Snapped - Renee Poole   View more episodes

Aired at 12:00 AM on Friday, Dec 04, 2009 (12/4/2009)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:00Wn, and he came--drove over to her.
00:00:05The woman's husband, 24-year-old brent poole,was dead.
00:00:11What had started out asa romantic tryst on the beach ended with a bizarre robberyand two gunshots.
00:00:18An individual dressed in dark came over the sand dunes, had a gun, committed a robbery.
00:00:25During that robbery, the gunman shot brent in the head.
00:00:29The killer had quicklyvanished into the night.
00:00:34Within minutes, a dragnetcovered the entire area.
00:00:37Forensic specialistsscoured the beach for clues.
00:00:41We found some shell casings,which indicate that a-- an automatic-- a semiautomatichandgun was used.
00:00:51Even the most senior officerson the scene couldn't recallsuch a vicious crime.
00:00:56A random robbery onthe beach at all-- that's extremely unusual.
00:01:01But to have a robberyand a murder on the beach is really unheard of.
00:01:05But the crime didhave an eyewitness.
00:01:09( Bill F. )THE WIFE, SHE'S VERY UPSET, Pretty much in shock.
00:01:12Renee poole told police herhusband had been gunned down while begging for his life.
00:01:23But that's not allrenee remembered.
00:01:26And the details she provided would eventually leadinvestigators straight to the killer.
00:01:36Growing up in suburbanwinston-salem, north carolina, renee summey always hada way with boys.
00:01:44She was very talkative,sweet-natured, bubbly.
00:01:48The boys really liked her.
00:01:50Brent poole certainlyliked renee, when the pair metone afternoon in 1991 in their high-schoolparking lot.
00:01:59Brent was going home one day and his friend asked him for a ride home, and the friend also had renee with him.
00:02:06On that first trip home, brent actually asked renee for a date.
00:02:11Brent was a senior.
00:02:13Renee, only a freshman,readily accepted.
00:02:16( man )HE CAME FROM A GOOD FAMILY, GOOD CHRISTIAN Family, and he was a good student,had high grades.
00:02:25He was just a good boy.
00:02:28And when brent got reneepregnant in march of 1995, barely three months aftershe'd turned 17, he asked her to marry him.
00:02:37( Jack ) WHEN HE PROPOSED, HE DID IT HERE In the house, got down on his knees, the old-fashioned way.
00:02:43Both sides of the family were wondering how it was gonna work out, because life is tough enough as a young married couple, and then when you start out already with a kid, you know, it's even worse.
00:02:53Luckily, at age 21, brentalready had a promising career.
00:03:01He worked formack truck in charlotte.
00:03:04He was making quite a bit of money for a young man, and was particularly good at it.
00:03:08Brent and renee even managedto buy a small house in a mocksville, a bedroomcommunity outside winston-salem.
00:03:16They had bought a really nice home, kind of a starter home, but in a nice neighborhood in north carolina.
00:03:22I mean, from the outside, it really looked like they had it going on.
00:03:26But after their daughter wasborn in 1996, renee and brentstarted having money trouble.
00:03:32They had refinancedtheir house, and I think they'dgotten in pretty deep.
00:03:38So in the spring of 1997,at brent's suggestion, renee took a job atthesilver fox show club, a topless bar a few blocks fromdowntown winston-salem.
00:03:50Brent was very proudthat his wife was a dancer.
00:03:53( Greg )SHE ENJOYED THAT SORT OF LIFESTYLE And that fast-paced--a lot of action.
00:03:59And renee's new joblooked like it would put the couple's moneyproblems behind them.
00:04:05She could make-- she told me 200 to $400a night as a stripper.
00:04:10Cash wasn't all thatrenee brought home from the club either.
00:04:15She did have relationshipswith some of the girls that worked there,sexual relationships.
00:04:19And according to rumoraround the club, brent encouraged it.
00:04:25He seemed veryeager to experiment within the marriage.
00:04:30Renee, however,also experimented outside her marriage, with men she metat the club.
00:04:37There were varioussexual escapes, and renee hadmultiple affairs.
00:04:42Many of the men she wouldhave relationships with were sort ofone-night stands.
00:04:47One wasn't.
00:04:50In the spring of 1998, renee started seeing a computertech and part-time deejay from thesilver foxnamed john boyd frazier.
00:04:59( Jeanette )JOHN WAS A REALLY, REALLY SWEET Guy.
00:05:02John was likea big teddy bear.
