Forensic Files - Shattered Dreams   View more episodes

Aired at 12:00 AM on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 (5/25/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


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00:01:13>> Narrator: There were several witnesses to shannon sanderson's early morning abduction.
00:01:18One of them claime assailant looked like shannon's husband, robert.
00:01:23>> We had a witness that observed a maroon beretta, and she identified the individual as robert sanderson, and that was the strongest piece ofvidence that we had at that time.
00:01:36>> Narrator: Robert denied any involvement and said he didn't own a red beretta.
00:01:41But robert was one of the few people who knew where shannon would be that evening.
00:01:46>> And he was also an individual who had made a lot of money in the security business and would know things that the average citizen on the street wouldn't know.
00:01:57>> Narrator: Amid rumors that there was trouble in marriage, investigators also uncovered a possible financial motive.
00:02:06>> Prenuptial agreement had been signed.
00:02:09It was actually signed post-marriage, and it provided for -- I believe he would have had to have gotten her an apartment and paid her $10,000 if they were to divorce or something was to happen toiage.
00:02:24>> Narrator: Robert had shannon sign this ag weeks before her disappearance.
00:02:30>> It was a factor to consider, and not something that hits the radar every time the memphis police department is investigating a homicide or an abduction.
00:02:40It was something unusual.
00:02:42>> Narrator: Weeks passed, and there was no word from shannon or her kidnapper.
00:02:48Family and friends distributed "missing" posters throughout town, and police asked the public to call if they had any information to offer.
00:02:58And police also question shannon's ex-husband, michael.
00:03:02The two had only been divorced for a year and a half.
00:03:07>> I had no idea what could have happened.
00:03:09When the policeman told me I was a suspect, they questioned me for about a week straight down there at downtown memphis.
00:03:17>> Narrator: Michael said he had an alibi -- that he was at work at a chemical company on the night of the abduction, and police confirmed his story.
00:03:27Investigators also discovered there was another man in shannon's life -- brett muskamp, who dated shannon briefly in between her divorce and subsequent marriage to robert.
00:03:40Apparently, muskamp was angry when shannon dumped him.
00:03:44>> There were some problems between he and shannon sanderson.
00:03:48He was calling and harassing.
00:03:49He was also following her around in her car.
00:03:52There was one indent where he blocked her car in and frightened her.
00:03:57>> Narrator: Shannon pressed criminal charges and obtained a restraining order against him.
00:04:02Like everyone else in the case, muskamp denied any involvement in shannon's disappearance.
00:04:09>> The former boyfriend's alibi mother -- that he was at home, asleep, and his mother vouched for him, and it all seemed credible.
00:04:16>> Narrator: Hoping for a lead, police decided to track shannon's movements on the night of her abduction, beginning with the sam's town casino in tunica, mississippi.
00:04:27And once again, robert sanderson became the focus of the investigation.
00:04:33An assistant casino manager was sure he'd seen them together that night.
00:04:39>> He remembered shannon sanderson and robert sanderson fighting, and he even went so far as to recall shannon sanderson crouched over in the corner of the casino and indicating that she was afraid of robert sanderson.
00:04:55>> Narrator: The casino manager also claimed that robert sanderson asked him to help provide an alibi.
00:05:02>> He remembers robert sanderson coming back down to the casino after shannon sanderson's abduction and talking to birchfield and saying, "you know, I wasn't down here that " >> Narrator: A month after shannon's disappearance, a man found the remains of a body in a deserted farmhouse 40 miles away.
00:05:28Dental records confirmed that it was shannon sanderson.
00:05:34>> Shannon was shot behind her ear, basically -- one shot which killed her, of course.
00:05:40Prior to that, she had been struck numerous times in the face.
00:05:44Her jaw was broken.
00:05:45I believe a tooth was knocked loose and another tooth cracked.
00:05:49>> Narrator: Shannon's $5,000 was missing and so was her jewelry, leading some to suspect the motive was robbery.
