The First 48 - Silent Rage; Tainted Love   View more episodes

Aired at 08:00 PM on Thursday, Aug 19, 2010 (8/19/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:04[dramatic music] ♪ ♪
00:00:19narrator: Harris county, texas, an industrial parking lot 20 miles north of houston, 5:00 p.m. easter sunday.
00:00:37narrator: Paramedics rush to the scene.
00:00:40They find a woman in the back of thearking lot, dead.
00:00:59- No, not exactly the way you want to spend easter.
00:01:02narrator: Lead deputy jason brown has clocked 13 years in the harris county sheriff's office.
00:01:09Before joining homicide, he spent a year in iraq working with the local police.
00:01:29- Pockets.
00:01:31- Pockets.
00:01:37narrator: The woman has no identification.
00:01:43- Well, she got one to the forehead and then one to the right side of the head.
00:01:48She was shot one time in the back.
00:01:51narrator: The two shots to her head were fired at close range.
00:01:59- Yeah, she's also got one in the left wrist too.
00:02:05It seems indicative of her being on her back trying to protect her face, and those are probably the shots that, you know, entered through her hands and then hit her in the head.
00:02:16narrator: Two feet from the victim, they find a cell phone.
00:02:21[metal detector beeping] They find no other evidence at the scene.
00:02:30- It's really a clean scene.
00:02:34Right now, we don't have a lot.
00:02:43narrator: Two hours in, sergeant mark reynolds gets some key information from the 911 caller and another witness, who both saw the shooting.
00:02:53- Thank you, guys.
00:02:53Appreciate it.
00:02:59You know, they're sitting, talking, when this vehicle pulls in.
00:03:03They don't think much about it.
00:03:04narrator: THE WITNESSES SAID They saw a tan suv drive to the back of the parking lot.
00:03:10Then a man and a woman got out.
00:03:12- They both get out and walk behind the vehicle going towards the bushes.
00:03:16narrator: THE 911 CALLER SAID It sounded like the man and woman were arguing.
00:03:22- And then all of a sudden, she kind of screamed, and he raised his hand up and shot her.
00:03:29- Once we know who she is, that will give us a place to start as far as finding out who she was with last and what she was doing.
00:03:39The only evidence so far is a cell phone.
00:03:42We're hoping that leads us to some information.
00:03:59My first order of business is to get a pot of coffee on and then start looking at this cell phone.
00:04:09narrator: BROWN CHECKS THE PHONE And finds several voice mails.
00:04:19The callers are expressing concern for a woman named chandra.
00:04:26- Well, there are some interesting phone calls on here.
00:04:29There are some voice mails " and I was about to see if there was a missing person called in.
00:04:38narrator: BROWN CHECKS TO SEE If anyone in the victim's family reported her missing.
00:04:47- Well, a call just came in about 15 minutes ago in the same area where we were at, and someone is calling in a female as missing.
00:04:58Chandra belton.
00:05:02And it looks like our missing female.
00:05:09narrator: 40-Year-old chandra belton was a school bus driver.
00:05:13She was a single mother of two daughters ages 21 and 14.
00:05:24- 40-Year-old chandra belton went to the store to exchange some fish.
00:05:28narrator: THE REPORT STATES Chandra was last seen five hours earlier, when she left for the grocery store.
00:05:35She never came back.
00:05:38Brown calls the missing persons unit, who is with the victim's family.
00:05:42- Don't let them know that it's being worked as a homicide.
00:05:45Wait till we get out there.
00:05:47Okay, bud?
00:05:48All right.
00:05:52They don't know it yet, but unfortunately, we'll have to, you know, break the news to them that she's deceased.
00:06:07All you can really do is just tell them flat out what's happened and that, you know, you're doing everything you can to catch the person that did it.
00:06:16I'm deputy jason brown from the sheriff's office.
00:06:20narrator: BROWN MEETS WITH The victim's extended family, including her brother and 14-year-old daughter.
00:06:27- There's no easy way to say this, so I'm just gonna come right out and say it.