00:05:05He was also generous tothe girls at the club.
00:05:10John frazier did take inseveral dancers to stay at his houseand let them live there.
00:05:15( woman )HE THOUGHT HE WAS HELPING THESE Girls, and that's justthe way he was-- he just was a caringperson.
00:05:21And frazier's generous nature,according to a coworker, may have beenwhat attracted renee.
00:05:28( Jeanette ) SHE WAS THINKING HE HAD MONEY, And when I asked john about it, he said, "i think she thinks I'm gonna buy " in the spring of 1998, renee and brent startedhaving problems at home.
00:05:42( Christopher ) HE LIKED TO GO FOUR-WHEELING With his buddies.
00:05:44Renee thought he ought to be home helping with the baby more, and he wanted to be out with his buddies.
00:05:49ON MAY 7th, WHILE BRENTWAS AT WORK, She and her two-year-olddaughter moved in with frazier.
00:05:56Renee grabs her stuff and takes off.
00:05:59Brent comes home to an empty house.
00:06:00Furniture's gone, child's gone, wife's gone.
00:06:03He's completely distraught.
00:06:05But would renee follow upand leave brent for good ?
00:06:10Just days after moving inwith frazier, she met with an attorney.
00:06:14( Bill F. ) HER DIVORCE ATTORNEY ADVISED Her that you left the marriage, you work at a strip club-- you're basically misguided and misinformed if you think there's any chance of you getting the house or full custody of that child.
00:06:30Renee, at that point, started rethinking herdecision to leave brent.
00:06:35She was gonna reconcilewith brent and try to makethe marriage work.
00:06:40John frazier, after only a weekof living with renee, didn't try to stop her.
00:06:46( Jeanette ) I THINK IT WAS KIND OF A MUTUAL Thing.
00:06:48They both decided that neither one of 'em was really into the other as much as they had thought they were.
00:06:54ON MAY 12th,RENEE PACKED UP HER THINGS And went back home toher husband.
00:07:00He took her back inwith open arms.
00:07:02He wanted to reconcile.
00:07:04Renee appeared just as anxiousto patch things up.
00:07:10At the end of may, with the couple'sanniversary approaching, she even proposedthey take a trip to celebratetheir reconciliation.
00:07:17( Christopher ) RENEE WANTED TO GO DOWN TO Myrtle beach and have kind of a new honeymoon on the third anniversary-- a new start.
00:07:24Brent didn't needmuch convincing.
00:07:27This is just what brentthinks they need.
00:07:29He thinks thisis a great idea.
00:07:31He's really trying to holdthe marriage and the family togetherand would stop at nothing.
00:07:35Trying to cement theirrelationship, just trying tomake it stronger.
00:07:38Brent would do whateverit took to keep renee.
00:07:42Unfortunately,he wasn't the only one.
00:07:45( Christopher ) ANYTIME THAT YOU MIX TWO Or more men competing for one woman, there's gonna be a bad end to it.
00:07:53The pooles' trip to the beachstarted out well enough.
00:07:57Checking intothecarolina winds resort, the family spent severaldays in the sand and sun.
00:08:04HOWEVER, ON THE EVENINGOF JUNE 9th, Renee had arranged to spend the evening outwith brent alone.
00:08:11She contacts the hotel aboutarranging for a baby-sitter the night oftheir anniversary.
00:08:18But once the sitter arrived, renee's big plannearly backfired.
00:08:23( Greg ) BRENT AND RENEE'S CHILD STARTS TO Cry, and brent's trying to console her and just talk to her and tell her everything's gonna be all right.
00:08:30( Terry ) RENEE EVENTUALLY GOT HIM OUT OF The motel room and the baby-sitter was able to calm down the child.
00:08:36Crisis averted, renee and brenthit the bars along kings highway,myrtle beach's main drag.
00:08:44( Terry )THEY PROCEEDED TO EAT DINNER, Had a few drinks and thenplayed a few games of pool.
00:08:5100, renee suggested somethingspecial to cap off the evening.
00:08:58She suggested tobrent that they might have a sexual relationshipin the dunes.
00:09:05As luck would have it, the stretch of beachnext to their hotel offered a secluded spot.
00:09:11( Terry ) THE HOTEL THEY STAYED AT, THECAROLINA Winds, north of there is nothing but residence and woods.
00:09:15This part of the beach is really, really quiet, secluded.
00:09:19Brent immediately said yesto renee's suggestion.
