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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  December 25, 2021 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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personal. >> this was my dad. this was -- this was justice. this is the way it should be. you killed my father. somebody's going to pay for this. and damn well right she's gonna. that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. ♪♪ thank you for watching ♪ i'm craig melvin and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline". this is the entrance to the park where richard was killed. the gunman lay in wait in this secluded dark place at night. . >> one way or another, that's an execution. >> absolutely. >> they were a busy, married couple meeting up for a romantic valentine's night rendezvous, but that night someone had other
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plans. >> he's been what? >> he's been shot. >> before she even arrived, her husband was dead. >> i could see him laying on the ground. >> i couldn't think of a soul who would want to hurt the man. >> then someone let a secret slip. soon police were questioning a suspect with a motive who had suddenly changed his looks. >> and, in fact, when he showed up at work that morning he was beardless. >> there was only one problem. he had a rock-solid alibi. >> where did that leave you? >> worried about my case. >> that's when the phone rang. a tip, a tire track and a case one detective will never forget. >> it was a shot in the dark, but i took it. ♪♪ hello and welcome to "dateline." it was valentine's day and a married couple near atlanta planned to celebrate with a secret ren day view at a
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secluded spot, a way to relive their dating days. when that became a crime scene, police discovered it wasn't the only secret in their lives. here is keith morrison with "a perfect spot." ♪♪ a winter's night in a southern forest. the ink-blank darkness parted briefly to their headlights. then closed around them like a shroud as they made their way in separate cars through the foggy overcast, and then here it was. the ragged clearing, the muddy patch of sand and dirt here away from the whole world with a place for their valentine's tris, as if they could see without the artificial light so much as a fanned in front of their faces or the fate lurking out there in the dark, waiting. but what a way to begin a love
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story. better probably the hot air balloons the man so loved. and the motorcycles on which together in daylight they discovered their own special place, the remote forest clearing in a place called belton bridge park. though park is much too grand a word for the little pull-out beside the chattahoochee river north of atlanta, georgia. >> i knew them both very well. >> they were richard and stacey schoeck, and it was another love, their love of scouting, that won the admiration of greg. >> how did you meet them? >> both of our sons were cub scouts. >> with kids, boys especially, they were naturals. >> stacey was a ball of energy, full of ideas, would literally drag us to do things. >> the go-getter? >> the go-getter and we jokingly called her mama spreadsheet because everything that she did
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had to be laid out in a spreadsheet. >> what a planner, huh? >> she was. >> scouting is how bill fanning got to know them, too. >> richard was a good motivator and i saw how much fun he was having, and so i kind of asked if i could tag along and got involved with scouts myself. >> stacey was a den leader for the cub scout pack. >> was she pretty good with the kids, too? >> she was pretty good with the kids, too. yeah, she was. she and richard, they worked well together. >> as they did with her three sons. greg was surprised, he said, when they told him that biologically the kids were stacey's. >> i just naively thought that she were his children. >> because it looked like that? >> it looked like that. >> in the way he treated them and the way they treated him? >> oh, yeah. oh, yeah. >> so when richard officially adopted the younger two of the three boys, cousin connie was thrilled. >> my heart melted. i was like, that is the best thing. >> he wanted to adopt those kids because he loved those children
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and those children loved him. >> richard himself marched to the beat of his own drum. >> my brother was always a big kid. >> as said his sister, most certainly not a suit-and-tie sort of person. could not sit down behind a desk. >> he had to be out and about. he was a very good athlete. >> kind of like a pied piper to his niece. >> he would roller skate with us or throw a ball with us or color with us. he was our cool uncle. >> no wonder. how many uncles take their 5-year-old niece and 7-year-old nephew for a ride in a hot air balloon? >> i could barely see own the edge. it was cool seeing just skies and clouds all around you. >> pam martin was one of his balloon buddies. >> people would fight over him and say, can i help richard today? he was just the best crew person and we just liked being around him because he's just very eccentric and very funny. >> and stacey? >> i liked her.
