Body of Evidence: From the Case Files of Dayle Hinman - Wrong Place, Wrong Time   View more episodes

Aired at 01:30 AM on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 (3/22/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:01Call from a worried neighbor.
00:00:03She hears shots coming from next door.
00:00:07[ Wailing ] detective jim skelton is called to the scene.
00:00:14>> The sheriff's department received a 911 call in reference to two gunshots, and a hysterical woman screaming two intruders had entered the residence through the back door and shot her boyfriend.
00:00:27>> Narrator: The survivor is cynthia fields, and the victim is her boyfriend of many years, jim jeter.
00:00:33>> After shooting her boyfriend, they aimed the shotgun at her, sitting on the couch, and fired one round and missed.
00:00:40According to her, they left out the back door.
00:00:46>> Narrator: Special agent tommy ray, 17-year veteran of the florida department of law enforcement, joins the investigation.
00:00:54>> Cynthia was checked on the SCENE BY THE EMTs.
00:00:57She was then transported to the lakeland regional hospital.
00:01:01[ Wailing ] >> Narrator: As night falls, a k-9 team searches for the killers' scent and comes up empty.
00:01:09The forensic team doesn't fare much better.
00:01:12>> The sheriff's deputies as well as investigators canvassed the scene.
00:01:15There was no shoe impressions, no latent fingerprints, no tire tracks, either in the driveway area or off to the side of the road.
00:01:26>> Narrator: The offenders seemed to have vanished without a trace.
00:01:30But could they have left something behind?
00:01:33>> They fired into the coffee table.
00:01:35There was a pattern similar to that of the victim jeter that was shot in the chest.
00:01:40>> Narrator: Shotgun pellets are recovered at the scene.
00:01:44Agent ray sends the pellets to the lab and conducts a background check of the victims, looking for leads or connections.
00:01:53>> Could cynthia or jimmy have been involved in criminal activity?
00:01:56A lot of different type scenarios was going through the minds of investigators at the time.
00:02:02Maybe cynthia was involved, and maybe this was a staged scene.
00:02:07>> Narrator: Deputies interview cynthia's friends and family.
00:02:12>> Cynthia wasn't the type who would be involved in something like this.
00:02:17Cynthia's father assured us that jimmy was an upstanding citizen, had a long military background, and was just a hard-working guy.
00:02:28>> Narrator: Agent ray's investigation shows that cynthia and jim were a quiet couple without any apparent enemies.
00:02:35>> Both had no involvement in any kind of illegal activities whatsoever.
00:02:41>> Narrator: But cynthia remains the only eyewitness to the murder.
00:02:45Once she is released from the hospital, agent ray brings her to the station to look at mug shots while her memory is still fresh.
00:02:55>> We showed cynthia a photo pack of individuals from the area that were involved in burglaries and other various crimes.
00:03:02We were hoping cynthia could identify one of the individuals.
00:03:07But she was unable to do so.
00:03:10>> Narrator: When cynthia anyone in the photo pack, agent ray decides on another approach.
00:03:17>> We had a crime-scene sketch artist there so she could give the best description of the suspects at that time.
00:03:27>> Narrator: Cynthia has no trouble recalling what they looked like.
00:03:31>> She said they were two white males and that she would never forget their face.
00:03:38>> Narrator: And cynthia remembers something else that may or may not be important.
00:03:43>> She said that a blue car, a small blue car, had circled the block the day prior.
00:03:50>> Narrator: Police release the drawings and a detailed description of the offenders.
00:03:56>> This is a homicide that occurred off combee road and everett street.
00:03:59Both the suspects are white males between 5'7" and 5'10", MID-20s.
00:04:06>> Narrator: With the sketches in hand, deputies hit the streets.
00:04:11But no one comes forward with an i.d. or a tip.
00:04:15Poce are without a lead.
00:04:27Agent ray wants to understand the minds of jim jeter's killers and knows criminal profiler dayle hinman can help.
00:04:36>> Hinman: What stood out about this case was the fact that we had a survivor victim.
00:04:41But we had to wonder why cynthia was left alive.
00:04:44>> Narrator: Agent hinman's experience as a profiler allows her to analyze the psychology of a crime by examining the crime scene itself.
00:04:52>> Hinman: Even though the criminals left very little physical evidence behind, the behavioral evidence told us what we needed to know.
00:05:01[ Wailing ] >> Narrator: Coming up next, were jim and cynthia the ideal couple they seemed?
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00:07:25>> Narrator: In lakeland, florida, jim jeter has been murdered.
00:07:28His girlfriend is the only witness.
00:07:33Special agent dayle hinman joins the investigation.