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00:09:18>> Narrator: 25-Year-old shannon sanderson was found murdered in a demhouse 40 miles away from her home.
00:09:28Shannon left behind three young children from her first marriage.
00:09:33At the time, they were just 3, 5, and 7 old.
00:09:39>> I tell them that she was a good person.
00:09:41She was a loving mom.
00:09:43She cared about them very, very much, and to this day, you know, she still cares about them.
00:09:48She'll care about them until the rest of their lives.
00:09:52>> Narrator: The prime suspect in the murder was her second husband, robert, who was unable to provide a solid alibi for the night of her murder.
00:10:02A casino employee recalled seeing robert at the casino that night with shannon.
00:10:08A review of the casino's security cameras revealed non sanderson was there, but no sign of her husband, robert.
00:10:18>> We were able to determine that this particular night, there was no altercation, and that robert wasn't at sam's town, because we were able to go back and look at who she was with and when she left if anyone was with her, and, of course, robert wasn't there.
00:10:34>> Narrator: The investigation into shannon's murder had been dragging on for weeks.
00:10:40During that time, police received numerous calls about the case.
00:10:45One of them came from a woman named sharon powers.
00:10:49>> She called the memphis police department and she said, "my husband, gerald lee powers, was at sam's town casino the night that this woman was abducted.
00:11:00He was driving a maroon beretta, and he was wearing a red baseball cap.
00:11:05That's all she told the police.
00:11:07>> Narrator: A background check revealed 41-year-old gerald powers was an unemployed construction worker with a criminal past.
00:11:16>> Gerald lee powers had a horrible criminal history of terrorizing women, one in which he jumped in the car of a woman that he didn't know, held her at knifepoint, threatened her.
00:11:26Somehow, miraculously, she was able to drive and escape.
00:11:30And there was another case where he broke into a woman's home, beat her with a skillet, stole money from her, and stole jewelry from her.
00:11:39>> Narrator: Powers had served seven years in prison for the last assault, and police couldn't speak to him about shannon's murder because he had disappeared.
00:11:51Police finally caught him a month later at the mexican border, attempting to re-enter the united states.
00:11:58>> They pulled him over.
00:12:00Powers come out with a knife.
00:12:02The border agent drew his gun.
00:12:04Powers decided he wasn't going to take a knife to a gunfight and gave up.
00:12:11>> Narrator: Powers was driving a red beretta, the same kind of car witnesses saw at shannon's kidnapping.
00:12:18But powers claimed he had an alibi for the night of shannon's murder.
00:12:23>> We weren't still sure that he had an involvement in it.
00:12:26He had told the officers that he went to visit a sick friend.
00:12:30>> Narrator: That friend, who lived 50 miles away from the casino in clarksdale, corroborated his alibi.
00:12:39But in powers' trunk, investigators found pieces of a fake fingernail with pink nail polish, similthe fingernail found at the crime scen so investigators took the unusual step of exhuming shannon's body.
00:12:59>> We needed to make sure that these were her fingernails that fake nails glued onto her real the nail found at the abduction site matched the fake nails from different shape and painted athan shannon sanderson's nails.
00:13:52>> The fingernail from the subject's trunk differed from the fingernails associated with the victim.
00:14:00>> When we found out the nails didn't match, we were shocked.
00:14:03>> Everybody just, "it's gonna match.
00:14:05It's gonna match.
00:14:06" but it didn't.
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00:17:00>> Narrator: To find out if gerald powers was in sam's town casino on the night of shannon sanderson's abduction, investigators asked casino management to screen their security videotapece again.
00:17:14>> We happened to get lucky, 'cause cameras that we w looking at are normally pointed at table games.
00:17:20In this incident, we had some table games that were getting ready for table drops -- that's the collecti of the money from the table games -- early in the morning, and a camera was left out of place, out of position.
00:17:32>> Narrator: That camera caught a partial image of a man wearing white sneakers, standing on aing the blackjack table where shannon sanderson was playing.
00:17:46The man went down the escalator, past shannon's blackjack table.