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she was friendly. she was nice. >> a happily blended family as far as anybody could see. stacey was primary bread winner. she administered a sizable medical practice. richard was a maintenance manager, but remained the main caregiver for the kids, and together the two of them were, well, people noticed. >> they always gave each other kisses, hugs. so they seemed wonderful together. >> all of which may explain why on valentine's night 2010 richard and stacey decided to meet, maybe even make out a little at this special place here in the woods. to say that what happened next was shocking was, of course, an understatement. >> hall county 911. what's the address of your emergency. >> oh, my god. please, help, i need help right now! >> the voice on the 911 call was stacey's. the victim of whatever happened here was her husband, richard. he had arrived at their
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rendezvous first, and when she got there later he was lying on his back on the ground beside his truck. >> i'm at this little park. my name is stacey schoeck and i pulled in and he's been shot. >> he's been what? >> he's been shot! he is dead! i am -- >> the hall county sheriff's department got the call. there was valentine's night, all but groping as he drove a dark and winding road in search of that muddy clearing by the river. >> it is in the middle of nowhere, and so that creates a special kind of dark that you just can't appreciate until you are in the middle of it. >> detective franklin is an experienced man, and this? >> this was one of the very few cases where the more i dug the less sense that it made. >> no, nothing made sense about this. coming up -- a murder so sudden and so brutal. was it a robbery gone bad?
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tire tracks in the mud that belonged to neither richard nor stacey. >> you could see richard's impressions pass over though and then you could see those pass back over richard's. that let us know that vehicle was there before richard got here and then likely left after he was dead. >> it had to be the killer, when "dateline" continues. knows a moment this pure... ...demands a lotion this pure. new gold bond pure moisture lotion. 24-hour hydration. no parabens, dyes, or fragrances. gold bond. champion your skin. we're carvana, the company who invented car vending machines and buying a car 100% online. now we've created a brand-new way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old. we wanna buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate answer a few questions. and our techno wizardry calculates your car's value and gives you a real offer in seconds. when you're ready, we'll come to you, pay you on the spot and pick up your car, that's it. so ditch the old way of selling your car,
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♪i want to break free♪ (vo) ready to break free? let's get away to a place where we can finally be free. ♪i've got to break free♪ (vo) plan your getaway with norwegian. sail safe, feel free. ♪♪ if there is such a thing as a perfect spot for murder, then this just might be it. >> wow, this is remote.
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my god. >> yeah, it's pretty he is secluded. >> if you didn't know what to look for, you would miss that sign, for sure. >> you would miss it, right. >> there's just a void on the side of the road, it is just a dark void. >> it was going on 11:00 p.m., february 14th, 2019, when detective franklin found the place. >> and so this is the entrance to the park where richard was killed. >> that night the cops lit up the crime scene surrounded by a clearing of bare soil, sand and muddy dirt. >> we got this place lit up like it's christmas time, but if these lights weren't on -- >> you can't see your hand in front of your face. >> it was like that that night? >> yes, sir, it was. >> we'll spare you the gruesome images of richard schoeck lying dead beside his truck. suffice to say he had been shot five times, three times through his body, twice in the face. he lay on his back near the open door of his truck. >> it was probably a pretty ugly
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crime scene in terms of what happened to him. >> yeah, it was particularly gruesome. >> what did it say to you right away? >> that's overkill, especially with the placement of the shots. >> also it was pretty clear from the get-go this was not a robbery. >> the fact that richard had his jewelry, he had his wedding ring on. he had a fairly expensive watch that he still had on. there was cash on the center console of the cash that was undisturbed. the struck itself was still here. i mean it was ripe for the taking, it was running and on and the door was open. >> something else the detective could infer from the track of the bullets that went through richard's body. he must have gotten out of his truck and approached whoever shot him. >> when stacey found richard his truck was running, the driver's door was open, the headlights were on. so it appeared that he had simply pulled up and got out of his truck to approach the person that shot him, which was a compelling thing for us. that was something that really got our attention. >> who was it? who did richard approach? whoever it was was long gone by the time stacey arrived.
