. >> i never wanted to use what
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happened as any sort of crutch or let it get in the way. i did the best i could to -- if she was still here, i think she'd be proud. >> the judge then delivered daker's sentence, life in prison plus 47 years, but a defiant daker refused to sign the documents for his sentence. >> it's typical of the coward that you would act the way you're acting and that's what you are, a coward. >> case closed. justice for carmen and nick smith and the victory lottie had wanted so badly, but the story was far from over. something happened at the end of the trial that would come to haunt lottie, something that would lead her to realize there was still unfinished and unbelievable business in her saga with waseem daker. a final verdict? yes. the final chapter, not even close. a stunning confession is about to turn this case around. >> coming up.
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>> i couldn't let it go. i have a conscience. i had to live with me. >> there's a real issue here. something is going on behind the scenes that we weren't aware of. >> when "dateline" continues. when you hear, cough cough sneeze sneeze. [ sneezing ] it's time for, plop plop fizz fizz. alka seltzer plus cold relief. dissolves quickly. instantly ready to start working. so you can bounce back fast with alka-seltzer plus.
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just so good. so very good. >> do you feel free? finally free? >> i feel like a lot of weight has been lifted and i'm going to close this chapter and just go on with my life in a positive way. >> that was lottie in 2012. she told us she had closed that chapter, but it turns out she didn't. not by a long shot. in fact, since that interview, she has turned this story completely upside down with astonishing revelations. we sat down with her again to hear her new version of things. >> so did not expect to be sitting here talking to you again. >> no. >> major turn of events. >> yes, there has been. >> it all began with a bombshell. >> mr. daker and i had a consensual sexual relationship. >> yes, lottie now says in the mid'90s she had an ongoing sexual relationship with waseem
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daker, that he wasn't really her stalker, he was her lover. it was something she had flat out denied for 17 years. >> if what you're saying is true, you lied to the district attorney, you lied in open court to the jury, you lied to me. >> uh-huh. there are no words to describe just how very remorseful i am. what i did was wrong. i am taking 100% full responsibility for what i've done. the damage i have caused this man and his family is -- there's nothing i can do to take it back, nothing. >> lottie now says she lied under oath about the sex and about many of the stalking charges she made against daker. >> did waseem threaten you, your life? >> no. no. >> did he threaten anyone's life around you. >> no. >> are you in love with waseem
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daker? >> no, i never was in love with mr. daker. >> and you're not today? >> no. >> but lottie says even though she and daker were in a relationship, she still feared him and until recently genuinely believed he was a murderer. >> i was terrified of him. that was no lie. i've had the nightmares. i've lived in that fear. >> she says that fear drove her to lie to put daker behind bars, but the euphoria she felt after the verdict started to sour. she couldn't stop thinking about something prosecutor jesse evans said during the trial. >> i learned during the closing arguments that carmen's lifeless body was wrapped up in five layers of bedding and i was shocked and i started to get pretty scared at that moment because i had given carmen two blankets just before her death. >> they were blankets that lottie now says she and daker had slept in together. >> mr. daker used those blankets on a number of occasions. i mean, he was
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welcome in my home and we were friends and he had spent the night and clearly i knew that his dna could have been on those blankets. >> remember carmen had been found under several layers of bedding. if one of lottie's blankets was among them, it could explain how daker's hair got on carmen's body. >> this isn't a maybe. this is a woman who's risking perjury, this is a woman who can explain this evidence. you have to take this seriously. >> dr. hampekian who had been a paid expert witness for daker, he worked for free. he believed lottie's story was a game changer. >> now there's a logical explanation of how the hairs got there. this is one of those places where you have to shake the system and say, wait a minute. this is so obvious. he didn't get a fair trial. >> i couldn't let it go. i have a conscience. i have to live with me.
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>> so lottie decided to come forward. she filed affidavits with the court and in 2013 judge mary staley granted daker a hearing for a new trial. but jesse evans wasn't buying lottie's new story. that's because while he was preparing for daker's hearing, he believed he found that story's real source. >> something's going on behind the scenes that we weren't aware of. >> coming up -- >> i messed up really bad. it's despicable. >> another revelation inside a prison cell, 4,000 pages of secrets. >> do you think waseem daker is manipulating lottie from prison? >> when "dateline" continues.