00:17:52At the cashier's window, s collected her $5,000.
00:17:56Then a casino security guard escorted her to the parking lot.
00:18:04The man followed shannon out the door 30 seconds later.
00:18:10Most of the video was black and white, but he did walk past a color security camera.
00:18:17The baseball cap was red, and he looked like gerald powers.
00:18:23>> I was pretty elated.
00:18:24It was a lot of work that we got this guy.
00:18:27It was, like I said, hundreds and hundreds of hours of reviewing time.
00:18:33Very tedious, and when we did finally get our guy, it was a celebratory moment.
00:18:40>> Narrator: But prosecutors needed more evidence against powers before walking into court and trying to get a conviction, and they didn't have any.
00:18:50Then, in a surprising twist, gerald powers' wife, sharon, led police to the jewelry that had been stolen from shannon sanderson.
00:19:01Sharon claimed her husband, gerald, told her where he hid it.
00:19:07>> He told her that he had buried the jewelry behinthe b&w lounge in an old, abandoned couch, and if she needed it for any purpose, there it was.
00:19:18>> Narrator: Just as sharon said, the jewelry was there, wrapped in tinfoil and pink saran wrap.
00:19:27In powers' home, investigators found pink saran wrap similar to the type used to wrap shannon's jewelry.
00:19:37In the forensic lab, scientists cut tiny slivers from each sample and subjected them to a process known as fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.
00:19:49Infrared light is passed through each sample.
00:19:53How much each one absorbs is then plotted on a graph.
00:19:59Both samples have same composition, and the color of the cellophane looked the same, but the human eye can only differentiate 110 different colors.
00:20:13A microspectrophotometer can detect thousands, and that test was definitive.
00:20:22>> It was my conclusion that the plastic wrap used to contain shannon's jewelry was consistent with coming from the plastic roll recovered from the suspect's residence.
00:20:32>> We were ecstatic.
00:20:33That was very compelling in our eyes, and we knew to the jury that that would be something very compelling.
00:20:38>> Narrator: Next, investigators did a thorough search of powers' car.
00:20:44>> Not having all the equipment " -- vacuum cleaners and stuff -- he went and purchased a lint brush, and he went over the whole car.
00:20:57>> Narrator: On the tape lift, one fiber stood out -- an unusual black wool fiber.
00:21:04>> I noticed that the dye was unevenly distributed across the wool fiber -- kind of a mocha brown color in between, inside the wool fiber itself.
00:21:16So, it had a kind of a unique dye distribution across the wool fiber.
00:21:21>> Narrator: Fibers from the black skirt shannon was wearing when murdered were compared to this black fiber from powers' car.
00:21:31Under a microscope, the fibers appeared to have the same uneven distribution of dye.
00:21:39Using a microspectrophotometer, scientists found no differences between the two.
00:21:46The wool fiber in powers' car came from shannon's skirt.
00:21:53>> That's exciting.
00:21:54It's the reason most of us in the fbi are here.
00:21:57We want to find out the truth, and in these violent-crime cases, there are no witnesses.
00:22:03We can settle this legal argument whether these two people came in contact.
00:22:07And so, we find the truth and present that truth, and it feels good that we believe that justice is done.
00:22:16>> Narrator: Prosecutors knew that gerald powers watched shannon sanderson play blackjack and followed her to the cashier's window, where she cashed in her chips for $5,000 in cash.
00:22:33Prosecutors believe powers followed shannon for 45 minutes as she drove to the babysitter's house to pick up her children.
00:22:47When she got out of her car, powers knocked her unconscious, then threw her into the car.
00:23:04But at some point, he killed 25 caliber ..
00:23:10Stole her casino winnings and ..
00:23:13Then disposed of her body in an abandoned farmhouse.
00:23:19>> He knew, at that time, he was not gonna let shannon live because of his previous encounters that to abduct women, and they had lived to identify him.
00:23:29>> Narrator: In december of 1998, gerald powers was convicted of shannon sanderson's murder and was sentenced to death.