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so not much to go on. except when a police technician trained his lights on the clearing from the side just so, a whole new picture suddenly emerged. the story and tire tracks including a set of tracks that belonged to neither richard's truck nor stacey's suv. >> you could see richard's impressions pass over those and then you could see those pass back over richard's. >> okay. >> so that let us know that vehicle was here before richard got here and then likely left after he was dead. >> it had to be the killer, but how could common tire tracks help them find whoever did this? having seen what he could, detective franklin headed back to the sheriff's station to meet stacey and record her statement. it was after midnight by then. >> the feels unreal. >> stacey explained it was her weekend to care for her grandparents and richard planned to come by on sunday, valentine's day, to cook dinner. he arrived about 5:30. >> and i had my valentine stuff
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for him sitting on the desk when he walked in the back door. he was like, oh, well, mine are out in the truck, but i thought we would do that at the park. >> because they had already planned a brief romantic rendezvous at belton bridge park on the way home to see their kids. >> he was like, come meet me at the park, you know, it is all secluded, you know. it will be -- we'll exchange our valentine's. and when he gave me a kiss, he was like, maybe even make out a little. >> they are a dark night, she said, they both knew the way intimately. >> we've ridden by that park gazillion -- i don't know, lots and lots of times. >> so after dinner richard left for the park first, she said, and she followed a bit later when a night nurse arrived to
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look after the grandparents. >> i think i probably pulled out of the driveway at about 9:20. >> okay. >> or so. i called richard and it went to voicemail and i don't know why, i didn't leave a message. i left. >> and when she got there. >> i knew something was wrong. i saw his truck immediately because the lights were on. and so i pulled down and i headed right toward his truck. but as soon as -- i could see him. i could see him laying on the ground. >> but life is a complicated business, as everybody knows. even lovers aren't always straight with each other. these, however, were investigators stacey was talking to. she knew they'd ferret out her secret sooner or later, so right away she came clean. >> i was -- i had been having an affair for several -- you know, six, seven months. >> an affair. his name was juan reyes. he worked in stacey's office in a job she had gotten for him. >> you know, i'm in deep with
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juan. i know that. >> sure. >> i'm telling you. >> oh, yes, she certainly was. stacey and richard owned the house reyes lived in with his family. she met juan for sex at an apartment stacey rented for the purpose. she paid for the truck he drove, paid his cellphone bill, and she admitted she had just taken him to vegas and disguised it as a work trip. >> did juan know that you were supposed to meet richard at the park up here? >> he did. >> how did he know that? >> i mean i had told -- i had told him. i -- probably tuesday night, it was either tuesday or thursday. >> was stacey saying juan may have been the killer? >> no, i -- i just -- i can't -- i mean i guess i've seen enough tv to know that strange things -- you know, things happen, but i can't -- i can't imagine him doing that. >> but the detectives certainly
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could. >> so we start getting some direction, and we have this unknown set of impressions, so we have a third party at the scene. now we have to ask ourselves is it juan because it was looking really good at that point. >> time to go and have a little chat with mr. juan reyes, even if it was 4:00 in the morning. coming up -- >> we knocked for a while. we knocked on windows. we walked around the house and never could get anybody to the door. >> where would somebody be at 4:00 a.m. if not in bed? when "dateline" continues.
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♪♪ richard schoeck, 46 years old, had been escorted suddenly from this life as he waited for his wife at a secluded georgia park on valentine's day. there was an outside chance, of course, that it would turn out to be a simple case of murder by mistaken identity. maybe richard showed up at the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe he witnessed something he wasn't supposed to see. but when stacey told the story of her affair with this guy, juan reyes, the cops knew they were listening to a motive as old as time. jealous boyfriend gets rid of the competition. the cops showed up at juan's house that very night. >> we knocked on windows. we walked around the house. we never could get anybody to the door. >> when you say knocked on the door, politely?