00:06:31- Mm-hmm.
00:06:32- Chandra's been killed.
00:06:53- Mm-hmm.
00:06:53- But there's still somebody out there that, you know, needs to be apprehended.
00:06:58narrator: THE FAMILY TELLS HIM That chandra's younger daughter was the last one to see her mother earlier that day.
00:07:04- I need her to sit down with us and give us a statement.
00:07:08narrator: WHILE REYNOLDS Continues to talk to the family, brown takes the daughter to his car for an interview.
00:07:17- I need your help.
00:07:18I need your help more than anybody else here, okay?
00:07:23Can you be strong for me?
00:07:29narrator: 25 Miles across harris county, just north of houston, 3:00 a.m.
00:07:50[siren wailing] narrator: POLICE RESPOND To an apartment complex.
00:07:55A young man is lying in the courtyard, dead.
00:08:08- As a unit, we've got an 86% clearance rate, and we take pride in that, so each case--each homicide case that comes down the pike, you know, we're doing our best to try to knock it out.
00:08:19narrator: LEAD INVESTIGATOR Sergeant sidney miller has logged more than seven years in homicide.
00:08:46- We have a black male approximately 21 years of age.
00:08:58narrator: THE VICTIM Is christopher mitchell, a father of two young children who live in the apartment complex with his girlfriend.
00:09:11- Looks like a wound here ..
00:09:15- Yup, yup.
00:09:16- And a wound in the back of the head and hit from behind a couple times.
00:09:22- We have nine spent shell casings.
00:09:25They are 9-millimeters.
00:09:27narrator: A trail of shell casings leads from the walkway to the victim's body.
00:09:32- We believe our complainant ran north trying to get away from the bullets and ended up collapsing.
00:09:47- Let me talk to-- let me talk to just the mom and dad.
00:09:51Come here a second.
00:09:54narrator: Five hours in, miller speaks with the victim's mother and father.
00:09:59They have already been notified about christopher's death.
00:10:03- We will be working diligently to find out, you know, exactly what happened.
00:10:09narrator: THE VICTIM'S MOTHER Gives miller a possible lead.
00:10:20narrator: SHE CLAIMS That christopher's girlfriend had been cheating on him with a man named kevin.
00:10:31narrator: CHRIS' MOTHER SAYS That he was upset about the new relationship.
00:10:35He still had feelings for his girlfriend.
00:10:46- Okay, I appreciate it.
00:10:48- Thanks.
00:10:52- There may be some kind of conflict going on between the new boyfriend and the current boyfriend.
00:10:56That's what they're giving us now as a possible motive.
00:11:03narrator: MILLER TURNS To the girlfriend in question, hoping she'll be able to provide answers.
00:11:08[knocking] - Sheriff's office.
00:11:12What's your name, ma'am?
00:11:14- Okay, are you and christopher boyfriend-girlfriend or what?
00:11:21- Okay, our job is to find out what happened to him.
00:11:24What we're gonna do is, we're gonna go to our office and have a sit-down conversation.
00:11:31narrator: MILLER HAS PATROL Transport kristen back to headquarters.
00:11:35- Well, let's go down.
00:11:36Let's go to lockwood and see what kristen's got to say.
00:11:54Kristen, just be honest with me.
00:11:57Lay it out from "a" to "z," you know, how all this came about.
00:12:04Now, who is kevin?
00:12:15narrator: KRISTEN ADMITS She's been seeing kevin for the last couple of weeks.
00:12:24narrator: She says her friends warned her about seeing both men at once.
00:12:28- Now, let's talk about what happened.
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00:16:23narrator: HARRIS COUNTY SERGEANT Sidney miller is working the shooting death of 21-year-old christopher mitchell.
00:16:29Miller is questioning the mother of christopher's children to find out if her new boyfriend might be the shooter.
00:16:44- Now, let's talk about what happened.
00:16:49narrator: SHE SAYS The night of the shooting, she was hanging out at a friend's apartment.
00:16:53While she was there, she called kevin.