00:23:38>> And the forensic proof in this case was overwhelming and compelling.
00:23:44And there was a juror after this was all over who told us that they couldn't help but get caught up in the wave of evidence that we created from the very first witness until the very last, and that we left them no choice but to find gerald lee powers guilty as charged.
00:24:01>> That fiber on that dress put her in that car, and that was the icing on the cake.
00:24:06It would probably have been hard to convince 12 people that he actually committed the murder without that fiber.
00:24:20>> Narrator: Late at night, a man stopped his car on a residential street.
00:24:26He was dead.
00:24:28What did he see?
00:24:29hma inhaler found nearby and tiny acrylic fibers answered those questions when there were no eyewitnesses who could.
00:24:43--Captions by Captions paid for bythe courtroom television network, llc six gunshots fired in rapid succession shattered the early-morning calm of rockford, illinois.
00:25:18[ Gunshots ] [ telephone rings ] >> police responded to the area, where they saw a car sitting in the middle of the roadway.
00:25:36>> Narrator: It was a maroon chrysler.
00:25:38The lights were on.
00:25:40The car was still running.
00:25:42Behind the wheel was a middle-aged man who had been shot repeatedly in the head and chest.
00:25:48The car was still in reverse, an indication the man saw so backwards to investigate.
00:25:58>>T was apparent from his position in the car and the seat belt on that he had no time to react to the force that was used against him.
00:26:08>> Narrator: He was dead before he could put the car in park.
00:26:12When police ran the license plate, they got some shocking information.
00:26:17>> The car had been registered to kevin rice.
00:26:20And then did a double take and " >> Narrator: Kevin rice was one of their own -- a rockford police officer.
00:26:31A 14-year veteran with a spotless record.
00:26:35Theo glover was his partner.
00:26:40>> I got a call from a commander, and he says, "yeah, " I said, "i'm getting ready.
00:26:46I'm gonna get dressed, and I'm " and then he stopped.
00:26:50He said, "theo, kevin's dead," at that point.
00:27:03>> The scene was strangely quiet.
00:27:05Officers were kind of huddled together.
00:27:07Some were grief-stricken.
00:27:08Some were just silently assessing the evidence.
00:27:11>> I remember one officer.
00:27:14He was just crying the whole time while he was trying to find evidence in the grass.
00:27:20And he was just like, "well, you know, what else was I going " you know, "our job now is to solve a crime," that had just been committed.
00:27:31>> Narrator: 38-Year-old kevin rice was the father of three children.
00:27:36The youngest was only 2 months old.
00:27:40He and his wife, ardine, had been married for 15 years.
00:27:45>> The day doesn't go by when i don't wake up in the morning and think about him and I don't go to bed at night thinking about him.
00:27:53Little kevin's always asking, "when is my daddy gonna come " >> Narrator: Ardine rice told police that kevin got a phone call just after midnight.
00:28:05It was from the man who was laying carpet in their new house, the one they were moving into the very next morning.
00:28:12>> Apparently there was a problem with the carpet.
00:28:15I don't know what the problem was.
00:28:17So kevin left to go over to the new house to check out what the problem was.
00:28:22>> Narrator: The carpet layer told police kevin stopped by, told them what he wanted done, and left.
00:28:27>> He was gone for about an hour, and when he was driving down the street where he was he encountered his attackers.
00:28:36>> Narrator: Shell casings at the scene indicated he'd been shot with a .380-caliber weapon.
00:28:44The witness reported seeing a man in a dark hooded sweatshirt running away from the area.
00:28:50Police had to consider the possibility that the phone call from the carpet layer might have been a setup.
00:28:57>> We really didn't know why he was killed.
00:29:00We didn't know if it was intentional.
00:29:02We didn't know if it was random.
00:29:04>> In pretty short order, it became apparent there was a grim determination on the part of the officers to go about the business of finding out who had done this to kevin.
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00:01:48>> Narrator: Laura wynn's autopsy yielded several surprises.