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>> no, bang, bang, bang. law enforcement banging on the house, that kind of thing. >> had he fled, run away? later that morning detectives went to his workplace to see if he'd show there. he did, all right, but -- >> his appearance had changed. from the information that we had gathered from different sources that showed that he had a beard. . >> woodrow tripp was chief of detectives at the time and worked the case with franklin. >> in fact, when he showed up at work that morning, he was beardless. >> or at least he had removed his formerly full beard and shrunk it to an appearance-altering goate. now juan found himself at the sheriff's station. he agreed to talk without a lawyer. he sat in the interrogation room for more than four hours with several detectives having a go at him including franklin and tripp. >> it is my understanding that you and stacey are romantically involved? >> yeah, yeah. >> he spilled all of that, the affair, the love nest, the extra
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goodies stacey show youred on him. then they caught him on something. stacey had already told the detectives that she informed juan on tuesday or possibly thursday about the plans to meet richard that sunday night of valentine's day. >> when did she tell you that? >> she told me friday, friday after work. >> would you find it odd if i told you that she's made a statement that she told you earlier than friday? >> um, no, i don't -- i mean i remember the conversation on friday. if she mentioned it before that, i wasn't -- i wasn't thinking about it or didn't pay attention to it. so i'm forgotful sometimes. >> was he forgetful or was he hiding something. >> okay. well, let me ask you this. did you have anything to do with what's happened to richard? >> no. no, no, no, no. >> do you know who did?
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>> no, huh-uh. >> and so they asked him where was he before and after dinner on valentine's day. >> me and my son went up to block bester. we ate dinner i want to say about 7:30 and by 10:30 i was in bed. i don't sleep much, so three or four hours later, i'm up, tossing and turning. >> wait a minute. if he was up tossing and turning, how did he not hear the cop banging on his door? >> i want to tell you, man, i was in my bed. >> we were there. >> yeah, we rang the doorbell eight, ten times. >> we knocked for ten minutes. >> i don't know. i did take time out as i stated to you. >> but you said you are a light sleeper, you tossed and turned last night, maybe get three or four hours and that's it. >> right. i was up about 4:00 tossing and turning. i looked at the clock again at 5:00. >> we were there.
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>> i didn't hear you. i don't know what to tell you. >> juan reyes was like a brick wall about the murder. didn't do it, didn't know who did. really? the polygraph, said former detective chief tripp, told a different story. >> the polygraph results indicated that he was not telling the truth or he was not being truthful to those relevant questions posed to him about the homicide. >> questions such as, did you shoot richard schoeck? do you know for sure of anyone who shot richard schoeck? were you present when richard schoeck was shot? >> you know, he knows where richard is going to be. he's in an affair with stacey. he's not at home at 3:00, 4:00 in the morning the night of the murder. he shows up the next morning, altered his appearance. so when you put all of that together, yeah, there's a lot of ringing bells there. >> juan reyes insists he was home with his family when richard schoeck was murdered, but will juan's wife back up his
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alibi when she finds out he was cheating on her? >> coming up -- >> if she wanted to throw him under the bus, that was the time to do it. >> she had a great opportunity. >> when "dateline" continues. rey >> when "dateline" continues age before beauty? why not both? visibly diminish wrinkled skin in... crepe corrector lotion... only from gold bond.