00:17:01narrator: KRISTEN SAYS She asked her friend to tell chris that she wasn't there.
00:17:06- Why did you tell him that?
00:17:12narrator: SHE CLAIMS That shortly after chris left, she got off the phone with kevin.
00:17:25- I know you didn't shoot chris, okay?
00:17:29But you're in the middle of it, and you don't need to get yourself involved in that stuff and get yourself in trouble by lying to us.
00:17:47- I think she's still holding back for whatever reason.
00:17:52narrator: WITH NO Useful information from kristen, the team is back at square one.
00:17:58- Well, we really don't have a lot to go on at this point.
00:18:01We've got to have eyewitness.
00:18:02We've got to have somebody that actually saw the shooting.
00:18:10narrator: THE TEAM HEADS BACK To the crime scene, hoping to find an eyewitness.
00:18:15- You know somebody saw it, man.
00:18:17[knocking] So you didn't see nobody running off or anything, like?
00:18:22- Okay, well, I appreciate it.
00:18:24[knocking] Why don't you want to talk about it?
00:18:33- Everybody heard shooting, but our issue is somebody seeing the shooting.
00:18:40Oh, man.
00:18:40narrator: THE TEAM DOESN'T FIND Any eyewitnesses.
00:18:43- There's really not too much else we can do at this point.
00:18:48- Somebody will come forward.
00:18:49Maybe somebody will call, and that way, they don't get seen, you know, talking to the police.
00:19:03narrator: ..
00:19:05[telephone rings] - Sergeant miller, sheriff's office.
00:19:08narrator: MILLER GETS THE BREAK He's been hoping for.
00:19:12A caller claims to have seen the shooting.
00:19:16- Can you meet with me sometime today, ..
00:19:20All right, thank you.
00:19:23Sounds too good to be true.
00:19:28narrator: Later that day, miller and sergeant craig clopton head out to meet with the eyewitness.
00:19:41narrator: The witness says the beef began when the victim's girlfriend started dating kevin.
00:19:55narrator: THE WITNESS CLAIMS That one of kevin's friends, chad, made an even bigger threat.
00:20:11- What exactly did you see?
00:20:24narrator: Harris county deputy jason brown is working the shooting of 40-year-old chandra belton.
00:20:30He is interviewing the victim's 14-year-old daughter, who saw her mother just before she disappeared.
00:20:44- You're basically just gonna explain what happened today.
00:20:47narrator: SHE EXPLAINS HER Father had come from out of town to spend easter weekend with them.
00:20:53Her parents have been separated for two years.
00:20:57She says earlier that day, her parents were arguing about the fact that her mother had recently started dating another man.
00:21:05Then they left for the store.
00:21:08- Did your mom ever come back to the house?
00:21:10narrator: SHE SAYS HER FATHER Returned from the store alone and said that her mother was at the gas station.
00:21:18Then he left in his car.
00:21:22- And what's your dad's name?
00:21:24narrator: She gives brown her dad's name, jerry belton.
00:21:32Meanwhile, the family gives sergeant mark reynolds important information about jerry.
00:21:40narrator: THEY SAY THAT JERRY Is hearing and voice impaired.
00:21:45He lives in a small town in louisiana.
00:21:49- He's had time to get home if that's where he went.
00:21:53He knows that we're gonna be coming.
00:21:57He knows.
00:22:00This is not the kind of easter they wanted to have, but he came to town to supposedly spend the easter holiday with his daughter, and I think it was probably more to do with, you know, trying to get his wife back from this guy.
00:22:24Love is a dangerous thing.
00:22:29"Love" is probably not the right word.
00:22:33That's not love.
00:22:35That's machismo, I guess, ego.
00:22:41Lots of people die over it.
00:22:48narrator: At headquarters, reynolds and brown search for the suspect in the database.
00:22:58- There you go.
00:23:01I have a positive i.d.
00:23:02By reynolds.
00:23:04narrator: 51-Year-old jerry belton has a prior conviction for stabbing a former girlfriend and her 11-month-old baby in louisiana.