00:09:24( Greg ) IT'S HIS ANNIVERSARY, They've had a couple of drinks and they're gonna go out in-- under the stars and have a honeymoon.
00:09:31So he's pretty, pretty motivated.
00:09:35Brent's motivation was clear.
00:09:37But what happened next wouldleave police wondering if renee's motiveon the beach that night was seduction or a setup.
00:09:47AT 11:45, ON THE EVENINGOF JUNE 9th, A patrolman fromthe myrtle beach p.d.
00:09:51Was cruising the water's edgein his four-wheel drive.
00:09:55( Terry ) MYRTLE BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT Has a beach-patrol unit, and they drive up and down the beach to make sure everything is safe.
00:10:02He'd just enteredthe deserted stretch of sand north of thecarolina windswhen he spotted something: A young womenwaving frantically.
00:10:12It was renee.
00:10:14She flagged him down and he came-- drove over to her.
00:10:19Renee was hysterical.
00:10:21She had reason to be, according to what shebreathlessly told the patrolman.
00:10:26This guy in black shot brent twice in the head.
00:10:31It was shocking.
00:10:31This beach patrol officer is usually dealing with a wallet stolen or something like that.
00:10:36But a stolen wallet was onlythe beginning of renee's story.
00:10:41( Terry ) THIS FIGURE, DRESSED ALL IN BLACK, Wearing a ski mask, robs them, takes brent's wallet, watch and some other items.
00:10:50Renee said she and brent hadcooperated with the robber, following his orders.
00:10:56She had been forced tolay down in the sand along with her husband.
00:11:01Not that, according to renee, their cooperationhad done them any good.
00:11:07She heard several gunshots and realized that herhusband had been shot.
00:11:14 to uncoverwhy brent was shot, investigators mustfirst answer another question: Why wasn't renee ?
00:11:24She wasn't evenso much as slapped, tied up, blindfolded--nothing.
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00:15:04( narrator )JUNE 9, 1998, Myrtle beach, south carolina.
00:15:09It was supposed to bea special date night for renee pooleand her husband, brent.
00:15:1545 that evening, minutes after a seaside trystto celebrate their third anniversary, renee poole was franticallyflagging down an officer of the beach patrol.
00:15:27Her husband hadjust been shot.
00:15:33He gets renee pooleinto the truck, he goes to brent,checks his vital signs, sees that it's very obvious that he has alreadypassed away.
00:15:42One of the woundswas a contact wound under the chin.
00:15:47The second wound is what wecall a "close-range wound," just below the entranceto the left ear.
00:15:54Either of the woundswas the fatal wound.
00:15:57Leaving brent on the sand, the beach patrolmanreturned to his truck and radioed for backup.
00:16:03By the time detectivebill frontz arrived a few minutes later, law enforcement had alreadysurrounded the beach.
00:16:11( Bill F. )THE UNIFORMED GUYS DID HAVE A Perimeter.
00:16:13They were securing the scenewhere the body was as best they could.
00:16:18The scene, however,yielded few clues other than brent's blood and a handful of9-millimeter bullets.
00:16:25We found some shell casings, which indicate that a-- an automatic, or semiautomatic handgun was used.
00:16:33We found some live rounds back where the body was.
00:16:36( Terry ) WE WERE ABLE TO RETRIEVE FOUR BULLETS From the scene, some money, some pennies were found, also a wedding band, the button to brent'sshirt was found and of coursethe blood of brent was found there onthe scene also.
00:16:52There was no gun, however.
00:16:55The killer was stillarmed and dangerous and perhapsstalking another victim somewhere on the resortcommunity's famed grand strand.
00:17:04It created a lot of-- really a lot of fear and concern.
00:17:08That's our gem of our community.
00:17:10I mean, that's our economic engine for myrtle beach.
00:17:13It thrives onthe tourist dollar, and I think there wasa great deal of pressureon the police.
00:17:20The police respondedaccordingly.
00:17:23The search for brent's killer quickly becamea full-fledged manhunt.
00:17:28We had bloodhounds called out to the scene to see if we could track down the suspect.
00:17:32( Bill F. ) THEY HAD A SCENT, WHICH VERY Possibly, could have been the murderer's.
00:17:36The dog followed that scent until the road, and they reported back that they could not find a scent past the road.
00:17:43But if the killer hadstashed a getaway car, no one had seen it.
00:17:49The crime scene at the beachwas growing cold.
00:17:53But there wasstill one possibility the police hadn'tyet addressed.