00:07:37>> Hinman: It's always important to see where the crime took place.
00:07:41We thought there may be additional clues at the scene that may suggest why cynthia and jim were targeted.
00:07:53>> Dayle, this is the house where the shooting occurred.
00:07:56Right out here is where the car was heard to have sped off that night.
00:07:59But according to cynthia, the day prior there was a blue car that she saw circle the block ..
00:08:05>> Narrator: To agent hinman, that suggests an intriguing possibility.
00:08:09>> Hinman: We could have somebody circling the block waiting to pick up the offenders after the crime was committed.
00:08:14So, potentially, we could have a third offender who was involved.
00:08:16>> Yes, we could.
00:08:19>> Narrator: But if there was a getaway driver, his identity remains as much of a mystery as the two killers'.
00:08:25>> Hinman: What was the point of entry?
00:08:27>> It's around back.
00:08:28Let me show you.
00:08:29When we came to the back here, we found that the screen was ripped.
00:08:34Right here's where the victim, jimmy, and cynthia were at at the time.
00:08:37They were sitting on the couch.
00:08:38They were watching a movie.
00:08:40>> Hinman: What were the lighting conditions in the room?
00:08:42>> The television was the only thing that was on at the time.
00:08:45What had happened is when the two guys come rushing in, the suspects, one had the sawed-off shotgun.
00:08:53Jimmy was then shot point blank in the chest.
00:08:56>> Narrator: The offender then shot at cynthia from point-blank range and somehow missed.
00:09:02>> Hinman: It's interesting that as close as the offender is to both of the victims that he missed her.
00:09:08Was there any evidence recovered that would help us to understand what else occurred here?
00:09:14>> There were pellets that were recovered at the autopsy that we forwarded to the fdle crime lab.
00:09:19>> Hinman: Perhaps the ballistics lab can give us some more information on how this happened.
00:09:23>> Narrator: The investigators first have to rule out the most obvious motive.
00:09:27>> Hinman: Was anything taken?
00:09:29>> According to cynthia, this is the bedroom they ran into.
00:09:32They were here for just a matter of seconds.
00:09:34There was a couple drawers that were opened.
00:09:36Then they ran out the back door the same way they came in.
00:09:39>> Hinman: They seemed to know the layout of the house, and they acted like they were looking for something specific in the bedroom.
00:09:45>> Narrator: The signs indicate theft, but nothing was taken.
00:09:50>> Hinman: Perhaps they're just very paranoid and very excitable and have committed this crime somewhat in a frenzy.
00:09:57Sounds like this was a planned incident, where the individuals came here looking for something, and whatever they expected to be here was just absolutely not here.
00:10:06>> Narrator: But what were they looking for?
00:10:12It's time for dayle to review the case file.
00:10:16>> Hinman: Cynthia described the offenders as being very aggressive and out of control.
00:10:21This suggested to us the offenders may have been using a drug, like cocaine.
00:10:25That would explain why they missed her.
00:10:27>> Narrator: Agent hinman's profile is starting to come together.
00:10:32>> Hinman: The fact that they went straight to the bedroom suggested that they were expecting to find something specific.
00:10:38We thought they were looking for drugs.
00:10:40And even though they didn't find any, they knew just where to go.
00:10:47>> Narrator: The crime scene tells dayle that the killers may have been high and inexperienced with shotguns.
00:10:54But she wants to be sure.
00:10:56>> Hinman: People who have never used a shotgun probably imagine that the pellets would cause a plate-size hole.
00:11:02So how could they expect to miss a target at such close range?
00:11:05>> Narrator: Hinman and ray meet with ballistic technician cara tallman to see what this kind of weapon can do from short distances.
00:11:14>> Hinman: We're very interested in seeing the shotgun pattern so we can try to determine what happened at the crime scene.
00:11:22>> Narrator: Technician tallman sets up a demonstration.
00:11:25She fires a similar shotgun from different distances.
00:11:29>> This is our pattern at one foot.
00:11:31You have no separation of the shot quite yet.
00:11:35At five feet, we have definite individual pellets have gone through around the edges.
00:11:41>> Hinman: From a few feet, a short-barrel shotgun shoots a tight pattern, not a wide spray of pellets.
00:11:48When the offender shot at cynthia, he probably assumed he had killed her.
00:11:53This suggested to us that he was not that familiar with shooting a shotgun.
00:11:58>> Narrator: The test shows the offenders are amateur shooters, and it reinforces agent hinman's original profile about their behavior.
00:12:06>> Hinman: Based on the size of the pattern, we knew just how far the shooter was from the victim.
00:12:11At this range, it should have been extremely hard to miss, but we thought we knew why.