00:23:18Brown calls the local police in jerry's hometown of amite, louisiana, 300 miles away.
00:23:26- Name's jerry belton.
00:23:31Okay, cool.
00:23:33Thanks, man.
00:23:37They know exactly who he is, and they're gonna try to put their hands on him.
00:23:42- You'll probably need to go, like, get some sleep, because as soon as they lay hands on him, y'all need to beat feet to louisiana.
00:23:55narrator: THE NEXT AFTERNOON, Brown gets good news.
00:24:00- All right, cool.
00:24:01narrator: JERRY BELTON Was picked up by patrol in louisiana.
00:24:06- Neither one of us can do sign language unless mark's been holding out on me.
00:24:10- No, but I can speak if he can read lips.
00:24:15narrator: WITH LESS THAN 20 Hours left in the first 48, brown and reynolds set out on the six-hour drive to louisiana.
00:24:24- You know, right now, we don't have any real physical evidence to speak of, so a confession would really help our case out right now.
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00:28:41narrator: IN THE HARRIS COUNTY Shooting of chandra belton, deputy jason brown and sergeant mark reynolds have identified a suspect, chandra's estranged husband, 51-year-old jerry belton.
00:28:54Now they are heading to amite, louisiana, where the suspect is in custody.
00:29:10The next morning, brown and reynolds arrive in amite.
00:29:15- It doesn't appear to be that big of a town.
00:29:18You know, it's a--probably a very close-knit community, which is probably how the local police department up here put their hands on him so quickly.
00:29:35narrator: They head inside to meet with the chief of police, jerry trabona.
00:29:42- Right.
00:29:47- He can't hear, but I think he can read lips.
00:29:49- We'd like to have an interpreter make sure that he understands his rights.
00:29:56narrator: TRABONA CALLS A LOCAL Sign language interpreter to translate during the interrogation.
00:30:02- How long would it take you to get here, miss mary, 20 minutes?
00:30:07About 30 minutes?
00:30:08You drive kind of slow, huh?
00:30:09- If she drives thspeed limit.
00:30:10- You drive the speed limit, huh?
00:30:13I heard that.
00:30:14About 30 minutes?
00:30:16All right, well, you'll have to bill harris county sheriff's office in houston, texas.
00:30:23narrator: BROWN AND REYNOLDS Meet the interpreter at thearish jail, where the suspect is being held.
00:30:30- He's been incarcerated before.
00:30:33It's not his first rodeo, so we'll see.
00:30:38Jerry, we're here to get your side of the story, and that's the reason I've driven all the way from houston here just to talk to you.
00:30:53- If I have a cigarette, I can sign.
00:30:58I need a cigarette.
00:31:09Thank you.
00:31:22narrator: In the harris county shooting of 21-year-old christopher mitchell, sergeant sidney miller is interviewing an eyewitness who claims to have seen the shooting.
00:31:37- What exactly do you see?
00:31:44narrator: THE WITNESS SAYS The night of the shooting, christopher was in the courtyard.
00:31:49A black truck pulled up.
00:31:50Kevin, chad, and two other men got out.
00:31:59narrator: THE WITNESS SAW CHAD Begin shooting at chris as he ran away.
00:32:05Then chris fell to the ground.
00:32:18narrator: THE WITNESS GIVES THEM The names of the four suspects.
00:32:34- Bada-bing, bada-bam.
00:32:35- Way to go, baby.
00:32:38Love it.
00:32:39- It don't get no better than that.
00:32:40- Good deal.
00:32:41- Bada-bing, bada-bam.
00:32:43narrator: THEY LOOK UP THE NAMES Of the four suspects.
00:32:48The first suspect is kristen's new boyfriend, 21-year-old kevin hardy.
00:32:57The suspected shooter is 23-year-old chadrick johnson.
00:33:04The other two suspects are kevin's brother, 24-year-old ellery hardy, and 20-year-old laroy fergueson.
00:33:12- All four of these individuals are allegedly in the same gang.
00:33:18We have to handle them all with care.