00:17:58( Christopher ) IN CASES WHERE A SPOUSE IS Murdered, one of the first persons that the police always look at is the other spouse.
00:18:06But in this case, the spouse appeared to begenuinely traumatized.
00:18:11She was in shock,she was hysterical.
00:18:14None of us had any reasonto believe that renee poole was inany way involved in this.
00:18:22 on june 10th, Investigatorsushered a distraught renee into the myrtle beachpolice department, where her hands weretested for gunpowder residue.
00:18:34Even though she's in distressand that kind of thing, we had to treather as a suspect.
00:18:40The test came back negative, so detectives led reneeinto an interrogation room.
00:18:46Inside, she gave an audio-tapedaccount of her husband's death.
00:19:02The police,as far as renee knew, still considered hera witness.
00:19:09But out of her earshot, the investigators werestarting to wonder.
00:19:13During the course ofthat interview, they had reason enough tobelieve that something was up and they didn't feelright about it.
00:19:19And it wasn't justa few nagging details-- it was the entire scenario.
00:19:26A random robbery on the beach at all, that's extremely unusual.
00:19:30But to have a robbery and a murder on the beach is really unheard of.
00:19:35Thinking back in my memory, on the beach itself, I couldn't remember a murder.
00:19:40But the oddest thing aboutrenee's story, from the police perspective, was that she wasalive to tell it.
00:19:48If you shoot somebody twice in the head, that would be to eliminate them as a potential witness against you later.
00:19:56And thinking that through, why did she not have two shots to the head ?
00:19:59Because now, instead of being a witness to a robbery, she would then be a witness to a robbery and a murder.
00:20:05If renee poole had been shot and left for dead and she had survived, then that would be one thing-- that happens occasionally.
00:20:10But, I mean, she wasn't even so much as slapped, tied up, blindfolded-- nothing.
00:20:17In the interrogation room, renee provideda possible answer.
00:20:30Which indicate the gun must have jammed several times.
00:20:33At which time the person had to eject the round.
00:20:37The live roundsfound on the beach seemed to confirmrenee's account.
00:20:43It was just her lucky day, per se.
00:20:45He realized that I've already shot twice, I've got to go.
00:20:48That could be the explanation in this case.
00:20:52, during a break inrenee's interrogation, police contacted brent's parents with the news that theirson had been murdered.
00:21:02The first thing out of her mouth was, " " and the cop-- one of the parents told our detectives, " the pooles quickly filledthe police in on brent and renee'sunusual relationship.
00:21:20The marriage had been rocky at times.
00:21:23She had other boyfriends and girlfriends.
00:21:25They told us that she had-- she was living with a man that she had met where she worked, and that where she worked at was at a strip club.
00:21:36( Christopher ) THAT'S WHEN EVERYBODY STARTED Catching on that there was a lot more to the story than a simple robbery and murder on the beach.
00:21:42The poole family were definitely immediately suspect of renee being involved in the death.
00:21:50Brent's parentsalso gave police the name of renee's boyfriend:john frazier.
00:21:57( Bill F. ) WE CALLED WINSTON-SALEM POLICE Department and explained to them that we needed an officer to go, in our mind, immediately to john boyd frazier's house to see if he could locate him.
00:22:08While the police inwinston-salem tried to track down frazier, detectives in myrtle beachtook renee back into the interrogation room and confronted herabout the affair.
00:22:37She confirmed what brent poole, her husband's parents, had told us.
00:22:41Renee admittedshe'd seen other men.
00:22:44But she also said thatthe affairs-- including the onewith frazier-- were over.
00:22:50When renee moved back inwith brent, she had told john she didn'twant anything to do with him, to leave her alone.
00:22:59But had frazier listened ?
00:23:00As the detectivesput pressure on her, renee wasn't so sure.
00:23:16 determiningif frazier is a suspect comes down to how fasthe can drive.
00:23:24It appeared to the officerthat frazier had been asleep.
00:23:27Indeed frazier saidhe was asleep.
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00:28:12( narrator )BY 5:00 A.M. ON THE MORNING Of june 10, 1998, brent poole hadbarely been dead for five hours, but myrtle beach police already had a promisingsuspect in the murder.
00:28:24His name was john frazier,the man brent's wife, renee, had briefly left himfor a month earlier.
00:28:32She was asked if john frazier was the personthat had shot brent, which, at that time, she told us that itcould have been him.
00:28:41There was one way to find out.