00:12:16Because cynthia described the offenders as being very frantic in looking for something, perhaps he's been involved in drug use.
00:12:24So it's more frenzied, more aggressive.
00:12:27>> Narrator: Were the killers looking for drugs?
00:12:30And if so, why had they chosen jim and cynthia?
00:12:34>> So far the investigation has shown that jimmy and cynthia have no criminal background at all.
00:12:40There's no appearance of any kind of drug use between the two at all.
00:12:45>> Narrator: The victims have no connection to the drug world, but what about their house?
00:12:50>> Jimmy and cynthia just moved in two weeks prior.
00:12:52>> Hinman: Well, since the shooter appeared to be looking in the house for drugs, rhaps we should be looking at who lived in the house before they moved in.
00:13:02>> Narrator: With this new possibility, agent ray brings in his colleague, detective bryan price from the sheriff's office.
00:13:10Detective price learns that the previous resident was a man named clifton moore.
00:13:15>> Clion had lived in that residence for two or three years.
00:13:18 jeter had just moved into that residence prior to him being shot.
00:13:24>> Narrator: And what price learns next might take this case in a new direction.
00:13:29>> Clifton moore was determined to be a drug dealer.
00:13:33>> Narrator: At first police cannot find him.
00:13:36And it turns out there's a reason.
00:13:39He's under federal protection.
00:13:41>> He was being held as a material witness involving his testimony on two latin drug dealers that were currently in custody.
00:13:50>> Narrator: Moore is in witness protection at a safe house.
00:13:54Detective price arranges a meeting.
00:13:56>> It made sense that, based on his testimony, they would receive extensive jail terms that they would either themselves or contract with others to eliminate him as a potential witness.
00:14:12>> Narrator: Clifton moore is about to turn state's evidence against two dealers.
00:14:16Could they have tried to silence him?
00:14:21>> Hinman: Clifton moore used to deal cocaine out of his house, and he was planning to testify against two latin drug traffickers.
00:14:28We had to wonder if these individuals had taken a contract out on his life.
00:14:32>> Narrator: Were the shooters seeking to silence moore, and in a bizarre case of mistaken identity, did they kill the we're being completely honest here.
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00:18:11>> Narrator: Jim jeter has been murdered.
00:18:14Police think he was mistaken for clifton moore, the previous tenant.
00:18:18>> Hinman: Moore was getting ready to testify against two drug traffickers.
00:18:22We had to consider whether this was a professional hit.
00:18:25>> Narrator: Agent ray and detective price call a meeting to go over the latest developments.
00:18:31>> Yeah, bryan and I talked to clifton moore.
00:18:34Clifton told us that he had testified against two hispanic drug dealers, and he was concerned that maybe these two drug dealers had come back looking for him at the residence.
00:18:44>> Well, we went and interviewed the two alleged drug dealers, and they denied, naturally, of having any involvement in the shooting.
00:18:54>> Narrator: Police don't buy it, but dayle thinks the dealers may be telling the truth.
00:18:59>> Hinman: As good as the lead sounds, this is not a typical firearm for this type of crime.
00:19:04Because bringing a short-barrel shotgun to a scene like this, anybody who was in the neighborhood that saw the individuals approach this house would notice that type of gun.
00:19:15When the gun goes off, it's very, very loud, so it's gonna attract attention in the neighborhood.
00:19:20And then also the fact that the individual didn't move the coffee table and ensure that he had actually killed cynthia.
00:19:26This doesn't sound at all like it's a professional hit.
00:19:29>> Narrator: But if the latin drug traffickers aren't involved, what about clifton moore?
00:19:34>> Hinman: So, moore still may be the link that we should be looking at, because if he's a former drug dealer that lived in that home, it could be a prior customer of his that went there thinking that there was drugs or money there at the house.
00:19:47>> Narrator: It's who these customers were that might help solve this case.
00:19:59[ Rings ] then, agent ray gets a surprising call.
00:20:0330 when i received a phone call.
00:20:07Guy said that he had some information on a homicide case, if I could take care of some active warrants for petty theft and dui.
00:20:15>> Narrator: The caller won't give his name or say which homicide he's referring to.
00:20:20He wants to make a deal.
00:20:22But agent ray is skeptical.
00:20:25>> It's very rare that you get a call where someone says that i can definitely clear up a murder case.
00:20:30>> Narrator: But if the caller can help, agent ray is willing to talk.
00:20:35>> And I assured him if he wasn't involved in the homicide, which he stated he wasn't, that we would do everything we could to help take care of the misdemeanor warrants.