00:01:53A 2 1/2-inch contusion over laura's right ear indicated she'd been hit hard enough to incapacitate her.
00:02:02>> What would have caused it?
00:02:04It was blunt trauma -- something that didn't lacerate the skin, so it was probably a smooth-surfaced, hard object.
00:02:14>> Narrator: But the cause of death was strangulation, and the amount of force was excessive.
00:02:21>> The ligature itself would have done the job over a period of a few minutes, if that was the intent, but that wasn't good enough.
00:02:31The emotions got high enough that he had to lay his hands on her neck and squeeze and crush two cartilages.
00:02:40>> Narrator: She had also been sexually assaulted.
00:02:44Investigators found no foreign fingerprints in laura's apartment, but underneath laura's body was a clue -- a used paper tissue.
00:02:56There looked to be biological evidence on the tissue.
00:03:00Unfortunately, at the time, the sample was too small for dna testing.
00:03:05Investigators also found two foreign hairs in laura's living room.
00:03:12E lab and found to be pubic hairs of an african-american.
00:03:18>> Narrator: But this didn't match the description given by the eyewitness, who said a caucasian followed laura into her apartment.
00:03:26>> If you know anything hairs, hairs fall off of people -- all over their body, every day.
00:03:31Had a friend who was an african-american who'd been in her apartment and helped her ready her apartment when she moved in.
00:03:40Laura's african-american friend, and he had an airtight alibi.
00:03:45He was with friends on the night of the murder.
00:03:48With no solid leads, police turn their attention to the bar laura visited before she returned home.
00:03:57[ Rock 'n' roll music plays ] when investigators questioned patrons of the bar, they learned that laura got into an argument with sam freemen, a 26-year-old veteran of the u.s. army.
00:04:09>> Laura had accused him of hustling these two young men playing pool.
00:04:14Whatever happened wasn't something that came to blows, but there was a disagreement over a pool game, and laura had confronted him.
00:04:22>> Narrator: Candace shipman was working the bar that night.
00:04:26She said the altercation was minor.
00:04:29>> Just got a little loud.
00:04:31Then they quit and it seemed okay, you know?
00:04:34Normal stuff that would happen in a bar.
00:04:37>> Narrator: Several bar patrons said freeman left the bar about 20 minutes before laura did.
00:04:44And his parents said he came home a short time later and stayed there the rest of the night.
00:04:50Investigators also discovered there was another man in the bar that night -- laura's EX-BOYFRIEND, robert McSwain.
00:04:59>> She loved him.
00:05:01She was head over heels in love with him.
00:05:04She was just smitten.
00:05:05He could do no wrong, you know?
00:05:08And it was an on-again/off-again relationship.
00:05:11>> Narrator: Friends said laura hoped to marry robert, but he wasn't interested.
00:05:17McSWAIN SAID HE WENT DIRECTLY Home from the bar the night of the murder, and family members backed up his alibi.
00:05:24>> He stayed there at the house the rest of the night.
00:05:28Never left.
00:05:28And his mother and sister were there also at that time.
00:05:32>> Narrator: Police now were at a dead end.
00:05:35No one else at the bar that night matched the general description of the man presumed to be the killer.
00:05:43>> It was a hurt that there was just no closure to it, because we just kept thinking, "someone's out there, and we " and not only that, but it was the hurt of losing her and giving her up when she was such a worthwhile person and she was so good to everybody.
00:06:06And we just couldn't see any sense in it.
00:06:11>> Narrator: Months passed, then years, and laura's family lost hope that her killer would ever be brought to justice.
00:07:11Where'd he go?
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00:09:23>> Narrator: When clifford morris turned in his badge after a 35-year career, one case haunted him -- the brutal murder of laura wynn that had gone unsolved for 12 years.
00:09:38On his last day on the job, he handed the case file to one of his most trusted colleagues, detective tim davis.
00:09:47>> I asked him to look into it again.
00:09:49I knew he was a good forensic man, and told him to go ahead and reinvestigate that and see if he couldn't come up with something.