00:28:44Myrtle beach investigatorscontacted police in frazier's hometown ofwinston-salem, north carolina, and asked them to send anofficer out to his house.
00:28:54( Bill F. )WE'RE KIND OF HOPING THAT Maybe he's not there.
00:28:57We're kind of hoping he's downin the myrtle beach area.
00:29:00Unfortunately,for the investigators, when the winston-salempatrolman knocked on john frazier'sfront door, he answered it.
00:29:08It appeared to the officerthat frazier had been asleep.
00:29:12The chances, at that point, dwindled that john boyd frazier was actually here in myrtle beach and did this.
00:29:18In winston-salem, the patrolmanlet frazier go back to bed.
00:29:24Later that same morning, renee's parents arrived inmyrtle beach to pick up their daughter.
00:29:30I told them if theyfound out anything, to please let us know, and detective altman said,"oh,we'lllet you " and detective altman's demeanormade one thing clear.
00:29:44The investigatorssensed renee was holding back, perhaps to protect herex-boyfriend.
00:29:50But why ?
00:29:51It was, at that pointin the investigation, a long shot he was behindbrent's murder.
00:29:58For john to driveto myrtle beach, commit a murder,come back to winston-salem, park the car in the back,then answer his front door for a winston-salempolice officer-- it's not impossible,but it's almost impossible.
00:30:09It took like five hours todrive from myrtle beach to winston-salem.
00:30:14Had frazier somehow managed tocommit the murder and make it home withjust minutes to spare ?
00:30:20The investigators werestarting to wonder.
00:30:23( Bill F. ) WE FOUND OUT FROM HIS WORKPLACE That he had been scheduled to work the night of the murder but had asked for the night off.
00:30:32JUNE 12th, DETECTIVES FROMMYRTLE BEACH Drove to north carolina tointerview renee a second time.
00:30:40( Terry ) SHE ARRIVED WITH AN ATTORNEY Who was an attorney for her sister during a divorce proceeding several years before.
00:30:47At first, renee told the samestory she had before, that a man in blackhad ambushed her and brent.
00:31:06Moments later, renee's attorneystopped the interview.
00:31:10( Bill F. ) HER ATTORNEY TOLD THE DETECTIVES, "Please give us a few minutes alone.
00:31:14" but just asthe investigators assumed the interrogation was over, renee and her attorney cameback into the room, and this timewhen they sat down, it was her attorney who askedthe first question.
00:31:43Her attorney, who wasn'ta criminal attorney, told her totalk to the police.
00:31:48They were excited as pigs in mud.
00:31:50I mean, she just talked and talked because her attorney said to talk.
00:31:54And this time, therewere no maybes when it came tothe killer's identity.
00:32:03She knew it was him because of his voice and his build and his mannerisms.
00:32:08When detectives asked why shehadn't implicated him sooner, renee said she'd first had toconvince herself that frazierhad been the killer.
00:32:29Renee said, "it shocked me that he would do such a thing.
00:32:32"I had no idea that john boyd frazier " after all, as she'd previouslyexplained to the investigators, she'd made it clear to johnthe affair was over.
00:32:46They broke it off aftershe went back home to brent.
00:32:51Had frazier killed brentout of jealousy or in hopes ofgetting renee back ?
00:32:57Renee's interrogationprovided enough for a murder warrant against him.
00:33:02Police arrested john frazier onthe evening OF JUNE 13th.
00:33:07Inside the interrogation room, unlike renee,he wasn't willing to talk.
00:33:13He wanted an attorney and refused to makeany statements.
00:33:16That left investigators witha slew of unanswered questions.
00:33:21For starters, how did frazier end up onthe beach that night ?
00:33:25John frazier just di'tlook into a crystal ball and say, "they're gonna bein myrtle beach ON JUNE 9th." Had frazier followedthe family down ?
00:33:35Or was thereanother explanation ?
00:33:38One renee was reluctantto reveal.
00:33:41( Greg )A GREAT STRIPPER.
00:33:42You sort of give the imageof what somebody wants but withoutreally giving it to 'em.
00:33:47There was no doubt, in order to get anything out of renee poole, she was gonna have to be leaned on.
00:33:52And unfortunately for renee, she'd tripped up the momentshe recanted her first storyabout an unknown gunman.
00:33:59She committed a crime bygiving a false statement and by lying to the police.
00:34:05So on the same night theypicked up frazier, deputies also drove toa winston-salem funeral home with a warrant forrenee's arrest on charges ofobstructing justice.