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♪♪ i'm dara brown. here is what is happening. in california two people died in a submerged car as parts of the pacific northwest face severe weather and possible snow. fierce winds were forecasted in new mexico as winter storms swept across the western united states. the second wave of rain and snow is expected in southern california into sunday. forecasters say snow could appear at 25,000 feet, possibly impacting some of the los angeles basin foothills. some residents in the sierra nevada mountains area were asked to evacuate. now back to "dateline." ♪♪ welcome back to "dateline". i'm natalie morales. a husband was shot to death, the
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wife admitted to an affair and the boyfriend tells his story about the night of the murder. could it be that simple, that cliche? it would take a police detective willing to plow through all of the clues to find the truth. here is keith morrison with more of "a perfect spot." >> there can be few things in life as shocking, as disorienting as the sudden death of a loved one, especially one so affectionate, so endearing, some apparently happy. and when the dreadful news came with the word mucher attached -- >> i couldn't think of a sole that would want to hurt the man. i couldn't think of anyone. >> richard and his scouting buddy bill fanning spent the evening together the night before richard was killed, and so bill heard him get the call from stacey about their plans for valentine's day. >> he said, we're making plans to get together up near her grandma's. >> because she was staying up there for the weekend or something? >> that's correct. she was looking after her
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grandmother. >> was he happy about that? >> he thought, that's great. >> a week later he was at richard's memorial. stacey asked bill to give the eulogy. >> it was one of the most difficult things i have ever done, was to get up and talk about him. i -- i remember looking down at the honorary paul bearers and they were all scouts. there was not a dry eye there. >> at the end of the service everybody wrote messages to richard on balloons and released them into the air, all fond memories, said his nephew brian. >> everybody had their own personal little story. richard helped me tie, you know, my first knots in my tent. richard helped me build my first fire. you could tell the cub scouts he was working with, that he touched their lives like he had me and my sister's. >> meanwhile, the hall county
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sheriff's department was working on their only lead. >> we were focusing pretty hard on juan in the very beginning. >> juan reyes, the boyfriend. >> though we thought that he was the shooter, at the same time he deserved for us to verify his story. >> remember, here is where juan said he was late in the day february 14th. >> me and my son went up to blockbuster. we ate dinner about, i want to say about 7:30, and by 10:30 i was in bed. >> there were ways to check, of course. they talked to juan reyes' wife, ex-wife actually. she was living with him in an effort to reconcile. >> the first thing that i told her was that juan had been having an affair with stacey for quite sometime. she wasn't happy about that. >> no, she wasn't. but listen to this. the woman scorned still confirmed his alibi. >> he had gone to blockbuster while i was cooking, so between 6:00 and 7:00.
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he had taken, 6:00 and 7:30. he when he came home he went in the room and i laid down and went to bed. >> what time was that? >> i know we were watching the 10:30 news -- 10:00. the last time i looked at the time 2 was 10:37. >> if she wanted to they him under the bus that was the time to do t. >> she had an opportunity, she didn't take it. . >> so maybe juan was not your guy after all. >> correct. >> even though he failed to answer the door, even though the polygraph result was not in his favor, juan reyes was innocent. he didn't do it. >> well, where did that leave you? >> worried about my case. >> a case that had become personal for detective franklin. he felt like he knew richard, like he was mourning him somehow. >> i would sit at the scene and stand at the scene, reflect and just kind of sit there and try to go over things in my head and try to figure out what direction to take. >> what could he do? all franklin had to go on was this picture of tire tracks left in the soft soil of the
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clearing. could he use this to find his killer? not so easy. didn't even know the make of the tire. >> we looked on the internet, but we were coming up empty. we went to car dealerships. we went to retail tire establishments. we would pull up next to cars at traffic lights and look what kind of tires they had on them. >> and you weren't seeing them? >> no, and anybody that we talked to, we looked at their tires just to be sure. >> then one day at yet another tire store, a colleague called into a stock area out back. >> he pointed to this tire and immediately i looked at it and i said, that's it. so we pulled it and it was a good year integrity. >> that whittled it down. couldn't be more than millions of cars with good year integrity tires. just about the time franklin was contemplating that little problem. >> i got a phone call from the i.t. technician at the dekalb medical center. >> out of the blue? >> yes. >> that's where the office was that stacey managed. the guy's job there was in part