00:09:58>> Narrator: And davis did just that, looking for anything that could be reinvestigated.
00:10:05>> It was never a closed case.
00:10:07Up to that point, all the proper things that needed to be done were done.
00:10:12>> Narrator: Detective davis decided to go back and who was in the bar with laura wynn on the nighmurdered.
00:10:21And his interview with candace shipman, who was bartending that night, provided >> she informed me of some things then that she thought was pertinent to the case that she wanted to share.
00:10:36>> Narrator: Shipman said there was more going on between laura and sam freeman that night than just an argument about the pool game.
00:10:44>> Sam flirted with laura.
00:10:47He tried for her affections.
00:10:49She just didn't seem interested at all in sam.
00:10:54So, I think there was a she just put him in his place.
00:10:59>> Narrator: And shipman recalled something else that night that she never forgot.
00:11:05She remembered that sam freeman was drinking an italian liqueur -- galliano.
00:11:12>> He collected bottles -- odd-shaped bottles.
00:11:14When she poured the last shot of galliano, he asked her for the bottle because it's a very unusually odd-shaped bottle, and she gave it to him.
00:11:23>> Thought nothing of it and handed him the empty bottle of galliano.
00:11:27>> Narrator: Witnesses recalled seeing freeman leave the bar that night with the galliano bottle.
00:11:34This was significant because of the wounds on laura's head.
00:11:39>> Just a pattern that was consistent with the size and shape of that bottle.
00:11:44>> Narrator: And that wasn't all.
00:11:47Eight years after laura's murder, there was another incident at the same bar involving sam freeman and a galliano bottle.
00:11:59Candace shipman was again the bartender, and sam freeman came in, ordered some galliano, and chose a song from the jukebox.
00:12:09>> He was sitting at the bar and staring me right in the eyes, singing "only you know and i " hairs stood up all over my body.
00:12:23>> ♪♪ Only you know and I know ♪♪
00:12:26>> Narrator: She was sure freeman was trying to tell her something.
00:12:31>> With singing the song "only you know and I know," and staring me down, I was convinced -- I was convinced that he'd gotten away with murder and was flaunting it in front of me.
00:12:44>> Narrator: Now, 12 years later, freeman was married with two children and worked as a supply sergeant for the national guard.
00:12:52>> He was even attempting to run for city council.
00:12:57I thought that all was a bit brazen with the way I felt and the things I knew.
00:13:05>> Narrator: With a warrant, investigators found the galliano bottle in freeman's home.
00:13:11Freeman said this bottle was a recent addition to his collection, not the one given to him by the bartender on the night laura was murdered.
00:13:21But police confiscated it anyway.
00:13:24Apparently, freeman filled the bottle with colored water for display purposes.
00:13:32But he didn't fill it to the very top.
00:13:36The lab technician swabbed the entire bottle, and on the inside, near the top, was a microscopic stain.
00:13:47A phenolphthalein test indicated this was human blood, but after 12 years, it had degraded.
00:13:56>> There was not enough to do a dna profile on.
00:14:01>> Narrator: But why was human blood inside the bottle?
00:14:06Investigators were determined to find out.
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00:17:04>> Narrator: When human blood was discovered inside the galliano bottle in sam freeman's apartment, investigators suspected he was responsible for laura wynn's murder.
00:17:18According to witnesses, of her murder.
00:17:25Laura accused sam of hustling some young boys in a game of pool.
00:17:30Afterwards, freeman had a few more drinks and asked the bartender if he could have the empty galliano bottle for his collection.
00:17:4245, the bartender unced that it was the last call for drinks because the bar was closing at 11:00 p.m.
00:17:51According to witnesses, that's when sam freeman left the bar with the galliano bottle, since he knew laura would have to leave at closing time.
00:18:02Laura lived only a short distance from the bar, and when 15, prosecutors believe that it was freeman who forced her inside and struck her in the head with the galliano bottle.