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how lottie spencer talked about waseem daker. >> waseem daker is evil. he is pure evil. he is a monster! >> reporter: then she changed her story calling him a victim. >> you know what? i messed up really bad. despicable. >> reporter: lottie's reversal was astonishing. in the years since carmen smith's murder she was raising her young son in a new home. by recanting her
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testimony, she put all of that at risk. how worried are you right now that you could go to jail for perjury? >> i'm very worried. i know that i'm facing prison time and there will be severe penalty for what i do and i don't want to be ripped away from my little boy. i have everything to lose. >> a year after daker's conviction, the hearing began on the motion for a new trial. daker again, representing himself called the doctor, the dna expert to the stand. >> if a man sleeps in a blanket, can his hair transfer to the blanket? >> yes. >> and if a man has sex in a blanket, can his hair transfer to a blanket? >> yes. >> the doctor laid the scientific foundation, but daker's chances really hinged on lottie. a hush came over the courtroom as a nervous lottie made her way to the stand and
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swore to tell the truth. >> just prior to carmen smith's murder, i gave her two blankets, blankets that i knew that you used in my roswell apartment. >> reporter: she acknowledged having a sexual relationship with daker and then lottie's old list of daker's abuses started to topple like dominos. >> did the defendant threaten you with a handgun? >> never. >> did i ever steal your bras, panties and hang them on your door knob? >> reporter: they will thinking you are lying. >> what do i have to lose? i'm doing this because this is right. >> in a bristling cross examination, prosecuted jesse evans >> prosecutor jesse evans portrayed lottie as a unreliable person. evans next move was stunning. he presented
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evidence that he said explained lottie's incredible reversal, letters confiscated from daker's prison cell. 4,000 pages of correspondence between the convicted murderer and the woman who testified against him. >> i sent him daily devotions and bible verses, encouraginc cards and a lot of information, case files. i actually feel like i'm his personal secretary in a way. >> reporter: it turned out lottie had actually been helping with daker's appeal. he gave her research assignments. she looked up cases and printed documents, mailed them to prison, and then waited for his next request. do you think waseem daker is manipulating lottie from prison? >> there is no doubt by sending those letters to him, a convicted murder, a sociopath, she has opened the door and has allowed him an opportunity to get back in her life and we know he has a history of
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manipulating her. >> he is manipulating you right now into doing exactly what he wants? >> absolutely not. this is a repentive woman who is very remorseful and very sorry for what she has caused. >> but evans say the letters tell another story. he says lottie knew about the bedding and hair evidence long before daker's trial started and never said a word about giving any blankets to carmen. >> it wasn't until after she started secretly communicating with the defendant that she made this broad assertion i had given some blankets to carmen. the problem with that is that i challenged her on it, describe the blankets, tell me which ones they were and she couldn't remember. >> there is no smoking gun or smoking blanket in this case? >> absolutely. i don't think there are any blankets and i don't think there is any evidence of that. >> on the stand, lottie not only recanted her testimony from two trials but described the incredible length she is willing to go to help set daker free. you believe so strongly
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in this you applied for a second mortgage to help in his defense and took out a life insurance policy naming waseem as the beneficiary? >> my daughter is the beneficiary and my son gets a third and she would gets a third and i get a third. >> despite lottie's efforts, the fund-raising, the accordance with daker, the legal research, judge staley didn't buy her new story. she rejected daker's motion for a new trial. >> the right results were reached for the right reasons. i know that we have done things the right way and i feel confident in the defendant's guilt. >> the ruling included a harsh rebuke of lottie. the judge said she lacked credibility and her new testimony appeared to be concocted by the defendant but lottie seemed ready to carry on her fight.
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>> somebody needs to stand up and say, wait a minute, justice was not served in this case! >> on that point, lottie is not alone. daker's shadow attorney agrees. >> what more pivotal evidence could there be with the hair on the blanket? i believe the man deserves a new trial. >> how can you believe anything lottie says, though, now? >> i think when you have a man's liberty and life at stake, you have to believe what she says. how can you at least not allow 12 different people to hear her version now and let them decide if it's true or not? >> reporter: you you ever going to give up on waseem? are you in this until all appeals are exhausted? >> yes. i played a role of an innocent man being falsely convicted for crimes he did not do. i have to make it right. >> in 2016 the georgia supreme court upheld daker's conviction and he tried to take his appeal all the way to the u.s. supreme court only to be denied review.
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>> i have no doubt that waseem daker is a cold-blooded killer and justice has been served with his conviction. it doesn't matter what lottie says. this case is about carmen. this case is about nick. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. >> i'm craig melvin >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is dateline. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> i want to tell around which i miss her, and that i love her. and she is the reason why i am who i am today. i would tell her thank you. lauren giddings, law school grad with the world at her feet. >> fiercely intelligent? >> and fiercely -- her opinion, she made friends wherever she went.

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