00:34:18She was actually attending a wake for her husband, her dead husband.
00:34:21( Jack ) THEY ARRESTED HER OUTSIDE OF THE Funeral home, knowing that the funeral was the next day.
00:34:27For the third time in four days, renee poole was back ina police interrogation room-- this time without her attorney.
00:34:36( Bill F. ) SHE INITIALLY STATED That she had no knowledge that john boyd frazier would come down and do such a dastardly act.
00:34:45But as the clockticked well past midnight, detective terry altmankept the pressure on.
00:34:52You can almost hear terry getting a little bit sterner with her and a little bit more demanding of her about the truth.
00:34:57Even if he had toresort to a lie to get it.
00:35:01Although frazier hadrefused to talk, detective altman hinted thathe'd actually implicated renee in a plot to kill her husband.
00:35:10They had told renee the whole time that frazier did it, that he said he did it and implicated her and was gonna put it all off on her.
00:35:20Gradually, after morethan two hours in the interrogation room, renee's storybegan to change.
00:35:29She kept sort ofpeeling back, slowly,layers of the onion.
00:35:33Renee claimed it was frazierwho'd approached her about killing brent.
00:35:51She didn't implicate herself very much.
00:35:54A bit around the edges, but she never really took direct responsibility.
00:35:59Renee did admit that she'd knownabout the murder plot, but she claimed shehadn't taken it seriously.
00:36:23She did not go fully into detail, she gave enough indication that she was involved and that she knew brent was gonna be killed that night down on the beach.
00:36:32It was, however,more than enough detail for a murder indictment.
00:36:37( Bill F. ) TO DO HER PART, SHE HAD TO GET Her husband out on that isolated beach area, and doing these things-- yes, she is just as guilty of the murder as the person that pulled the trigger.
00:36:53The next morning,june 14, 1998, as her husbandwas being laid to rest in a winston-salem cemetery, renee was formally chargedwith his murder.
00:37:04 prepared to seek the death penalty.
00:37:09To murder her husband on the day of their third anniversary-- I mean, my goodness.
00:37:14How reprehensible an act could this be ?
00:37:17Renee, at her arraignment insouth carolina ON JUNE 18th, Plead not guilty.
00:37:23She also, on the adviceof her new criminal attorney, recanted her allegedconfession.
00:37:30( Christopher )SHE SAID HER CONFESSION WAS Some sort of horriblemisunderstanding and had been twisted and sort of coercedout of her by the police.
00:37:44On renee.
00:37:45Questions like: "you knew this.
00:37:47"You knew it was gonna happen.
00:37:50"You set him up, didn't you ?
00:37:52"You set him up.
00:37:53" the case against renee wasbuilt around the premise that john frazierhad been the shooter.
00:38:01But as they prepared for hernovember 1999 trial, prosecutors facedsome serious problems.
00:38:09There was no other evidence that implicated renee or john frazier other then renee's statements.
00:38:17 two eyewitnesseshold the key to the case.
00:38:22But will they confirmthe prosecution's theory or renee's original accountof a robbery ?
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00:42:23( narrator )IN NOVEMBER OF 1999, Renee poole was back insouth carolina.
00:42:28Only this time, she hadn'tcome for a romantic getaway.
00:42:32Instead, the former stripperwas on trial for murder.
00:42:37Accused alongsideboyfriend john frazier of conspiring to kill herhusband brent, renee would stand trial first.
00:42:45They were hoping that ifthey got a conviction on renee, that john boyd frazierwould plead guilty.
00:42:52In his opening statementto the jury on november 10th, Prosecutor greg hembreerecounted how renee hadallegedly lured her husband into frazier's line of fire.
00:43:04A woman that'll take herhusband into the sand dunes to have sex with him, knowing, that ina few minutes, he's gonna be killed-- you're talking aboutan evil, evil woman.
00:43:15The jury didn't have to takehembree's word for it either.
00:43:20ON NOVEMBER 11th, calleddetective altman to the stand and walked the jury through eachof renee's interrogations.
00:43:28Each interviewwas played for the jury so they could hear, in herown words, what she said.
00:43:39On cross, however, the defenseshifted the jury's focus to what the detectives said.
00:43:46They told her thatjohn frazier had confessed tobeing the shooter and he put all of the blameon renee.
00:43:54It wasn't true.
00:43:56John never admittedhis involvement in the crime at all.
00:44:00They lied to her.
