Forensic Files - Capitol Crimes   View more episodes

Aired at 02:30 AM on Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 (11/28/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


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00:02:54>> Narrator: There were two separate autopsies performed on frankie pullian's remains, done three years apart.
00:03:01The original autopsy concluded frankie's death was the result of an automobile accident.
00:03:08The second autopsy concluded he was murdered with a blunt instrument before his body was placed beneath the car.
00:03:16>> Had law enforcement had that information in the very beginning, obviously this case would have gone in a much different direction right from day one.
00:03:24>> Narrator: And the photos of the vehiprovided evidence of where frankie was killed.
00:03:30>> When I started reading reports, they said there was blood inside the car.
00:03:33I had to read the report twice.
00:03:35It just didn't make sense.
00:03:36Turned out there was spatter from blood on the inside windshield and on the dashboard.
00:03:42>> Narrator: Serology tests identified the blood in the car as type "o" -- the same blood type as frankie pullian.
00:03:50Now suspicious, investigators dug a little deeper into frankie's background.
00:03:57For a man making less than $10,000 a year, frankie had nine separate insurance policies on his life with a total payout of nearly $1 million.
00:04:10>> It's very unusual that you would take out almost $1 million worth of insurance and then, in a few short months, someone should die.
00:04:17I mean, to me, that raises a flag automatically.
00:04:19>> Narrator: The insurance premiums totaled $3,500 a year -- almost half of frankie's annual salary.
00:04:27>> First thing you're thinking is that, certainly, this is not right.
00:04:31It's very odd, to say the least,but it certainly raises the possibility that there's an insurance fraud going on.
00:04:39>> Narrator: And who were the beneficiaries of frankie's life-insurance policies?
00:04:45One was his boss and longtime benefactor e. lee white.
00:04:51>> For his e him so heavily with multiple policies for large sums of money was very suspicious, which now creates a motive for the death of franklin pullian.
00:05:05>> Narrator: Another beneficiary was erna boone, listed on the policy as frankie's sister.
00:05:12But records showed frankie had a boone was the maiden name of lee white's wife, and two of white's friends, lawrence scott and william brown, were also beneficiaries.
00:05:28Brown had been convicted a few years earlier for fraud.
00:05:32Awrence scott and william brown, who both had affiliations with the funeral white, also were beneficiaries on the policy, and the familiar relationship that was cited there was one of being cousins.
00:05:44They weren't cousins.
00:05:45>> Narrator: Coincidenta insurance policies also contained an accidental death provision, meaning there was an extra payout of $350,000 if frankie pullian died in an accident.
00:06:02The last of the policies was issued just five days before ankie's medical records indicated he was released from the military because he was neurologically impaired.
00:06:16>> I think within six to eight months he was released, discharged from the service, because he couldn't pass the particular tests that were required of him.
00:06:26>> Narrator: Yet the man whothe physical examination for the life-insurance policies was not neurologically impaired.
00:06:35>> That individual, who reported to be franklin pullian, was healthy and fit.
00:06:39Certainly it wasn't the same person.
00:06:42>> Narrator: And there was another bizarre incident at the physical examination.
00:06:47>> The person who represented pullian had notes, handwritten notes, and every time he was asked a question about his lifestyle, he referred to his notes, which i would think would cause some concern buently, did not.
00:07:01>> Narrator: A forensic document iner compared frankie's known handwriting samples to the signatures on the insurance policies and concluded they were forgeries.
00:07:13>> So, someone who met with the insurance writers, the insurance salesman, had to pose as mr. pullian.
00:07:21>> It's pretty crazy, and these are the things we would look at, and all of a sudden you realize, "you know what, there's something that really is wrong " >> Narrator: When questioned by lee white admitted he purchased the life-insurance policies but he had nothing to do with frankie's death.
00:07:40Then a witness came forward with some not-so-surprising information.
00:07:46On the night before frankie's murder, she saw the car from the staged accident scene parked lee white's funeral home.
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00:11:03>> Narrator: The only ones who stood to gain from frankie pullian's death were his lee white's wife, and two fellow employees, lawrence scott and william brown.
00:11:14They were beneficiaries of nine different insurance policies on frankie's life that totaled nearly $1 million.
00:11:24>> Humans are very greedy people, and now they see that there's an opportunity for them to make almost $1 million, they forget about their consciences.
00:11:32They'll do anything to make a fast buck.
00:11:35>> Narrator: Prosecutors believe white was the ringleader, and he had planned the crime for years -- hiring frankie for the sole purpose of killing him.
00:11:47>> It's extremely sad, but, apparently, the people that perpetrated this crime realized that that's the kind of victim that they needed.
00:11:54They needed to find someone that no one would care about, and no one would come forward and knock on doors and look to question anything that had happened.
00:12:03>> Narrator: white purchased multiple life-insurance policies on frankie's life and sent impostors to the required physical examinations.
00:12:13A witness reported seeing the stolen car parked outside the funeral home the night before the crime.
00:12:27The evidence indicates someone -- no one knows who -- lured frankie pullian into the stolen vehicle and hit him on the back of the skull.
00:12:39This created the blood spatter on the inside of the windshield and dashboard and th blood on the chrome strip on theger-side door.
00:12:55The perpetrators placed frankie's body on ground and ..
00:13:01But, in doing so, left blood behind the vehicle.
00:13:04They made other mistakes, too, like leaving frankie's clothing and shoes in the wrong position.
00:13:12 lee white knew that frankie's body would come directly to his funeral home for the autopsy.
00:13:19He also knew he could start the autopsy without raising the suspicions of the medical examiner, who, apparently, did little to investigate the death on his own.
00:13:31>> He did not go to the scene.
00:13:33He did not look at the vehicle.
00:13:34He did not talk to the officers who were at the scene.
00:13:37He did not look at any photographs.
00:13:39He did not examine the clothing of the victim.
00:13:42These e all types of things that one would expect would be done following a proper protocol of an autopsy.
00:13:49>> Narrator: And investigators believe white chose frankie pullian as his victim because he was single and had no close family living in the area.
00:14:00 lee white and his alleged co-conspirators were all charged with murder and insurance fraud.
00:14:08They claimed there was no physical evidence tying them to a murder, and investigators agreed.
00:14:15But they said the circumstances linking the defendants to the crime were overwhelming.
00:14:22>> You take all of that together -- you know that there was an intentional killing, but you know that it was a staged accident, and you know that four people stood to make over $900,000 if this theory of an accident could hold up.
00:14:35You put all of that together, and it spells out one thing to us, and that is murder-for-profit.
00:14:42>> Narrator: Perhaps what's most tragic about the case is that frankie pullian was an unwitting participant in his own murder.
00:14:52>> He was the kind of person that would not suspect anything beyond the obvious.
00:14:58>> Narrator: lee white, lawrence scott, and william brown were all found guilty of first-degree murder