00:20:44>> Narrator: Even though the caller won't provide details of the crime, agent ray agrees to a meeting.
00:20:50>> Hinman: The caller said he would be standing in front of the greyhound bus station.
00:20:54The investigators waited on the corner, not knowing whether he was going to arrive.
00:20:58>> Narrator: And when he does, agent ray is stunned.
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00:24:18>> Narrator: An anonymous caller may have information about an open homicide case.
00:24:23But police don't know which one.
00:24:26And when agent ray meets with the informant, he recognizes him as a known criminal.
00:24:32>> Hinman: The caller's name was joel kegley.
00:24:35Kegley's photo was in the original photo pack that was shown to cynthia fields, but she didn't recognize him.
00:24:43>> After I picked joel up from the bus station, he directed me across town.
00:24:48And it didn't take long to realize that he was directing me to jim and cynthia's house.
00:24:55>> Narrator: As his directions lead ray toward the jeter crime scene, kegley starts to talk about a murder he witnessed.
00:25:03>> He pointed out jim and cynthia's house.
00:25:06And I asked him some of the details of what had occurred.
00:25:10He stated that two guys entered the house.
00:25:12He heard two gunshots.
00:25:14When I asked him where he was at when he heard the gunshots, he stated that he was in the bushes, hiding.
00:25:19>> Narrator: Alarm bells start to go off for investigators.
00:25:24>> Hinman: Kegley said he had been hiding at the time of the murder.
00:25:27That was suspicious.
00:25:28They realized he wasn't just a witness.
00:25:31>> We knew from the details that joel gave us that he was definitely a lot more involved than what he had indicated.
00:25:38We believe that he was probably the getaway driver.
00:25:42>> Narrator: When he's pressed about inconsistencies in his story, kegley admits that he was in the getaway car the night of jeter's murder, but two other men entered the house -- raymond eldridge and richard harris.
00:25:55>> Hinman: Kegley told the investigators that eldridge and harris were high on cocaine on the night of the murder.
00:26:00That's probably why it happened the way it did.
00:26:03>> He said that they were known for robbing drug dealers, and that he brought these two guys to the residence to rob clifton moore, who was a cocaine dealer that joel kegley had dealt with in the past.
00:26:16>> Narrator: Now the blue car the witness spotted circling the house the night before the murder makes sense.
00:26:22>> Hinman: Joel kegley had been to the house before, and he knew the layout.
00:26:26He went with the other two men to case the neighborhood the day before the attack.
00:26:31>> Narrator: Kegley told them the layout of the house, but not what clifton moore looked like.
00:26:36The pieces now come together.
00:26:39The offenders thought jim jeter was clifton moore.
00:26:43Special agent ray calls off the deal and arrests joel kegley.
00:26:48And the hunt begins for raymond eldridge and richard harris.
00:26:52>> We knew that we needed to find the other two guys that joel had described, the two killers that had actually gone into the house.
00:27:00>> Narrator: But eldridge and harris aren't at large.
00:27:03In fact they're already in jail for bank robbery, arrested two days after the jeter murder.
00:27:10>> After we had identified richard and ray and had gotten arrest photos of them, we made photo packs to show cynthia fields, the surviving victim.
00:27:20She immediately pointed to richard harris and raymond eldridge and said, " it just took her a matter of seconds.
00:27:28>> Narrator: But what about joel kegley?
00:27:30>> Hinman: The fact that joel said he was outside the house made sense.
00:27:34If he was the getaway driver, cynthia wouldn't have seen him.
00:27:38That's why she couldn't recognize him in the photos.
00:27:41>> Narrator: Richard harris and raymond eldridge both received 25 to life for murder.
00:27:47Joel kegley received seven years for his role as an accomplice.
00:27:53>> Hinman: Jim and cynthia should have been safe and secure in the privacy of their own home.
00:27:59But through the actions of others, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
00:28:04No one will ever be able to make sense of this tragedy, but with cynthia's assistance and the hard work of everyone involved in this investigation, we were able to bring her justice.
00:28:17--Captions by çw >>> Whether it's drinking too much, driving too fast, or partying too hard.
00:28:48These troublemakers are all over the limit.
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00:28:52>> Then you can't be charged with dui.
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00:29:05>>> my name is officer tim bergmann, employed by the city of tampa police department.
00:29:10I've been here just over five years.
00:29:12The city is very diverse.
00:29:17The nightlife is good.
00:29:20Along with life during the day.
00:29:22I'm on my way to back up an officer who is with an intoxicated person.
00:29:31>> What's wrong man?
00:29:32>> You know him?
00:29:35>> No, but he looks drunker than brown.
00:29:43>> You're not drunk?