00:44:02I don't like to use the word "lie," but that's a good way to describe it here.
00:44:07As he answeredthe defense's questions, detective altman didn't denylying to renee.
00:44:13In fact, he argued that lies were a necessary partof the job.
00:44:18When we leaned on renee, it was a proper thing to do.
00:44:20It's okay for the police to lie during an investigation to get to the truth.
00:44:25But had they gottento the truth ?
00:44:28ON NOVEMBER 12th,THE TRIAL'S THIRD DAY, Prosecutors startedpresenting evidence to confirm the plot renee hadsupposedly confessed to.
00:44:38Her plan was to lure him down to the beach in a dark, secluded area so john frazier could kill him.
00:44:44John frazier was merely a tool.
00:44:46As proof renee hadset up the hit, the baby-sittershe had hired testified that renee had seemedawfully anxious to start herbig night out with brent.
00:44:57( Greg ) ACCORDING TO THE BABY-SITTER, She's tappin' her foot, she's lookin' at her watch-- " was renee simply anxious to spend her anniversaryalone with brent ?
00:45:07Or was she trying to keepher murder plot on schedule ?
00:45:12To strengthen their theory thatrenee steered her husband out of the hoteland into frazier's line of fire, prosecutors needed a witnessthat could place the boyfriend on that beachthe night brent was murdered.
00:45:29They had two-- an older couplefrom virginia.
00:45:32The witnesses had spentthe weekend of brent's murder at the same hotelas the pooles.
00:45:39By coincidence, they werethere celebrating one of theirwedding anniversaries.
00:45:43The couple had firstcontacted police the day after the murder to report something suspiciousthey'd seen the night before.
00:45:51They had seen an individual dressed all in black.
00:45:54( Bill F. ) HE SAID, "WELL, MY WIFE AND I "Were down on the beach and we saw this guy-- " the sighting, at first, appeared to confirm renee'sinitial story, the one about a mysteriousrobber dressed all in black.
00:46:08( Greg ) IT'S IN THE SUMMERTIME.
00:46:10He's walking around in a black-- looks like a black sweat suit, dark clothes, he's got his hood pulled up over his head at certain points-- sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't.
00:46:20It looked really strange.
00:46:22But once the police hadfrazier in custody, they'd contactedthe witnesses from virginia for a follow-up.
00:46:29We used a booking photo of john boyd frazier to put together a photographic lineup.
00:46:35( Terry ) THEY DID EACH LOOK AT THE PICTURE Separately and both picked john frazier out as the person that they saw.
00:46:43AND IN THEIR TESTIMONY ONNOVEMBER 12th, Both husbandand wife swore that, without a doubt, john frazierhad been in myrtle beach the night of the murder.
00:46:53It just struck such a nerve in them that he was up to no good, that it just became embedded in both of their minds.
00:47:01But was the face embeddedin their minds actually that of john frazier ?
00:47:06On cross, the defense didtheir best to raise doubt.
00:47:11The leading causeof wrongful convictions is eyewitness-identificationtestimony.
00:47:16The time of nightthat it occurred, the lightingon the beach-- it just didn't makelogical sense that they could haveseen the face of anyone that night, much lessjohn boyd frazier.
00:47:26And if it had been frazieron the beach that night, the defense claimedhe'd been incredibly lucky to beat the cops to his doorless than six hours later.
00:47:37( Christopher )YOU'D HAVE TO DRIVE LIKE A Bat out of hell to make that drive--by the time the police are knocking on the doorat 5:30 in the morning.
00:47:42And doubts about frazier'sability to make that drive, according to the defense, also raised some very reasonableones about renee's guilt.
00:47:52( Bill D. ) IF RENEE'S INVOLVED Solely because she's linked to a plan that john frazier had to kill brent poole, if frazier wasn't the shooter, renee's not involved.
00:48:04Of course, renee hadallegedly confessed.
00:48:08So when the defensestarted presenting its case ON THE AFTERNOON OFNOVEMBER 12th, It was crucial tocast doubt on that confession.
00:48:17To do it, her attorneys calleda psychiatrist to the stand who testified thatrenee's confession was the result ofpost-traumatic stress syndrome.
00:48:28Her husband had been murdered right in front of her eyes.
00:48:31That's gonna be-- that's gonna put anybody in shock.
00:48:34Renee's shock,the defense claimed, made it very easy forthe detectives to manipulate her.
00:48:41Worse, according tothe defense, they'd applied pressureto the brand-new widow's most vulnerable point.