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clearing the junk from employee e-mail accounts. >> and he noticed that stacey's in box for friday, saturday and sunday had been completely cleaned out. >> curious. that was the very weekend of the murder. >> so he thought enough to give us a call. >> was stacey, mama spreadsheet, the cub scout den leader, actually hiding something or did she just accidentally hit delete too many times? of course, all of those deleted files had been backed up. so they got a warrant, collected all of stacey's e-mails, not just from that weekend, 4,000 e-mails in all. >> it was quite a task. >> and a lot of it was spam, except two e-mails seemed -- well, they stood out. requests from stacey's to her bank to transfer money out of something called a real estate account. >> so a few weeks before the murder was the first transfer, $8,902. the second transfer was the
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friday before the murder on february 12th of 2010 and that was for $1,100. >> both times the money went into the account of somebody named lynitra ross who turned out to be stacey's friend and work colleague and tenant. she was renting a house from stacey. >> how did she react? >> very calm, very cool. >> she didn't seem to be hiding anything? >> she seemed to be very collected so i asked her about the money transfer. >> he made an audio recording of the interview. >> so how much money did you get overall? >> it was dlik 89 at first and then -- >> 89. >> 8,900. >> why did stacey give her $8,900? >> she transferred some money to me for the repairs and stuff. >> she said that they had redone the roof, the interior of the house, carpet, flooring and that kind of thing. >> and the $1,100? still more repairs. >> and then we got another leak,
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main water valve leak. >> but the story made sense? >> it made sense and she was always cooperative. >> a simple business transaction. detective franklin was right back where he started. >> yeah, it gets to a point where you are still, you know, looking for -- for ways to move forward. >> it was march by then, close to a month since the murder, and they seemed to be going nowhere. what to do now? how about grasp at straws? >> it was called a tower dump. >> a tower dump? >> it was a shot in the dark, but i took it coming up, a killer with a gun and a cellphone, about to make a big mistake. >> my way of thinking was if he's sitting there waiting in this secluded dark place at night, is he going to sit there and twiddle his thumbs or make a phone call? i had no idea. >> when "dateline" continues. >> when "dateline" continues
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she had been troubled by something, she told the detective. >> it took me a good three weeks contemplating, you know, should i call, should i not. >> after all, stacey was like a big sister, said connie. but there was just something wrong, like the strange business about her grandparents' 2009 impala. >> stacey was supposed to sell it for them because they were having problems and they needed money for medical bills. >> but after stacey took the car -- >> a couple of weeks later it would be back at her house and then a couple of weeks later it wasn't. then it got to the point where she said that she told it for $16,000. >> and yet stacey never produced the money. >> the family was persistent about this car, and so finally we're like, you know, it is likely it was used, we don't know where it is at, let's find the thing. >> they ran the vin number, found the car. stacey sold it by then. >> lo and behold it has good year integrities on it. at that point i was confident i found the car richard was killed
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from. >> which was great, except who was in it. no idea. detective franklin was still stuck. so he took a long shot. he asked for something called a tower dump, information dump that is from this cell tower on a farm near the crime scene. >> i subpoenaed all calls that generated from the tower that services belton bridge park for the night of the murder from about 7:00 p.m. until about 9:30. >> until 9:30 because that's when stacey arrived and found richard. why start looking at 7:00 p.m.? >> it was apparent to me that the gunman lay in wait for richard, and so my way of thinking was if he's sitting there waiting in this secluded dark place at nice, is he going to sit there and twiddle his thumbs or make a phone call? had no idea. >> if the killer called anybody it should show up on the tower's record of outgoing cell calls. four major carriers on that tower, thousands of calls, but what number should he look for? why not play a hunch he had had
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all along. >> stacey's involved somehow. you have this third vehicle at the scene, you have overkill with the way richard died. so based on all of those things, a murder for hire starts crossing your mind. >> franklin's idea was to compare the numbers from the tower dump to the phone numbers on stacey's personal contact list. >> the best source of information i felt i had was stacey's contact list. there was 258 contacts i think. >> if you could find any phone call coming from the crime scene that happened to be on her contact list, that would give you a big -- >> yes, that would give me some direction. >> a lot of numbers to compare, but then he got lucky. really lucky. maybe 150 numbers into his search there it was. a match. >> it said reggie. >> the call was placed at 8:40 p.m.. >> and it was a 28 second call. so richard left the grandparents house at about 8:15. it is about a 15-minute drive from the grandparents' house to the park.