00:33:24[sighs] It is all there, man.
00:33:28narrator: With the clock winding down, miller has enough probable cause to arrest the four suspects.
00:33:33'd, and we've got an eyewitness.
00:33:38We'll get paper on them tomorrow, and the hunt's on.
00:33:50narrator: In the first 48, harris county sergeant sidney miller responded to the shooting death of 21-year-old christopher mitchell; identified a possible suspect, kevin hardy, who is dating the victim's girlfriend; and learned the names of three additional suspects, including the alleged shooter, chadrick johnson.
00:34:12Two days later, miller calls in the gulf coast violent offenders task force to help track down the suspects.
00:34:20- The four guys that you have in your hands, these guys are our suspects.
00:34:24Use extreme caution when you're dealing with them.
00:34:28narrator: THE TEAM HEADS OUT To the first address, the home of laroy fergueson.
00:34:34- Hopefully, not being as directly involved, laroy might be the one that will probably talk to me.
00:34:49[knocking] Police. open the door.
00:35:04narrator: LAROY'S FAMILY Is cleared out of the house, but laroy is not there.
00:35:15Miller speaks with laroy's mother.
00:35:17- Laroy has gotten mixed up with some guys, and I need you to help me find him so I can talk to him.
00:35:26narrator: LAROY'S MOTHER Calls his cell phone.
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00:39:35narrator: In the harris county shooting of 21-year-old christopher mitchell, sergeant sidney miller is with the mother of laroy fergueson, one of the four suspects, trying to get laroy into custody.
00:40:01narrator: LAROY AGREES To turn himself in.
00:40:12- Go with god, my friend.
00:40:16- Roy, the reason you're here is, we're investigating a shooting, and this is your opportunity to tell your side of the story.
00:40:34narrator: LAROY CLAIMS The night of the shooting, the victim had been making threats against one of the other suspects, kevin hardy, at the apartment complex.
00:40:49narrator: Laroy says he followed kevin and the other two suspects to the courtyard, where they spotted the victim, christopher.
00:41:06- So, roy, kevin is a gangster, lurkin is a gangster, chad is a gangster, and you are a gangster.
00:41:14- No, man.
00:41:18- Okay, all right.
00:41:19Kevin is a gangster, lurkin is a gangster, chad is a gangster, and you're an ordinary guy.
00:41:26You don't think we know anything.
00:41:28We already got the witness' side and the evidence.
00:41:32If you want to roll with that story, that's on you.
00:41:38- Do you know who shot chris?
00:41:45- Man, I don't know.
00:41:59- You think you slick, man.
00:42:01- Man, I don't know.
00:42:02- You think you smarter than everybody.
00:42:08- Listen to me.
00:42:09Listen to me.
00:42:10The only way-- the only way to help yourself is to be honest about your role in it.
00:42:19You didn't shoot that boy.
00:42:20- I didn't-- - did you shoot him?
00:42:21- No, sir, no.
00:42:21- Okay, then. okay.
00:42:25- That's what I'm saying.
00:42:28I'm trying to-- I'm trying to tell you.
00:42:56- Chad shot him?
00:42:57narrator: Laroy claims he has no idea where chad or the other two suspects might be.
00:43:12- He said chad is the shooter.
00:43:14I got him there.
00:43:14I got him to say he was there.
00:43:16He was giving me a story like he was trying to minimize his role.
00:43:22It's gonna be up to a jury to whether or not they'll believe him and what he's telling us.
00:43:30narrator: Laroy is charged with murder and taken to jail.
00:43:36The team turns to the three suspects that are still at large.
00:43:40- They know we're looking for them.
00:43:42Gulf coast is hunting them down as we speak.
00:43:45They're gonna get caught.
00:43:46It's a just a matter of time.
00:43:56narrator: A week later, the task force rounds up two of the suspects, the victim's rival, kevin hardy, and kevin's brother, ellery hardy.
00:44:13Ellery gives up the shooter.
00:44:18narrator: THEN THEY TURN To the victim's rival, kevin hardy.