00:18:19He then took her into the bedroom, assaulted her, then strangled her to death with her own stocking.
00:18:32The evidence suggests he used a tissue to blow his nose, but left it near laura's body.
00:18:40He then stole some items and fled.
00:18:45That was the prosecution theory, anyway.
00:18:48The problem was they had little in the way of forensic evidence.
00:18:54>> I'm a worrier.
00:18:54Everybody that knows me will tell you I worry about every ngle case.
00:18:58I never am a prosecutor who walks in and says, "this is a " >> Narrator: So investigators wanted to know whether any of the evidence contained dna that was too small to be tested when the crime occurred 12 years earlier.
00:19:13>> There has to be some type of skin cells embedded in these nylons, unless the suspect wore gloves.
00:19:23>> The knot was chosen as part of the dna analysis because i thought that there could be a chance that he could have touched the knot while he was tying the knot.
00:19:36>> Narrator: Dna specialist jason wyckoff swabbed the stocking, looking for any of those skin cells.
00:19:43The swabs were treated with a solvent to free possible dna and then replicated so the sample was large enough for dna testing.
00:19:54Just as they suspected, they found a dna sample.
00:19:58>> I noticed that the profile was characteristic of a mixture of at least two individuals, and the mixture had male- and female-gender characteristics.
00:20:09>> Narrator: The female dna was that of laura wynn.
00:20:13The source of the male's dna was not yet known.
00:20:18Wyckoff analyzed the paper tissue found underneath laura's body with an alternative light source which revealed a bodily fluid, possibly mucus.
00:20:31He then cut a tiny piece of tissue and put it into a detergent that dissolved everything but the complex molecules.
00:20:42A pcr dna analysis once again provided useful information.
00:20:48>> The majority of the dna appeared to have male-gender characteristics.
00:20:53>> Narrator: The last step was to collect a dna sample from sam freeman.
00:20:58>> When we first informed freeman of why we were there and who we were, it was like at that instance, he had just went into shock -- had a shocked look on his face.
00:21:10His demeanor totally changed.
00:21:13That I couldn't describe.
00:21:15Only other is maybe the face of fear.
00:21:19>> Narrator: Before taking his dna sample, investigators asked freeman if he had ever been inside laura wynn's apartment.
00:21:27>> "Did you ever date her?
00:21:28Had you ever had sex with her?
00:21:31Had you ever kissed her?
00:21:33" he stated, "no, no, no," to all these questions.
00:21:39>> Narrator: But the dna from sam freeman's saliva sample matched the skin cells on the ligature and the mucus on the le-gder characteristics to 131 quadrillion people tested in the only way possible that sam freeman's dna could have been at the scene, in the home, was the fact that sam freeman was there and was the killer.
00:22:15>> Narrator: After 12 long years, in september of 2005, sam freeman was arrested and charged with laura wynn's murder.
00:22:25Prosecutors be was clear.
00:22:29>> Here she is, this woman -- small woman -- dressing him down in front of all these guys.
00:22:35 military, mr. macho man.
00:22:37He wasn't going to put up with it.
00:22:39I think he was embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, spurned, and that this was a crime of power and control, and he got the ultimate last say of laura wynn with this crime.
00:22:54>> Narrator: During the trial, freeman's defense attorney pointed to the two foreign hairs in laura's apartment as proof that someone else killed laura and also reminded the jury that the eyewitness' description didn't match freeman, either.
00:23:10>> I mean, they argued reasonable doubt, which was a smart argument to make.
00:23:15>> Narrator: But prosecutors maintained that the dna evidence was concrete proof.
00:23:21>> I think what happened here was that sam freeman didn't realize in 1992, he could leave a piece of himself at the scene other than semen, blood, or fingerprints, but he did.
00:23:33>> Narrator: In september of 2006, a jury found sam freeman guilty of first-degree murder.
00:23:42He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
00:23:47>> I want people to have hope and never give up -- never give up on justice -- that someday it'll come about.