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>> where he got there around 8:30. >> he would have got there around 8:30 and we felt he was killed as soon as he stepped out of his truck, so you are looking at him dying around 8:30, 8:45, and so here is a call from reggie in stacey's contact list at 8:40 on the night of the murder. >> but who was reggie? >> under reggie's company name it said mr. results. >> so the next step naturally? >> i googled mr. results. the first link was mr. results personal training. >> he was reginal coleman, training and former professional boxer and he held workouts at stacey's office. then he looked at the number he called. >> it was lynitra ross. >> the woman who claimed she received $10,000 from stacey for house repairs within three weeks of the murder. now the trail was warm, very warm. he pulled phone records for all
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three, reggie, lynitra and stacey. combed through hundreds of calls and texts until -- >> a very interesting sequence of calls actually emerged from that. >> a sequence on february 14th. it went like this. at 6:42 p.m. reggie called lynitra. at 6:45, lynitra called stacey. at 6:48, lynitra called reggie back. >> in my mind reggie called lynitra and said, are we still doing this. lynitra called stacey and said, yes, he's here, i'll have him at the park and then lynitra calling reggie back to say, yes, he'll be up there. >> then no more calls until 8:0040 p.m. when the call was captured by the tower. >> the call at 8:40 was reggie calling to say it is done. >> then get this. at 9:00 p.m. lynitra sent textie a text, happy valentine's day,
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it said. >> was that a code? >> it was. >> code for it's done, he's dead. almost there now. all he needed was a money trail to move murder for hire. so bank records this time. >> it was the same tedious work as the cellphone records. >> guess what? that $10,000 that stacey transferred to lynitra supposedly from a real estate account for home repairs? only $1,800 went into that. the rest went to lynitra for cash. lynitra wrote reggie a check for $700. >> all within three weeks of the murder. that's the whole thing, it had come together at that point. reggie is my trigger man. the middle person is lynitra ross. >> and the mastermind? stacey. three months after the valentine's murder of richard schoeck, lynitra ross -- >> i need you aware of what the charge is, malice murder. >> reggie coleman and lynitra
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ross were arrested and charged for murder. >> i told stacey we can fight then. >> then a supplies was coming. check that, surprises. more than one. stacey had a story to tell. coming up, is there ever an excuse for murder? >> having lived through that i was never going to let it happen to my kids. >> when "dateline" continues. to my kids >> when "dateline" continues was another around the corner? or could things take a different turn? i wanted to help protect myself. my doctor recommended eliquis. eliquis is proven to treat and help prevent another dvt or pe blood clot. almost 98 percent of patients on eliquis didn't experience another. ...and eliquis has significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. eliquis is fda-approved and has both. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness.
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three months after stacey schoeck found her husband's bullet-perforated body at belton bridge park, she and her alleged confederates were under arrest for murder. it was crazy. it didn't make sense. a mother of three, a cub scout leader. surely she would come up with a defense when she met with her attorney, max hersch. no, that's not what happened. >> she laid it out. she didn't hesitate, she didn't minimize. she told me what the plan was. >> the plan for murder. her lawyer, no surprise, had his own plan. >> i told stacey, i already know how we would defend this case. she looked me straight in the eye without hesitation and said, no, the gig is up. i did this, what i did was wrong, no more lies. >> stacey wanted to confess. it took a while to arrange it,
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but seven months after the murders with the recorder running, confess she did. >> i'm not going to keep lying. i'm done. i'm done, you know. >> it all started over lunch with lynitra, said stacey, when she told her friend she wished her husband was dead and lynitra offered the services of her sometimes-boyfriend, reggie. >> i was like reggie, really? she said, yeah, that's what he did, that's what he does. that's how he supplements his income, you know, he does jobs. >> so, said stacey, lynitra arranged for the three of them to meet and reggie agreed to kill richard. >> then i was like, well how much cash? and he was like, well, you know, i was thinking around $10,000. i was like, okay. >> that was the $10,000 stacey transferred to lynitra. she gave the money to reggie. stacey also agreed to give him her grandparents' 2009 impala. yes, that imbalance au. and the house lynitra was