00:48:48The police detectives were telling her that she would never see her daughter again if she didn't cooperate with them and tell them the truth.
00:48:55And again, the truth that they were telling renee they wanted to hear was that john frazier was the shooter.
00:49:02The detectives hadn't beatena confession out of renee.
00:49:07But accordingto the defense, they'd come awfully close.
00:49:12Every parent in this country would say something that's not true to save their relationship with their children.
00:49:18Their biggest defensewas that they think she was coerced into confessing.
00:49:24And the detectives,the defense claimed, were desperate fora confession.
00:49:30It's not good for businessfor tourists to come down and then get killed.
00:49:34It was, according tothe defense, in myrtle beach'sbest interest for brent's death to be something other thana random robbery.
00:49:43The detectiveshad their own scenario, they wanted her to sayshe did it.
00:49:57Renee poole, again, was in an environment that I think she would have said anything she needed to say, at the time, to just get out of there.
00:50:09AT 10:00 ON THE EVENINGOF NOVEMBER 12th, The defense rested its case, without putting reneeon the stand.
00:50:17After all,according to her attorney, she'd already said enough.
00:50:22( Bill D. ) I THINK IT IMPRESSED THE JURY That the police might mislead her and coerce her into saying something that wasn't true.
00:50:30And after that evening, I felt comfortable, and I felt like we could win this case.
00:50:38Coming up: the jurydecides renee's fate.
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00:56:06( narrator )THE JURY IN RENEE POOLE'S MURDER Trial spent most of saturday,november 13, 1999, in deliberations.
00:56:13It was, her attorney assumed,a good sign for the defense.
00:56:18( Bill D. )WE WERE PRETTY RELAXED, And we felt like the jurywas taking its time.
00:56:25Renee spent the time planningher victory celebration.
00:56:30( Greg )SHE'S LAUGHING, SHE'S HAPPY.
00:56:32She borrowed one ofthe lawyer's-- one of herlawyer's cell phones, and through the whole day was making plansfor a party.
00:56:41Finally, after more thaneight hours of deliberation, the jury announced it hadreached a verdict.
00:56:48They deliberatedquite a long time.
00:56:49Typically, a murder jury willtake three, four hours.
00:56:54We sent severalquestions back out to the judge by the bailiff.
00:56:58We probably tooktwo or three ballots before it was unanimous.
00:57:02, the court clerkread the jury's verdict.
00:57:06My heart likely droppedwhen I heard the verdict.
00:57:10Renee poole was guilty.
00:57:13She completely fell apart, crying.
00:57:16My investigator and I had to just hold her up to keep her from just collapsing.
00:57:23The judge sentenced renee tolife in prison without parole.
00:57:28Her lawyers filed animmediate appeal.
00:57:31There was very littlephysical direct evidence, just very little.
00:57:36It was all built upon the lifestyle.
00:57:38She worked ata strip joint.
00:57:40So that hurt renee.
00:57:41Although, in the minds ofthe police and prosecutors, it ended up hurtingbrent even more.
00:57:47( Greg ) WORKING IN A STRIP CLUB, HAVING An illicit affair-- divorce was just not gonna be an option because she was gonna lose, essentially, everything out of it.
00:57:55It was more logical,in her mind, to kill him.
00:57:59And renee's reconciliationwith brent ?
00:58:02, simply the first step ofher deadly betrayal.
00:58:08It's not gonna be a very good cover-up if she's living with her boyfriend and, all of a sudden, her husband drops dead.
00:58:14She needed to get back in to carry out the plan.
00:58:38Captioning made possible byOXYGEN MEDIA, L.l.c.
00:58:42Captioned bySoundwriters™™ ( narrator )IN APRIL OF 2004, MELANIE AND bill McGuire had a life most young coupleswould envy: Two beautiful sons,two thriving careers, and a brand-new,half-million-dollar dream home.
00:59:11But just days after the coupleclosed on the new home, melanie was in family court, seeking a restraining orderagainst her husband.
00:59:21( man ) ACCORDING TO melanie McGuire, they got into an argument IN THE EARLY HOURS OF APRIL 29th.
00:59:26bill McGuire slapped her and left the house, saying that she would never see him again.
00:59:31Then, as melanietold the court, bill had packedhis bags and left.
00:59:38But after a gruesome find bysome virginia fishermen, the authoritieswould be left wondering: Did her husband leave home thatnight carrying ..
00:59:50Or stuffed inside them ?