00:23:56>> If it had not been for the proper collection and preservation, it doesn't matter how much someone does 13, 14 years later in an investigation.
00:24:04If you don't have the evidence, you don't have a case.
00:24:13>> Narrator: A young man died in a mysterious car crash.
00:24:18But was it an accident?
00:24:20Forensic science uncovered what really caused that crash, and the truth devastated three different families.
00:24:30--Captions by Captions pair bythe courtroom television network, llc just before dawn in central texas, a motorist saw a car on fire off the side of the road down an embankment.
00:25:05By the time firefighters got there, there was very little left.
00:25:11>> I've never seen a car or a vehicle burn that badly before where the wheels were melted to the rocks.
00:25:18>> Narrator: In the rubble, investigators found the remains of the driver, burned beyond recognition.
00:25:26>> We needed to identify the body that was in the vehicle, which wasn't much of a body.
00:25:32>> Narrator: The car was a 1999 chevy cavalier registered to molly and clay daniels, a young couple with two small children, who lived in nearby leander, texas.
00:25:44Police discovered that molly daniels was home with her children at the time of the accident.
00:25:51>> She had called me relatively early that morning, hysterical because clayton wasn't home and she had to get to work and he had the car and she didn't know where he was.
00:26:01>> Narrator: Through his personal effects, family members identified the remains as those of clay daniels.
00:26:08>> They found the remas of some tennis shoes that clay's family members identified as clay's shoes.
00:26:15They found a harley-davidson pin that had gone on a hat that clay used to wear and a silver necklace that they identified as being clay's.
00:26:26>> I figured that clayton had been drinking, was at a party somewhere, or just driving fast and lost control.
00:26:35>> Narrator: Clay daniels, an unemployed automobile mechanic, was just 24 years old.
00:26:40Surprisingly, not everyone was sorry he was dead.
00:26:45>> Absolutely he's a loser.
00:26:47I've always felt that he was not the best material for her.
00:26:51And I wondered about being daddy material, but it was her choice to make.
00:26:55>> Narrator: Others expressed the same sentiments at his funeral.
00:27:00>> The memorial -- that was a very interesting thing, because there was just so much there.
00:27:06His best friend got up and spoke, and he actually told people that clay was an [bleep] >> no, he wasn't very well liked.
00:27:13He seemed like sort of a loafer and a layabout and a sex offender.
00:27:18So, I mean, what good could you say about him?
00:27:21>> Narrator: Clay was not a model citizen.
00:27:23He had recently been convicted for the sexual assault of his 7-year-old cousin and was sentenced to 30 days in prison and 10 years probation.
00:27:34The crash occurred just three days before he was to start serving his time.
00:27:41>> This car fire was june 18, 2004.
00:27:43Clay was supposed to be going to jail that monday the 21st of d so they thought the timing of that was a little bit suspicious.
00:27:53>> Narrator: And police had another angle to pursue -- the parents of the sexual-assault victim were angry that clay was sentenced to only 30 days in prison.
00:28:04>> The sexual-assault victim's father made comments prior to this accident that he wanted clay to go away.
00:28:11So, we were thinking maybe the father of the victim made clay go away.
00:28:18>> Narrator: Nevertheless, the community reached out to molly daniels, a widow at the age of 21 who had two young children to support on an office receptionist's salary.
00:28:29>> My gosh, she had people sending her money.
00:28:32People she did not know sent her money.
00:28:35Her co-workers would put groceries in the house.
00:28:38Would do everything.
00:28:39They bent over backwards for her.
00:28:41>> She got this discount babysitter in the neighborhood because she put up signs -- "i'm the poor, grieving widow, " >> Narrator: But that generosity ended when, less than a month after clay died, molly told friends that she had a new boyfriend and that she was the beneficiary of clay's $100,000 life-insurance policy.
00:29:05Her own mother even turned on her.
00:29:07>> Absolutely, she was raised better than this.
00:29:10There were days that I just kicked myself.
00:29:12What did I do wrong?
00:29:13Where did I go wrong?