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renting from her. the week later, all three went to scout the crime scene. >> he was like, yeah, this would be -- this is the perfect place. and he even made a comment that, you know, i might have to use this place more often. >> but the night of the murder, said stacey, reggie botched the plan. >> it was supposed to be a robbery. that's what he had said. it was supposed to be one shot to the head. i said, i don't want him to suffer, i don't want him to see anything. >> but why would she possibly want to have richard killed? for that question, stacey offered this story. >> things started clicking in my brain of what was happening with my kids and my family. and, um, um, and i was convinced that, um, my kids were being harmed. >> stacey said she believed richard was molesting her sons. they were acting out and there was something one of them told her. >> you don't know what happens
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to -- he does to me when you're not here. that kind of -- you know, that stuck in my brain for sure. >> to her there was just one solution. >> i didn't want police, i didn't want a divorce. i just wanted him dead. >> and so here it was, her reason for murder. stacey said she had been molested as a child repeatedly and she knew what it was like. >> having lived through that, i was never going to let it happen to my kids. >> did you ask the boys? >> not -- not direct -- not directly enough, not then. i have since. >> it was after her arrest, her sons asked her why, what would make you want to hurt him? and she explained. >> people touched me in a bad way when i was a kid and i reacted in certain ways, and sometimes your behaviors made me worry that you were getting touched in a bad way. >> and the son who made that earlier statement to his mother responded, devastated.
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>> he said, no. he said, no, i'm sorry i exaggerated and i'm sorry that i said those things. i blew things out of proportion, mom. >> stacey was wrong. there was no abuse. >> now that's a hard thing to do with too because now he has guilt. >> but was the motive she admitted real or was a more venal truth still withheld? there would be an answer, just not quite yet. we asked for an interview with stacey but prison rules wouldn't allow it, so her attorney spoke on her behalf. >> she understands completely what she did. she understands it is her fault richard schoeck is dead. she doesn't have excuses. >> stacey check pleaded guilty to murder. reggie coleman did the same. la neat raw ross stood trial and was found guilty, and all of them were sentenced to life in prison without parole.
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the case, solved. three convictions for the detective who poured through reams of found numbers and sniffed out a murder-for-hire case. >> you know, when your gut tells you something, you should go with it. if it makes sense, then -- than a that's probably what it is. >> pretty obvious if i asked you where this fits in your -- in your catalogue of cases. >> there will never be another one like it, i'm pretty sure. i hope not. >> and now, finally, the last admission. a few days after stacey was sent away, richard's sister carol went to see her, glared at stacey through the glass partition. she didn't buy stacey's story about her reason for killing richard. >> i said, okay, stacey, this is it. i want to know, and i said, no bull, no lies, i want to know why you had richard killed. >> there was a long pause, and then out it came. >> she said, because of my
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actions back then and because of the way i was living my life, i knew that i couldn't divorce richard, because if i divorced richard he would have enough of a chance to get custody of my kids, which he had adopted legally, and i couldn't let that happen. and i just looked at her, and i said, thank you, and i hung up the phone. >> but if the answer satisfied some need to know, the pain was and is no different. richard schoeck is dead. his quirkiness, adventurous spirit, devotion to those boy scouts, all gone. >> we had a thing, it was called a richard fire. if it wasn't stoked up and
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burning bright and the flames almost licking the tree tops, it wasn't a good fire. so if you want a richard fire, that's the fire you got to have. and when we're at scouting events and we see the big fire we build and the smoke coming up, we all talk about richard. 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". one woman, two men. her husband, the air force captain, and the staff sergeant, her rendezvous man. he was a playboy himself. >> one man too many. then suddenly there was one man less. >> it wasn't like bang, bang, bang. it was bang, pause, bang, pause. >> which sounds more like what?
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execution? >> you could take it that way,


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